Sustainability Minor

Sustainability Minor

In Fall 2012 the George Washington University introduced a new 18-credit Minor in Sustainability, open to all undergraduate students.

The Undergraduate Minor in Sustainability allows students to explore the challenges of sustainability and to think about how to develop solutions to pressing issues at the local, regional, and global scale. It introduces students to the concepts, principles, and issues that inform the sustainability paradigm and also integrates classroom and community-based learning and research in a program that prepares students to apply the sustainability perspective to their future endeavors.

This unique pan-university Sustainability Minor includes several innovative features such as a groundbreaking team-taught introductory course (SUST 1001 Introduction to Sustainability), with faculty from several schools participating, and an experiential learning component that will serve as a culminating experience for junior or senior students.

For more information about the Sustainability Minor, please download this information guide updated for Spring 2016.

For a list of courses offered in the Fall of 2016 approved for the minor, please download this list.  


To learn more about registering for the Sustainability Minor, check out our Frequently Asked Questions page, watch our introduction video, or stop by our office for advising hours. In case you can't make any of our office hours, please contact us, and we will be happy to schedule some time to meet with you.

Ariel Kagan
Sustainability Student Coordinator
Office Hours for Fall 2016: 
(Note: All forms must be signed by Dr. Svoboda)
By Appointment. 

Old Main, 1922 F St, NW, Room 411C,
Washington D.C. 20052

Dr. Michael Svoboda 
Sustainability Minor Director 
Office Hours for Fall 2016: 

Monday: 1:00-5:00PM
Wednesday: 3:00-5:00PM
or By Appointment. 

Address: (see map)


Old Main, 1922 F St, NW, Room 411B,
Washington D.C. 20052.

Sustainability: A Minor With Major Impact -

Student Spotlght

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minors: Eleanor Davis

"Throughout my academic career I have worked with different environmental programs, including research with NASA DEVELOP and internships at The Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation and the GW Office of Sustainability. After studying abroad in Australia, I believe that the only way to create a sustainable future is by working with the global community and I hope to acquire the knowledge to do this while at The George Washington University."
- Eleanor Davis

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minors: Zohra Roy

"I grew up in NYC so urban sustainability is something I am really interested in. A lot of people do not realize that cities can in fact be very, and sometimes even more, sustainable than suburbs and rural areas. I have interned with non-profit organizations, like Friends of the High Line in downtown Manhattan, and governmental organizations, like the NYC Department of Environmental Protection. Currently, I am an intern at the GWU Office of Sustainability."
- Zohra Roy

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minors: Haley Burns

"I interned at the National Parks Conservation Association last semester, managed the GroW Garden on campus this summer, serves on the eboard of the Food Justice Alliance, works to bring food awareness and sustainability to GW with the Urban Food Task Force, and is a staff member of the GlobeMed GW chapter."
- Haley Burns

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minors: Jacqueline Drayer

"I am interested in urban history, agriculture and architecture - and how these fields can be bettered through sustainable practices. Last spring I interned at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, helping organize the museum's annual Sustainable Seafood event."
- Jacqueline Drayer

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minors: Julia Wagner

"My primary interest is how to make urban living have less of an impact on the the environment through sustainable development. Last summer, I worked as a garden manager in GW's community GroW Garden. I am currently working with my Senator in the environment, energy, and agriculture legislative department."
- Julia Wagner

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minors: Michelle Stuhlmacher

"As an Eco-Rep, I helped launch the e-cycling system that makes it easy for students to recycle batteries, toner, cell phones and light bulbs. Last spring, I was an intern with Campaign GW, the student arm of the Division of Operations."
- Michelle Stuhlmacher

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minors: Kelsey Taylor

"As a double major in Philosophy and Environmental Studies, I am interested in the ethics and implications of our relationship on the environment. I have always been interested in issues of sustainability and hope to make a difference in the field of environmental law."
- Kelsey Taylor

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minors: Taylor Katz

"My name is Taylor Katz and I am a senior in the Joint Bachelor of Science/Master of Public Health Five Year program at the Milken Institute School of Public Health. I am doing my master's concentration in Environmental Health Science and Policy. Last summer, I interned at the EPA's National Center for Environmental Assessment working on various projects including the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) Program and will be be working at the EPA again this summer.

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minors: Lauren Lantry

"I am very interested in connecting politics with sustainability to help influence public policy. In the past I have interned for my Congresswoman and State Assemblyman. Next semester I will be a legislative intern at the White House Council on Environmental Quality."
- Lauren Lantry

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minors: Sophia Lin

I am interested in sustainability in food and health, public policy, and both entrepreneurship and corporate business. I hope to learn more about decreasing society's carbon footprint on the environment by promoting sustainable solutions to better health, a cleaner environment, and higher standards of living.
-Sophia Lin

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minors: Sundal Ali

I'm more interested in global health, an area in which sustainability can thrive since developing countries can begin building services, goods, and systems that promote a sustainable future, rather than having to start over, like many developed western nations.
-Sundal Ali

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minors: Dor Hirsh Bar Gai

My two interests are sustainability infrastructure and urban design; where I aim to advance sustainable infrastructure systems and resource distribution, as well as care for the needs of communities and schools through advanced urban planning.
-Dor Hirsh Bar Gai

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minors: Hannah Radner

My interest in sustainability was really sparked during my senior year of high school when I took AP Environmental Science. I hope to combine my disciplines to explore and encourage sustainability as a priority both in the United States and abroad, because I believe that sustainable development can only be accomplished through a global effort.
-Hannah Radner

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minors: Emily Schamberger

My focus for my sustainability minor is in helping low-income countries implement development strategies in a sustainable manner. Outside of class I am a Guide for GW TRAiLS, the outdoor club on campus, and spend my weekends leading outdoor trips for GW students.
-Emily Schamberger

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minors : Connor Slye

The reason I wanted to focus on sustainability in the first place is because I believe it is very important to our living conditions. With all these buildings being constructed and all these resources being used. The buildings should be able to operate in a sustainable manner.
-Connor Slye

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minors: Ava Bossov

In the future, I hope to work with Planet Forward. Through this minor, I hope to learn how to best communicate environmental issues and disseminate information about sustainable living in future endeavors. I believe with conviction that we must all do our part to live more sustainably. Our national culture and federal government must be proactive - rather than reactive - in dealing with the climate crisis.
-Avra Bossov

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minors: Kayla Pingel

I wanted to become a sustainability minor because as a civil engineer, it is important to incorporate sustainability into our future infrastructure. Engineering is a great field to encourage sustainability in, and I am excited to do so.
-Kayla Pingel

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minors: Sharmista Sivaramakrishnan

Having grown up in 6 countries across the Middle East, Europe and Asia, I've been able to learn about diversity and global interaction through the variety of people I've been able to meet. I've always been fascinated with the mechanics of internationalism and the growing needs imposed on society due to an expanding world.
-Sharmishta Sivaramakrishnan

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minors: Jodi Askew

I seek to apply the principles of sustainability, access, and affordability in a way that promotes a health system that provides equitable care to all persons, regardless of status or wealth. I have worked on research projects BHRR (B'More Healthy Retail Rewards) and BHCK (B'More Healthy Communities for Kids) with Dr. Joel Gittelsohn at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg Health School, Center for Human Nutrition.
-Jodi Askew

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minors: Emma Chapman

Growing up preferring Animal Planet over Disney Channel, I have always had a love for nature and environmental conservation. Recently, I went on an alternative break to Puerto Rico, where other GW students and I worked on a permaculture farm that aims to implement, and teach the local community about, sustainable farming techniques.
-Emma Chapman

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minors: Kiersten Washle

I am studying civil engineering as a foundation to study architecture. My hope is to design not only completely sustainable buildings but also cities that work as a system to create a sustainable future without inhibiting people's quality of life.
-Kiersten Washle

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minors: Jeremy Glassman

Throughout my life I have always been interested in creating, and exploring the invention of new ideas. This prompted me to enroll in the George Washington University School of Business with a probable concentration in Entrepreneurship.
-Jeremy Glassman

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minor: Mojolaoluwa Ladipo-Obasa

School: School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Graduation: May 2017
Majors: Civil and Environmental Engineering

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minor: Lauren Pollack

"Environmental concerns (or sometimes the lack thereof) have become the centerpiece of an increasingly prevalent, as well as pertinent debate in the political arena, both in our country, and around the world."

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minor: Christina Viscelli

I'm studying Economics to speak the language of big decision makers; to some day sway them towards sustainable options. I'm passionate about all things green, but am especially energized by biomimetics, organic agriculture, sustainable design, and space exploration.

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minor: Zach Komes

"Growing up in the city of Milwaukee, I have seen first-hand the impact of de-industrialization on urban life. As an Economics major at GW, I hope to better understand the community development field and how to create sustainable economic opportunities in low-income areas in the U.S. I currently intern at City First Enterprises, an innovative community development financial institution that provides capital with a mission-oriented focus in Washington, DC.

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minor: Brooke Kinney

"My first name is Catharine, but I go by my middle name; Brooke. I am most interested in learning about oceanography and conservation, as well as the food industry. I am currently interning with Ocean Conservancy, which perfectly combines two of my biggest interest. Sustainability is an important part of my major because it is, to me, the compromise between human and environmental needs."
-Brooke Kinney

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minor: Emma Spath

"I am a junior interested in pursuing law with specific focus on public policy and sustainability. I am currently studying abroad at King's College London and taking a class in the sustainability field. I intern in the Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources Practice Group at Sullivan & Worcester Law Firm on K St."
-Emma Spath

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minor: Ilana Creinin

"I lived in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania until I was 15 when I moved to Davis, California. I am currently a freshman majoring in Political Communication. During the summer before my freshman year, I interned at a lobbyist's office that focused on sustainability issues. I read bills and wrote summary reports for clients relating to renewable energy, sea level rise, fracking, and recycling. I really enjoyed my experience and plan to go back for a second summer.

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minor: Vanya Elbaar

"My name is Vanya Elbaar, an International Affairs major at the Elliott School concentrating in Comparative Political, Social, and Economic Systems. My hometowns are Roselle, NJ and Bandung, Indonesia. I declared this minor because I am interested in advocating for minority groups within sustainable development and policy."
-Vanya Elbaar

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minor: Nicole Spina

"Hello! My name is Nicole Spina and I'm a senior from Brooklyn, New York. My interests lie primarily in urban sustainability and international development. Currently I am interning at a think tank that promotes the use of clean energy and manufacturing in the U.S. After graduating in the spring, I hope to pursue a career in urban planning."- Nicole Spina

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minor: Ashley Peterson

"As an International Affairs major with a concentration in International Development, I am interested in exploring sustainable development practices in foreign countries. In addition, as a Political Science major, I hope to incorporate sustainability into my study of public policy. I plan to combine these two disciplines to explore and push for the importance of sustainability to be recognized both in the United States and abroad, because I believe that sustainable development can only be accomplished if it is a global priority." -Ashley Peterson

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minor: Lizzy Gendell

"My vision for creating a sustainable world comes from my passion for environmental justice and food justice. I participated in an intensive sustainability-focused semester at St. Lawrence University, which highlighted the intersections of various fields of study, such as Philosophy, Communications, Environmental Studies and Business. It also introduced me to the complex environmental issues in urban settings.

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minor: Anna Crosby

"I am a Biology major in the class of 2016. I am most interested in the environmental consequences of human activities such as fossil fuel use. However, what I like about Sustainability is that it does not just involve the environment, but it takes things like economics and policy into consideration as well. As a member of the community service sorority, Epsilon Sigma Alpha, I work directly with organizations like the National Park Service to do park cleanups.

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minor: Jake Kellner

"My name is Jake Kellner and I am from Long Island, New York. I am currently an Environmental Studies major. The summer before my senior year in high school I went on a summer internship program where I interned for the Sustainable Development Foundation, where I first learned about and became interested in sustainability. I am interested in urban planning and urban sustainability." - Jacob Kellner

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minor: Jordan Grobe

"From a young age I was taught to appreciate the beauty in life, ranging from the wonders of nature to the passion of music. As a Business & Event Management major, I intend to bond these two experiences together by producing environmentally friendly concerts and festivals whilst using these events as platforms to further advocate on behalf of our planet. I currently serve as General Manager of WRGW District Radio, and am proud to represent sustainable practices in business in the GW community and abroad." - Jordan Grobe

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minor: Aisha Iqbal

"I am interested in equitable development in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. My interest is formed due to my prior experience living/traveling to Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Kenya, and Ghana." - Aisha Iqbal

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minor: Emma West

"I am from the beautiful pioneer valley in western Massachusetts. I love being outside and going for runs, bikerides, and hikes- you name it! I am looking forwarding to combining sustainability with economics and am especially interested in sustainable development and the emerging sector of green jobs. A few years ago I went to Norway on a month-long exchange to learn about environemental issues and action in Norway and I hope to bring that global perspective to my studies as well." - Emma West

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minor: Hannah Hickman

"As a double major in Environmental Studies and Political Science, and someone who loves the world around me, sustainability was clearly the next step. I am extremely interested in urban sustainability and global water security and hope to later receive my masters in Environmental Policy." - Hannah Hickman

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minor: Eilish Zembilci

"Pursuing the sustainability minor as enabled me to mold my education to my passions. As someone who is interested in sustainable food systems and food justice, the sustainability minor has allowed me to explore courses both directly and indirectly related to food, as well as incorporate internships and other experiences into my academic career. Second semester of my freshman year, I interned with US PIRG on a campaign for the labeling of Genetically Modified Organisms.

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minor: Emily Deanne

"I am a sophomore from Washington, Connecticut majoring in Environmental Studies here at GW. I am very excited to further my knowledge of this field of study with the Sustainability Minor. I was inspired to follow this path after I attended a lecture by environmentalist Bill McKibben at his rally in my hometown. I hope to intern for an environmental organization here in DC or for an environmental law firm. My favorite project I have been involved in was macroinvertebrate water testing to assess the water quality of rivers in my town." - Emily Deanne

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minor: Samantha Buchalter

"I attended a vocational agriculture program at my high school and it was there that I discovered my passion for the environment and natural resources. As a freshman, I worked for Environment America in their lobbying efforts to expand the Clean Water Act. I was able to attend EPA hearings on climate change and review research that was produced by the Environment American Research and Policy Center. I ultimately aspire to become an environmental attorney and fight big agri-corporations." - Samantha Buchalter

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minor: Maddie Maney

"Growing up I loved watching nature documentaries from the BBC featuring David Attenborough, and ever since I have loved learning about the intricate dynamics of our surroundings in the natural world. Since then, I have furthered my love for the outdoors by long distance running, as acting president of GW Club Cross Country, and in my work at the GW Greenhouse.

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minor: Caitlin Troutt

"I hope that my life's work will be in food justice and creating a more sustainable and equitable food system, work which I believe lies at the intersection of social justice and environmental sustainability. I managed the GroW Garden in 2014, have been interning with the Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture since June 2014, and hope to do research in my senior year on sustainable agriculture in Cuba." - Caitlin Troutt

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minor: Katie O'Brien

"This is my second semester at GW. I love to travel and experience new places and cultures. Sustainability interests me because I want future generations to be able to see the beauty of the World. I chose to study business and sustainability together because businesses play a large role in both damaging our ecosystem and the movement to begin to fix it." - Katie O'Brien

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minor: Trent Cummings

"As an Environmental Studies major, I’m interested in both exploring and understanding the natural world. I hope that a background in sustainability will help me contribute to the conservation of this world for years to come. This past summer I attended the GREEN Program, which showcased renewable energy methods and other sustainable practices being employed in Iceland." - Trent Cummings

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minor: Haven Bills

"I am interested in food security and how nutrition affects communities. I am also interested in nonprofit organizations. I currently have an internship at FRESHFARM Markets and look forward to a career focusing on sustainability!" - Haven Bills

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minor: Tommy Lane

"My name is Tommy Lane and I'm from Dayton, Ohio. I'm a civil engineering major with a concentration in Environmental Engineering. I don't really know exactly what I want to do yet but I think I want to do something with creating sustainable buildings and structures. I really love to run as well and I recently became the secretary of GW's club cross country team." - Tommy Lane

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minor: Marisa Palmer

"As an interior design major, I hope to blend my conceptual and structural design background with the methods of sustainability and eco-efficiency in an array of buildings/spaces. I want to help our planet move forward by incorporating and integrating my knowledge of sustainable design practice at a commercial and/or residential firm in the DC area. I also plan to be LEED certified with in a year or two after graduation." - Marisa Palmer

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minor: Mariana LaFianza

"I am majoring in environmental studies.I am particularly interested in the complex consequences of human action on the environment, and I hope to use my degree to work on sustainable development projects. I am interning with Environment America working on several campaigns to create a more sustainable future." - Mariana LaFianza

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minor: Brigitte Azzi

"I am a Biology major with minors in Anatomy and Sustainability. All my life I have either lived in or around a big city, but I have always maintained a love for nature and the outdoors. I am interested in reducing the negative impacts of human activity on the environment, but I am also passionate about the social aspects of sustainability. I have worked as a tutor for the DC Reads program over the past few years, as well as volunteered at Mary’s Center for Maternal and Child Care." - Brigitte Azzi

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minor: Marc Gottschalk

"As a Global Public Health concentration I have an interest in understanding the relationship between our treatment of the environment and the effect on the global population. My travels abroad have shown me a different perspective that communities take towards sustainability that I hope to learn more about. I believe that one of the major road blocks to living in a sustainable world is educating the masses. Last summer, I worked for a small, mission led, technology company as a sustainability intern.

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minor: Aaron Rosen

"The sustainability minor was just being launched while I was applying to colleges. The program was a large reason I chose to come to The George Washington University. With a double major in Environmental Studies and Geography I have focused my studies on the interactions between humans and the biosphere. I studied wildlife conservation and political ecology while abroad in Tanzania in the fall of 2014. That experience further cemented by passion towards finding sustainable ways of coexistence on Earth." - Aaron Rosen

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minor: Claire August

"I've been an environmentalist since high school- always passionate about recycling and zero-waste and now at GW I've broadened my horizons to the field of sustainable development. I've spent my sophomore year as president of Green GW and hope to stay involved in student environmental activism throughout my career at GW!" - Claire August

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minor: Rachel Faulkner

"I'm from Colorado and love the great outdoors! Currently I'm working at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum as an "Explainer," leading science and history demonstrations throughout the museum. I have also worked at the National Building Museum, and I plan to go into broadcast journalism. I'm focusing on food systems and nutrition with my sustainability minor." - Rachel Faulkner

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minor: Grace Rahman

"Hello, my name is Grace Rahman and I am from Lexington, Kentucky. I am currently a part of the Columbian College of Arts and Science. I am a sorority member of Alpha Delta Pi, a devoted volunteer to the Ronald McDonald House, and a volunteer at the hospital. I decided to pursue a minor in sustainability because it incorporates a combination of my two interests: the environment and health. I hope incorporate the lessons from my sustainability classes into my future profession." - Grace Rahman

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minor: Kerrigan Unter

"I'm in the School of Business concentrating in International Business and Marketing and minoring in Sustainability. I've had an interest in sustainability since high school when I was part of a resource management internship that monitored water quality and vegetation growth, made restoration efforts, and studied that Arden Arcade Creek in Sacramento, CA. I hope to combine my love for business and the environment together and go into an occupation involving environmental resource management." - Kerrigan Unter

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minor: Leah Cohen

"I am a Sophomore coming from Philadelphia PA and I am super excited to be in our nation's capitol. As a Human Service and Social Justice major I am passionate about the ties between the environment and social equality. I have worked with local nonprofits such as Miriam's Kitchen and School Without Walls to enrich my education in both social and sustainable topics." - Leah Cohen

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minor: Carly Giddings

"I am a junior from Albany Township, Maine who loves healthy foods and is interested in the systems which dictate their availability, accessibility, and sustainability. Last summer I worked for a small Connecticut company, called Salsa Loca, which sells fresh salsas at local farmers markets throughout the state. As a market vendor, I was responsible for not only selling products, but educating the public about local food systems and stressing the importance of supporting local farms.

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minor: Katie Banks

"I am a Women's Studies major with a minor in Biology and Sustainability. The reason I am minoring in sustainability is because I am in the early admission program for the medical school, and I thought minoring in sustainability would be a good way to learn how to implement sustainable practices in my future medical career. Hopefully I can find ways to incorporate it and change the way things are currently done in order to be more earth friendly!" - Katie Banks

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minor: Andrew Dewey

"I am a GWSB student from Southern Maryland interested in the intersection between business and sustainability. I have mainly been focused on renewables, having worked at the Solar Electric Power Association and currently working for Sol Systems, a solar finance company. In addition to these interests I am the president of the GW Rugby team and I enjoy getting out and exploring DC." - Andrew Dewey

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minor: Molly Seltzer

"Throughout my undergraduate career, I became passionate about climate mitigation and am pursuing an environmental path in my personal and professional life. I interned at the Institute for Policy Studies, investigating federal and state spending on climate mitigation and adaptation. In association with GW's Geography Department and Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration, I researched water pollution and the role of green infrastructure in urban revitalization and water quality management.

Introducing GW's Sustainability Minor: Kyle Hanna

"My name is Kyle Hanna, senior in the Elliott School of International Affairs concentrating in international economics. I'm from West Philadelphia, born and raised. My interests in foreign policy and international diplomacy brought me to GW. But my passion for sustainable community development is why I chose to explore sustainability as a minor. I will continue to explore my minor through an internship with ecoAmerica in the fall." - Kyle Hanna