Leading innovation and action to address global change
In June 2020, the GW Board of Trustees Task Force on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Responsibility published a report stating the university’s commitment to taking swift and decisive action to reverse the trends of climate change and of inequity in our institutions and society. Guided by GW’s internal Ecosystems Enhancement Strategy and external rankings, GW will make significant progress on sustainability in the coming years, on campus and in the classroom.
Leading by Example
- Divest the endowment from fossil fuels and seek out investments in companies with sustainable business practices.
- Achieve carbon neutrality by an accelerated date of 2030, and then neutralize all historic emissions since the University's founding in 1821.
- Eliminate single use plastics across campus.
- Increase biodiversity and stormwater capture on campus.
- Ensure all students are offered a sustainability academic credit, and developing a transdisciplinary academic home for research and learning.
GW is one of a handful of organizations exploring how an institution can enhance ecosystem services. This is a rich opportunity to bring together the resources on campus, the energy and dedication of our students, the ingenuity of faculty researchers and the expertise of staff to use the platform a university provides for sharing insights and increasing the impact on and off campus.
Our campuses provide living laboratories for exploring approaches to sustainability challenges that many public and private institutions have in common. By setting ambitious goals and targets, testing ways to meet them and reporting on our progress, we can help advance urban sustainability and resilience and position the university for financial savings.
Students provide ideas, passion and influence on sustainability issues across our campuses. They drove our initial sustainability initiatives and remain engaged in many ways: for instance, through student groups on campus, academic work and living labs, and our Eco- Equity Challenge.
What You Can Do
Join a student group, or start your own. Add a Minor in Sustainability to complement your Major any discipline. Develop solutions to sustainability challenges on campus and in the community. Prepare yourself for a career making change.
Enhance your research by joining an interdisciplinary team of faculty looking at different angles of a complex issue. Mentor students interested in your field. Use campus as a living laboratory for your courses.
Put the principles of sustainability into practice in your office space. Join the Green Office Network to connect with other champions of sustainability across the University.
Promote internships and job opportunities to students. Provide expertise to help GW reduce its footprint. Mentor students on community projects. Fund a program or initiative.
"GW will continue to play a leadership role in addressing global sustainability challenges during my presidency. I am committed to supporting our university’s approach to providing the knowledge, research, practical solutions and informed graduates that create a positive and sustainable future."
Thomas J. LeBlanc
President, The George Washington University