Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

Officials launch University-wide sustainability initiative

Hatchet File Photo

Updated: Nov. 16, 2023, at 10:51 a.m.

Officials announced an initiative to bolster climate change research and sustainability education across GW schools and programs in a University release Wednesday.

The Alliance for a Sustainable Future launched Wednesday with the goal of “uniting” University sustainability initiatives and combating climate change using GW and D.C. resources, the release states. The alliance will involve students, professors and resources from schools like the Columbian College of Arts & Sciences, the College of Professional Studies, GW Law, the Elliott School of International Affairs and the School of Engineering and Applied Science, according to the Alliance for a Sustainable Future information page.

Frank Sesno — the School of Media and Public Affairs’ director of strategic initiatives and the founding director of Planet Forward, an SMPA environmental publication — will lead the program as executive director and created the initiative with help from Provost Chris Bracey, the release states. Sesno said GW has “long been” fighting climate change through sustainability research across disciplines and schools.

“Now it’s time to unite all these efforts under one GW banner in order to leverage and amplify our commitment to climate and sustainability work and increase our global impact,” Sesno said in a video embedded in the release.

Sesno said in the release that different schools will collaborate on new projects and progress existing research now that all sustainability and climate change initiatives are united under one alliance.

“We will amplify and leverage the incredibly important work, research and learning that’s taking place at this university, we will mobilize people and resources and we will collaborate and communicate to share our work and inspire the positive change that we need and that will define our future,” Sesno said in the release.

Donna Attanasio, a professorial lecturer in law and former assistant dean of energy law, will serve as managing director.

University President Ellen Granberg said in the release that students, faculty and staff who are interested in climate change, environmental justice and sustainability will work together to research and address “pressing challenges.”

“Designed to bring together experts, scholars and future leaders from across our campuses, the GW Alliance for a Sustainable Future represents a revolutionary next step in how we tackle these complex and interconnected challenges,” Granberg said in the release.

The alliance will begin with a focus on meeting with University stakeholders to collect input on projects and future research and connecting with interested university partners, faculty, students and staff, according to the release.

The alliance will include University institutes like the Climate and Health Institute, the Global Food Institute, the Environmental and Energy Management Institute, the Institute for International Economic Policy, the Institute for Corporate Responsibility, the Equity Institute and the Arctic Program: Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies, according to the alliance’s page. The page states programs like the sustainability minor, the Environmental and Sustainability Science Bachelor’s program, the Environmental and Energy Law Program and the Sustainable Urban Planning master’s program will also be involved along with the Planet Forward Project, GW SmartGrid Laboratory and the Office of Sustainability.

Milken Dean Lynn Goldman said in the release that through the alliance, Milken students and faculty will research ways to deliver medical assistance using sustainable practices.

“This is a huge step forward for GW in creating a platform for interdisciplinary collaboration that will address one of the most important challenges facing humanity: how to equitably meet the needs of eight billion people while sustaining a planet that is healthy and allows not only our children but our great-grandchildren to thrive,” Goldman said in the release.

This post was updated to clarify the following:

The Hatchet updated this post to clarify that all the University’s sustainability and climate change initiatives are united under one alliance but remain housed in the same place.

More to Discover
Donate to The GW Hatchet