Overall Rating Expired
Overall Score Expired
Liaison Dennis Cochrane
Submission Date March 19, 2013
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.2

Virginia Tech
IN-4: Innovation 4

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete Expired Michael Mortimer
Director and Senior Fellow, Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability
College of Natural Resources and Environment
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A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:

IN-4: “Establishment of the Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability and a New Graduate Executive Education Program with a Focus on Leadership for Sustainability”

The Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability (CLiGS), a center within Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment (CNRE), provides education, research, and leadership needed to navigate a rapidly changing world in order to contribute to a sustainable future. Bringing together faculty and students from Virginia Tech with partners from other educational, business, civic, and government institutions, CLiGS is dedicated to exploring and facilitating interdisciplinary and collaborative approaches to sustainable development strategies in globally interconnected ecological, economic, and social environments.

Located in the National Capital Region (NCR), CLiGS offers a range of graduate education and professional development programs to prepare students and leaders in environmental and natural resource sustainability to operate in a rapidly changing world.

Our partners include individuals and organizations working in the public and private sectors, including business, government, and civil society at all levels, local to global. We work with local communities, federal agencies, transnational corporations and other stakeholders on a variety of sustainability challenges facing society.

Programs and Projects:
We are rapidly approaching 2050, a world where 9 billion people will enjoy more health and wealth while adjusting to the realities of accelerating urbanization, interdependency, resource scarcity, climate stress, and multipolar geopolitics.

The challenges and opportunities of sustainable development are enormous—too complex to be solved by any single profession, discipline, business, government agency, or nation-state. CLiGS programs and projects emphasize three areas where challenges and opportunities will be the most pronounced: urban, policy and institutional, and international perspectives.

Urban Issues:
Urbanization is a global phenomenon. Here in the Washington, DC metropolitan region we witness some of the fastest growing urban/suburban areas in the country. Rapid growth around the world is accompanied by challenges to water quantity and quality, infrastructure, urban forests and wildlife, and urban ecology. Our program benefits from it proximity to the communities and governments of Northern Virginia and Maryland, as well as relationships to local communities throughout the world—especially in Brazil, Russia, India, China, and Africa—that are facing similar challenges.

• Dominion Energy funding for green infrastructure education programs: http://ncr.vt.edu/highlights/Highlight-092012.html

• Partnership with Gauteng City-Region Observatory to explore green infrastructure solutions for Johannesburg region: http://www.gcro.ac.za/

Policy and Institutions:
The increasingly complex problems of the 21st century will not be solved with the approaches of the 20th. The need for innovation in policy tools and approaches, the need for cross-sectoral partnerships melding governments, business, and civil society, and the need to be able to understand and define environmental and natural resource problems in a global context will be critical. Our programs leverage our location only 9 miles from the heart of the nation’s capital to draw on professional resources from federal, state, and local agencies, as well as the dozens of conservation and environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and private consulting firms and think tanks in the Washington, DC region.

• Partnership with National Association of Regional Councils (http://narc.org/) and Environmental Finance Center (http://www.efc.umd.edu/), with funding from the US Forest Service, to better communicate federal resources available to support green infrastructure in the US.

• Exploring opportunities and constraints for sustainable hospitality enterprises in China: (http://ncr.vt.edu/highlights/Highlight-050412.html)

International Perspectives:
As nations around the world become increasingly integrated economically and politically, so too will the environmental challenges become resistant to being solved by any one nation. Sustainable development in the 21st century will require professionals that can orient themselves in a global context and respond to factors like global supply chains on local ecosystem services and communities. Our programs provide opportunities and training for students to appreciate conservation and development beyond the US, especially in rapidly emerging economies such as Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.

• Development of Global Sustainability Initiative International Projects: http://gsi.cnre.vt.edu/

• Integration of International Residency as part of the Executive Master of Natural Resources program: http://web1.cnre.vt.edu/xmnr/intlresidency/

• Working with the Stimson Center to develop a green infrastructure outreach program in Pakistan: http://www.stimson.org/

• Developing in-depth and multimedia case studies on leadership for sustainable development in Brazil, Russia, and China

Graduate Education:
A new Executive graduate degree program has been introduced with a focus on “leadership for sustainability”: http://web1.cnre.vt.edu/xmnr/

A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise:
The website URL where information about the innovation is available:

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