Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 63.29
Liaison Allison Mihalich
Submission Date Oct. 13, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Notre Dame
IN-27: Innovation D

Status Score Responsible Party
1.00 / 1.00 Mike Seamon
Vice President
Campus Safety & University Operatis
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name or title of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
Notre Dame Sustainability Studies Endowment

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome that outlines how credit criteria are met and any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation:

The Otterbeck Family Endowment for Excellence in Undergraduate Sustainability Studies was established in March 2017 through the generosity of Jim Otterbeck and Suzie Otterbeck with the involvement of their children Katie '15 and Charlie '12.

“The Otterbecks’ incredible generosity has been a game changer for the Sustainability Minor,” says Professor Rachel Novick, Director of the Minor. “We have been able to set a number of ambitious new goals in areas including curriculum enhancement, student research support, alumni mentoring, and career guidance.”

The first major program supported by the endowment this past semester was a Course Development Grant, which was awarded to six faculty members to support the creation of new sustainability courses. “We got so many exciting applications from departments ranging from Political Science to Psychology to German,” says Novick. “The proposals exemplified our vision for including all disciplines in a dynamic conversation that contributes to addressing today’s global challenges.”

Rising senior Maria Sasso said she’s excited to see the program expanding because the Minor has been her favorite part of academic life at Notre Dame. The neuroscience major said the interdisciplinary aspect of the program has allowed her to take classes in other colleges that she otherwise wouldn’t have been able to take. “From business ethics classes to a class taught in the Galapagos, my sustainability classes have been some of the most interesting, applicable, and exciting classes I’ve taken,” Sasso said.

Since 2013, the Minor in Sustainability Studies has graduated approximately 70 students. Some graduates have gone on to careers in environmental consulting, water conservation, and energy policy while others have pursued graduate study in ecology, sustainable urban development, and environmental law.


Which of the following impact areas does the innovation most closely relate to? (select up to three):

A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise or a press release or publication featuring the innovation :

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

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