Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 69.69
Liaison Deborah Steinberg
Submission Date Feb. 7, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Carnegie Mellon University
EN-14: Participation in Public Policy

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Timothy McNulty
Avp-Government Relations
Government Relations
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the municipal/local level?:

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the municipal/local level, including the issues, legislation, and ordinances for or against which the institution has advocated:

CMU President Farnam Jahanian Convenes Energy Week
Energy Week is an annual event on CMU's campus drawing over 1,000 participants convened on behalf of the President by our Scott Energy Institute in order to bring together local, state and national leaders to focus on key policy issues related to renewable energy, CO2 reduction and resiliency and to help foster local collaboration on those issues. A copy of Jahanian's remarks are attached.

City of Pittsburgh Mayor Recruits Two University Representatives for Blue Ribbon Panel
In 2017, City of Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto named two representatives from Carnegie Mellon, Jared L. Cohon and Jeanne VanBriesen, as members of the new “blue ribbon panel,” charged with making progress toward improving and optimizing the publicly-owned water and sewer asset. Specifically, the eight-member panel evaluates submissions from legal and technical firms seeking to devise long-term strategies to improve the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority’s operations, customer service and value. Read more at https://archive.triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/peduto-taps-blue-ribbon-panel-to-restructure-troubled-pwsa/.

CMU Partners with City on Pittsburgh Climate Action Plan 3.0
CMU representative Anna J. Siefken is working on the Pittsburgh Climate Action Plan 3.0, in which she hosted three internal stakeholder meetings at Carnegie Mellon to look at the university’s carbon footprint, and how CMU can contribute to the city’s plan. A resulting report titled, “Sustainability at Carnegie Mellon: A Path Forward” recommends a set of actions to move CMU ahead in sustainability.

CMU Represented at THINC30 Summit for a Sustainable Pittsburgh
In 2017, CMU’s Anna J. Siefken spoke at the THINC30 Summit, which promotes corporate social responsibility and action for a sustainable future. At the 2018 summit hosted by Covestro, CMU’s Illah Nourbakhsh was a featured speaker on the panel looking at “Leading Pittsburgh’s Drawdown.” Learn more about the summit at http://www.csrwire.com/press_releases/40267-Covestro-to-Host-Summit-Exploring-Purpose-driven-Approach-to-Sustainability

CMU Authors Op-Ed on Locomotive Pollution
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette recently reported that Norfolk Southern plans to expand the capacity of its rail lines through several densely populated Pittsburgh neighborhoods. The article also disclosed the firm’s plans to haul dangerous substances along these lines. Recent research out of CMU on railroads suggests this is a bad idea. Read the article co-authored by CMU Professors Karen Clay, Akshaya Jha, Nicholas Muller and Pitt Professor Randall Walsh at https://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/Op-Ed/2018/07/29/Pittsburgh-Think-twice-about-allowing-more-rail-traffic-to-roll-through-the-city/stories/201807290012.

CMU is a member of Pittsburgh’s Higher Education Climate Consortium (HECC) to cooperatively implement recommendations and to support the city’s Climate Action Initiative http://www.pittsburghclimate.org/higher-education/. HECC meets quarterly to address the short-term (within 2 years), medium-term (within 5 years) and long-term (beyond 5 years) recommendations on how colleges, universities and their 70,000 students can reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition, CMU's Metro21: Smart Cities Institute is a university-wide institute that brings together people, policy and technology to significantly improve the quality of life for metropolitan area citizens around the globe https://www.cmu.edu/metro21/about/message-from-the-director.html. Collaborative relationships with local organizations provide testbeds for the Institute’s efforts while simultaneously advancing the quality of life in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area. For example, through the Metro 21: Smart Cities Institute, Carnegie Mellon University created Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) with the City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, and the Pittsburgh International Airport https://www.cmu.edu/metro21/partners/index.html to analyze current operations and to test and incubate a range of technological systems and strategies to improve safety, enhance mobility, promote efficiency and address pollution. Among the inaugural Institute grant funding in 2018 (https://www.cmu.edu/metro21/news-and-events/metro21-news/2018/metro21-grantee-2018-announcement.html) is a project to create Demand-Side Incentives to Mitigate Wait-Times at Airport Security Checkpoints, an Artificial Light Survey of Nighttime Pittsburgh, and a project to manage curbspace and vehicle delivery dropoff using day-ahead, spot markets and long-term agreements to reduce traffic congestion, vehicle emissions and energy consumption https://www.cmu.edu/metro21/projects/reducing-congestion-and-emissions-with-an-airbnb-for-intelligent-curbs.html A prior Metro 21 grant funded CMU researchers to create an energy and IEQ dashboard for six Pittsburgh city government buildings to help the city and the building occupants understand and make more informed management decisions about building operations https://www.cmu.edu/metro21/projects/building-data-analytics.html

The Institute began as CMU’s Traffic 21 Institute in 2009 with early seed funding by the Henry L. Hillman Foundation. Supplemental university funds and grants from Pentair and IBM made possible the launch of the Metro21: Smart Cities Initiative in July 2014 and the formation of campus-wide Metro21: Smart Cities Institute in March 2018. Generous investments by the Heinz Endowments, Richard King Mellon Foundation and Buhl Foundation allow continued growth of Institute activities.

Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the state/provincial/regional level?:

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the state/provincial/regional level, including the issues, legislation, and ordinances for or against which the institution has advocated:

Team PA is a not-for-profit corporation chaired by the Governor to focus on the vitality of the Commonwealth. CMU President Jahanian is a member of the Team PA board. During 2017 and 2018, Team PA held workshops that engaged citizens from across the Commonwealth around the issues of Pennsylvania's energy future: how might Pennsylvania’s energy system evolve in 25 years, and what might it mean for Pennsylvanians? The work resulting from this effort is available in the Energy Horizons study. The study advocates for the use of an energy scenarios methodology to assess PA's energy future. This methodology provides a set of qualitative tools that enable policymakers to extrapolate much longer-term developments than our traditional two-to four- year forecasts. When data fail to provide a clear answer, scenarios can help decision makers understand what their actions might look like 20 to 30 years from now. The Energy Horizons study is available at https://teampa.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/PEH-Booklet-Final.pdf

CMU Helps Draft C-PACE Guidelines
Representing Carnegie Mellon University, Anna J. Siefken recently helped draft program guidelines for Pennsylvania’s Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy Program (C-PACE) after Governor Wolf signed legislation enabling it. This program allows commercial property owners to finance clean energy and energy efficiency projects through a special assessment. Anna contributed to the direction of the model Pennsylvania C-PACE Program.

CMU Maps Out Pittsburgh’s Underground Infrastructure
Working with the City of Pittsburgh and the major utilities in southwest Pennsylvania, CMU’s Anna J. Siefken advised graduate students as they developed a three-pronged deployment strategy, including the creation of a digital platform that would map Pittsburgh’s underground infrastructure. The map alone, the students suggested, could save millions of dollars each year by leading to greater efficiency and cost-sharing during the long-term planning process.

The Metro 21: Smart Cities Institute activities and funding described above address state and regional was well as local activities. As a specific example of activities that engage Pennsylvania and other states, CMU, the Brooking Institute, and city officials from Los Angeles, New York and Pittsburgh co-hosted a panel discussion on November 29, 2018, at the Brookings Institute in Washington, DC to explore the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how they can help solve economic, political and environmental challenges to their cities and their residents. They also debated how to lead and reach the global goals by 2030. https://www.cmu.edu/metro21/news-and-events/metro21-events/brookings-cmu-and-city-of-pittsburgh-host-sustainable-development-goals-event.html and https://www.brookings.edu/events/us-cities-in-pursuit-of-viable-futures-taking-on-the-sustainable-development-goals/

Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the national level?:

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the national level, including the issues, legislation, and ordinances for or against which the institution has advocated:

RESPONSE TO PRESIDENT’S 2017 TRAVEL BAN In April 2017, Carnegie Mellon joined 30 other universities, two in Pennsylvania, in filing an amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs opposing President Trump’s revised executive order on travel and immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries. The brief states, “These individuals make significant contributions to their fields of study and to campus life by bringing their unique perspectives and talents to amici’s classrooms, laboratories, and performance spaces…These individuals also contribute to the United States and the world more generally by making scientific discoveries, starting businesses, and creating works of literature and art that redound to the benefit of others far beyond amici’s campus.” Carnegie Mellon’s founder, Andrew Carnegie, and the then campus president, Subra Suresh, were immigrants.

On Nov. 21, 2016, then CMU President Subra Suresh signed a letter in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Act (DACA). In response to questions from students and a discussion taking place throughout the higher education community in the United States, Carnegie Mellon University reasserts its commitment to a diverse and inclusive community. Creating and nurturing a community of people with different experiences, perspectives and identities is the foundation for excellence in research, creativity, learning and human development. Consistent with CMU values and policies, the current DACA federal legislation gives undocumented students who have spent much of their lives in the United States the opportunity to continue their educations. https://www.cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2016/december/daca-statement.html

ADVOCACY FOR FEDERAL FUNDING OF BASIC RESEARCH In October 2106, Carnegie Mellon’s then-President, Subra Suresh, and Robert Bradway, CEO of Amgen, in jointly published an editorial in Science Magazine advocating for ongoing federal funding of basic research. “History has shown that investments in basic research are the primary engine by which humanity has advanced, and major economic gains—often unanticipated when the research was initially funded—have been realized. In the United States, that will require a long-term commitment from the government, complementing the ongoing investment of risk capital and key industry sectors. America's leadership role in scientific innovation is an inherited responsibility and an economic imperative. It must not be neglected.”

CMU Provides Guidance on Energy/Transportation Decisions
In May 2017, CMU hosted a policy briefing titled "Pipelines, Trucks, Buses and Automobiles: Where, When, Which?" in D.C. CMU Professors Karen Clay, Inês Azevedo, Jeremy Michalek and Postdoctoral Research Associate Fan Tong presented on several studies that provide guidance to policymakers for decisions they make related to energy and transportation. View the briefing paper at https://www.cmu.edu/energy/education-outreach/public-outreach/SCOTT-17-141_Alternative Fuel Infographic_09.pdf

CMU Hosts U.S. Representative Conor Lamb
The university has hosted Congressman Conor Lamb on several occasions to discuss important energy research. He has previously met with professors from the Departments of Mechanical Engineering, Engineering and Public Policy and Civil and Environmental Engineering, as well as the Heinz College.

CMU also have several research centers that focus on policy and advocacy. In addition to the Metro21: Smart Cities Institute described above, CMU provides funds, and thereby administrative support for, research centers that specifically focus on policy making for topics addressed by the UN SDGs. These centers address policy making at various levels of government, nationally and internationally, and also support advocacy through research and education that supports informed decision making. Examples of these are listed below.

Wilson E Scott Institute for Energy Innovation
The Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation https://www.cmu.edu/energy/ is focused on using and delivering the global energy resources we already have more efficiently; expanding the mix of energy sources in a way that is clean, reliable, affordable and sustainable; and creating innovations in energy policies, regulations and technologies. The Institute addresses the world’s most important energy-related challenges by enabling collaborative research, strategic partnerships, public policy outreach, entrepreneurship, and education. Energy Week is perhaps the most visible of the Institute’s activities because it engages the entire campus and the city with national and international thought leaders in government, business and industry (brief 2018 video clip here https://youtu.be/VfLgf72m83s ). However, throughout the year, the Institute hosts a wide range of speakers, funds research, and provides ongoing communication that keeps energy innovation at the forefront of campus thinking. One example of CMU research that supports the national dialogue on sustainability is the Carnegie Mellon Power Sector Carbon Index, launched in 2017. The Index is a first of its kind tool for readily tracking CO2 emissions intensity and trends in U.S. energy generation by fuel type https://emissionsindex.org/news-events/power-sector-carbon-index-2018-q4-update . It also supports dialogue on policies and strategies to impact emissions https://engineering.cmu.edu/news-events/news/2018/04/04-power-carbon-lowest.html . In 2018, the Scott Institute published its first Annual Report. https://www.cmu.edu/energy/news-multimedia/annual-report/index.html Page 16 provides highlights of campus energy-related policy outreach activities during the period of this STARS assessment, 2016-2018.

The Block Center for Technology and Society, launched in February 2018, examines the societal consequences of technological change, e.g, artificial intelligence, robotics, machine learning, and advanced manufacturing, and ways to create meaningful plans of action from the perspective of economics, organizations, and public policy. The Block Center's projects seek to ensure that the benefits of technological change are widely shared, opening new paths to prosperity for all. The Block Center focuses on how emerging technologies will alter the future of work, how AI and analytics can be harnessed for social good, and how innovation in these spaces can be more inclusive and generate targeted, relevant solutions that reduce inequality and improve quality of life. The Block Center was initiated with generous funding from CMU alumnus Keith Block and his wife, Suzanne Kelley https://www.cmu.edu/block-center/

Center for Climate and Energy Decision Making (CEDM) CEDM and its graduates develop and promulgate behaviorally and technically- informed insights at the involving the intersection between climate and energy https://cedmcenter.org/introduction-to-cedm/ . The Center also generates methods to frame, analyze, and assist key stakeholders in addressing important decisions regarding climate change and the necessary transformation of the world’s energy system. Funded by an agreement between CMU and the National Science Foundation, CEDM’s work focuses on climate mitigation strategies, climate adaptation strategies, the intersection between abatement and adaptation, the strategies to address unanticipated and extreme impacts. Among CEDM’s activities is a 5-day summer program for high school students, SUCCEED, that presents participants with grand challenges facing energy engineering fields, describes how new technology can play a role in mitigating climate change, that all energy options have tradeoffs, and that policy can be used to effect change. https://cedmcenter.org/succeed/succeed-student-program/

Institute for Politics and Strategy (IPS)As a university-wide institute, IPS serves as a center for research, undergraduate and graduate education and university-wide initiatives in the fields of political science, international relations, national security policy and grand strategy. https://www.cmu.edu/ips/

Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the international level?:

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the international level, including the issues, legislation, and ordinances for or against which the institution has advocated:

CMU been a signatory of the International Sustainable Campus Network/ Global University Leaders Forum (ISCN/GULF) Sustainable Campus Charter since 2010 and contributes annually to the ISCN/GULF Universities publication to build a repository of best practices for campus engagement. CMU's 2018 article, Fostering Interactive Student Engagement for Environmental Action and Excellence, describes how CMU engages students in sustainability advocacy.

In January 2018, CMU President, Farnam Jahanian, delivered a talk at WEF, exhorting universities to embrace their role in driving innovation and catalyzing economic development, both key UN SDGs. "Our institutions must meet the challenges of the digital revolution head on and play an increasingly important role in our innovation ecosystems and economies.” More information available at https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/01/4-ways-universities-are-driving-innovation

CMU Co-Chairs Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
CMU's Jim Skea represents CMU on the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and serves at the Panel Co-Chair. The IPCC’s 2018 report advocates immediate action to address the 2.7˚F atmospheric warming anticipated if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise at their current pace above preindustrial levels by 2040. Read more at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/07/climate/ipcc-climate-report-2040.html?module=inline

Official University Delegates Participate in Conference of the Parties
In December 2018, CMU delegate Michael Whiston presented his research on energy storage and participated on a panel with energy experts at the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24) in Katowice, Poland. Bringing together over 18,000 participants, COP24 aimed to adopt rules for implementing the Paris Agreement on climate change. Delegates from nearly 200 countries and the European Union met to negotiate the implementation package. Whiston is one of multiple delegates who have represented CMU at this international conference over the years. In 2017, former Engineering and Public Policy Professor of the Practice Deborah Stine participated in COP23. Learn more at https://www.cmu.edu/energy/news-multimedia/2019/cop-24.html.

A brief description of other political positions the institution has taken during the previous three years (if applicable):

A brief description of political donations the institution made during the previous three years (if applicable):

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.