Johns Hopkins University's Sustainability Leadership Council, or SLC, recently celebrated one year of collective effort toward addressing issues of environmental sustainability, a year marked by the establishment of an interdisciplinary network of JHU students, faculty, staff, alumni advocates, and subject matter experts working to advance a vision for sustainability throughout the university.
Since its launch in September 2019, the SLC has prioritized the organization of its 75 members into strategic committees focused on the integration of sustainability into academics, research, engagement, and university operations. Council members in each of these areas contributed to priorities in support of the SLC's mission: to provide guidance to Provost Sunil Kumar on policies, programs, and other initiatives that will build a greater role for Johns Hopkins as a leader in environmental sustainability, both locally and globally, and to amplify the university's research and practice around environmental sustainability through fostering academic collaboration, and supporting the work of the Office of Sustainability.
The SLC is sharing the details of its first-year efforts and accomplishments in a report. In addition to the ordinary challenges of establishing any new university organization, the SLC faced the obstacle of getting off the ground during an unprecedented global pandemic. However, according to SLC co-chairs Peter Winch, a professor in the Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Bob McLean, vice president for facilities and real estate, "The SLC's members have met the extraordinary challenges of the past year with passion and resilience to build on our momentum and invigorate the urgent and necessary solutions for addressing sustainability at Johns Hopkins."
Among the highlights from these 12 months was an inaugural SLC annual symposium, "Earth Day at 50: Renewing JHU's Commitment to a Livable Planet," a virtual gathering in April that drew more than 230 attendees. In the next academic year, the SLC will continue to work on the priorities the group has already identified as well as elevate a collection of new projects including:
- Incorporating environmental justice as a core theme of the SLC's work, including the development of a new working group, a proposal to enhance environmental justice activities throughout the university, and hosting a series of themed events
- Participating in the development of an Energy Alliance proposal to enhance the university's teaching and research focusing on renewable energy solutions
- Contributing to the establishment of a new comprehensive Sustainability Plan for JHU
- Building an enhanced sustainability web presence for the university to communicate sustainability priorities and resources to internal and external stakeholders
Members of the JHU community who are interested in getting involved with the work of the SLC or the Office of Sustainability can email firstname.lastname@example.org.