Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 75.90
Liaison Deborah Steinberg
Submission Date Dec. 6, 2021

STARS v2.2

Carnegie Mellon University
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Barbara Kviz
Environmental Coordinator
Facilities Management Services
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have an active student group focused on sustainability?:

Name and a brief description of the active student groups focused on sustainability:
The following are a few examples of CMU student organizations focused on sustainability issues:

Carnegie Mellon Solar Racing
Founded in 2005, Carnegie Mellon Solar Racing (CMSR) is an undergraduate engineering organization dedicated to the promotion and use of solar energy. The CMSR team researches, designs, and engineers all aspects of a solar-electric boat and competes in the annual Solar Splash Competition and has competed in races around the world including Solar1 Grand Prix (Monaco), the DONG Energy Solar Challenge (The Netherlands). Each of these races test all aspects of the boat design, speed, agility, sustainability, and endurance.

Engineers Without Borders
The Carnegie Mellon University chapter of the non-profit humanitarian organization Engineers Without Borders is a group of students dedicated to understanding the challenges that face humanity today, and creating socially-conscious and environmentally sustainable technologies to improve quality of life for local, national, and international communities.

Environment & Water Resources Institute (EWRI) Graduate Student Chapter at CMU
The EWRI mission is to develop CMU students’ professional skills in the fields of sustainability and water resources engineering, help CMU students get access to the environmental engineering professional network within Pittsburgh, and improve communication between EWRI Pittsburgh chapter and CMU.

Explorers Club
The Carnegie Mellon University Explorers Club is a student run organization dedicated to bringing together people with an interest in the outdoors since 1959. They venture into the wilderness through organized activities such as rock and ice climbing, mountaineering, caving, hiking, backpacking, flat and white water boating, sailing, skydiving, mountain biking, scuba diving, and more.

The purpose of F.E.M.M.E. (Feminists Engaged in Multicultural Matters and Education) is to educate campus community on societal marginalization using an intersectional feminist lens to provide focus. The organization accomplishes its mission by providing educational programming, events, discussions, and entertainment related to a variety of intersectional issues, as well as fostering a safe space for all community members.

Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity is an international, nonprofit, ecumenical Christian ministry founded on the conviction that every man, woman, and child should have a decent, safe and affordable place to live. Since its founding in 2000, Carnegie Mellon's campus chapter of Habitat for Humanity has strived to achieve the mission of the organization. Student members of the campus chapter provide aid not only in the Pittsburgh area through monthly builds with local affiliates, but also on a national and international level by conducting service trips to various parts of America and the world.

Juntos focuses on creating sustainable, effective initiatives to positively impact Pittsburgh and small communities in Latin America, particularly in Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. We also strive to raise awareness of cultural and political issues affecting Latin America in our local Pittsburgh community.

Net Impact
The Net Impact chapter at the Tepper School of Business has a mission to promote the education and understanding of business ethics and corporate sustainability and responsibility among MBA students and other interested graduate students at Carnegie Mellon University.

Student Pugwash
As a non-advocacy educational organization, Carnegie Mellon Student Pugwash intends to increase awareness of the ethical dilemmas created by the interaction of science, technology, and medicine within contemporary society. Founded in 1955 by Albert Einstein, Bertrand Russell, and other eminent scientists through a manifesto urging scientists to "think in a new way" about their moral responsibilities in the nuclear age. In 1957, the first Pugwash Conference was held in Pugwash, Nova Scotia, bringing together some of the greatest scientific minds to address nuclear weapons issues and the social responsibility of scientists. Student Pugwash are a chapter of SPUSA, a daughter organization founded in 1979 that strives to convene the next generation of scientists around today's parallel issues.

Sustainable Earth
Sustainable Earth aims to encourage Carnegie Mellon University and the Pittsburgh Community to actively practice ways of living sustainably. They also network with other organizations, on and off-campus, who are interested in strengthening environmental initiatives in Pittsburgh. They organize participatory community events and volunteer activities open to all.


Does the institution have a garden, farm, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery program, or an urban agriculture project where students are able to gain experience in organic agriculture and sustainable food systems?:

A brief description of the gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, and/or urban agriculture projects:
CMU's Winthrop Community Garden is a collaboration between Carnegie Mellon and the Winthrop Street neighborhood in Oakland. The garden was started in 2013 by a group of students, faculty, staff, and community members. With the help of the neighborhood and environmental leaders on campus, students have been able to plan the garden from the start. They built raised beds, designed the layout, planted an array of crops, and have taken care of its upkeep. The garden has transformed an empty lot into a space that members of both the CMU community and surrounding neighborhoods can come together and learn about sustainable ways to grow food.


Does the institution have a student-run enterprise that includes sustainability as part of its mission statement or stated purpose?:

A brief description of the student-run enterprises:
Project Olympus is a startup incubator program that encourages and supports entrepreneurship on campus. It helps faculty, students, and staff turn their cutting-edge research and great ideas into startups. Many of the enterprises in this space have sustainability as part of their mission statement. Current examples include:

Ecotone Renewables, LLC
Food is so central to our culture, health, and education, yet we see our current food system producing excessive waste and imposing dangers on the environment. This is why we are dedicated to building the tools and curriculum necessary to empower communities to redevelop and grow through sustainable food practices.

Marine Oasis
Marine Oasis is formulating fish-free sustainable feeds for the aquaculture (fish farming) industry to help reduce overfishing worldwide.


Does the institution have a sustainable investment fund, green revolving fund, or sustainable microfinance initiative through which students can develop socially, environmentally and fiscally responsible investment and financial skills?:

A brief description of the sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives:
There are several microfinance opportunities for student entrepreneurs on the CMU campus that also provide mentoring in business leadership. The Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship sponsors the Olympus Incubator Program, through which students can receive $5000 micro-grants through the Spark Grant Fund. The Swartz Center also sponsors the McGinnis Venture Competition that allows student entrepreneurs to showcase their startup companies to real-world investors to compete for seed capital.


With support from The Rockefeller Foundation and the Provost, the Cohort 2030 Challenge Funds supports student engagement on the SDG 16+ agenda, addressing a range of interconnected issues including but not limited to: increasing access to social justice; reducing violence of all types; reducing inequality and inequities; combating human trafficking; tackling corruption and much more. Students are responsible for developing and managing a budget for their proposed project.


Has the institution hosted a conference, speaker series, symposium, or similar event focused on sustainability during the previous three years that had students as the intended audience?:

A brief description of the conferences, speaker series, symposia, or similar events focused on sustainability:
Environmental Justice and the Built Environment: A Teach-In was a set of conversations, organized in October 2020, by students and faculty at the CMU School of Architecture, aims to foster learning about how the design and planning of the built environment contributes to environmental harms that specifically concentrate in marginalized Black and brown communities, and the ways in which designers can work with communities to address these structural and localized conditions.


The Technology, Sustainability, and Business Forum is an annual conference that discusses the latest research and trends impacting sustainability topics.


The annual INTERSECT@CMU conference is a cross-campus endeavor designed to convene thought leaders from within and beyond the CMU community to explore the implications of a broad topic in our rapidly changing world. The companion conference, STUDENTSECT@CMU, is a series of student-led programming developed to support the cross-campus, interdisciplinary nature of INTERSECT@CMU by incorporating the student perspective into the conference agenda. These events are organized by a committee of students from across the CMU community that includes both undergraduate and graduate representatives. The conference's focus in 2020 considered the pandemic's long-term global effects on four foundational elements of society: health, sustainability, the economy and education


CMU Energy Week includes informative sessions designed to engage thought leadership on critically important topics for our nation’s energy and cleantech innovation future.


Has the institution hosted a cultural arts event, installation, or performance focused on sustainability with the previous three years that had students as the intended audience?:

A brief description of the cultural arts events, installations, or performances focused on sustainability:
ArtPark Lab
Carnegie Mellon students are invited to be a part of a new green space on campus: The ArtPark Lab on Forbes Avenue. The 4621-4628 block of Forbes Avenue has been transformed into a temporary ArtPark Lab, where Carnegie Mellon students can enliven the busy Oakland street with both art and environmental projects. All types of student are encouraged: visual art, performance art, installations, etc.


Does the institution have a wilderness or outdoors program that follow Leave No Trace principles?:

A brief description of the wilderness or outdoors programs that follow Leave No Trace principles:
The Explorer's Club at Carnegie Mellon University is a student run organization dedicated to bringing together people with an interest in the outdoors since 1959. The Club organizes activities such as rock and ice climbing, mountaineering, caving, hiking, backpacking, flat and white water boating, sailing, skydiving, mountain biking, scuba diving, and more. On Explorers Club trips, members should follow the seven Leave No Trace principles.


Has the institution had a sustainability-focused theme chosen for a themed semester, year, or first-year experience during the previous three years?:

A brief description of the sustainability-focused themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences:
Grand Challenge Seminars - a highlight in the Dietrich College undergraduate experience.

All first-year students are required to take a Grand Challenge Seminar, which focus on real, complex global problems like climate change, food insecurity, or racism.

Seminars are co-taught by multiple faculty members who bring a multi-disciplinary lens to problem-solving. Faculty teams propose seminar topics and engage with students in critical thinking, communication and collaboration. The courses harness the intellectual power of humanists and social scientists from Dietrich College, in collaboration with engineers, roboticists, chemists, and other experts from across the university.


Does the institution have a program through which students can learn sustainable life skills?:

A brief description of the programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills:
Housing Sustainability Assistant Program
Housing Sustainability Assistants (HSAs) are residents of CMU housing and student staff who advocate for sustainable living in their residential communities through education and programming.


In its Strategic Plan 2025, Carnegie Mellon includes among its goals, "Encourage individuals to pursue a high quality of life, to develop their talents and interests and to value physical, emotional and spiritual health throughout their lifetimes." Nutrition, fitness, and mindfulness programs aligned with this goal that particularly related to students include:

To promote being physically active Athletics, Aquatics, and Recreational and Fitness facilities are state of the art and available for the CMU community with a valid CMU ID. There are 70+ Group X-ercise classes offered a week at no cost to the faculty, staff, and students.

A monthly BeWell@CMU newsletter offers a comprehensive resource for CMU students, faulty, and staff regarding wellness inspired events, announcement, and professional and personal development opportunities.

The Mindfulness room, open 24 hours a day, is a space to rest, breathe, and relax with no agenda.

Nutrition services and education are provided through a collaboration with Dining Services and University Health Services.


Does the institution offer sustainability-focused student employment opportunities?:

A brief description of the sustainability-focused student employment opportunities offered by the institution:
Facilities Management and Campus Services offers Green Practices Internships and other employment opportunities for students during the semester and over the summer.

Does the institution have a graduation pledge through which students pledge to consider social and environmental responsibility in future job and other decisions?:

A brief description of the graduation pledge(s):

A brief description of other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives that do not fall into one of the above categories:

Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about 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.