The University Committee on Sustainability, the Office for Sustainability, the Alumni Association, the Career Center, the School of Engineering, the School of Architecture and the Environmental Resiliency Institute partnered together in hosting a multi-day Sustainability Leadership Summit to showcase the breadth of UVA’s pan-University and interdisciplinary work in the multi-faceted realm of sustainability and to collaboratively innovate to envision UVA’s role as a global sustainability leader.

Goals included:

  1. Establishing UVA as a visible global leader by celebrating past work, increasing visibility of current work, and strengthening student, staff, faculty and alumni networks
  2. Connecting UVA affiliates to develop a shared vision for UVA’s third century and
  3. Fostering an environment that promotes career awareness around sustainability professions and inspires UVA students to pursue careers that support a commitment to the environment.

Major themes and quotes:

While events and breakout sessions touched a variety of topics related to sustainability, some overlying themes spanned all conversations. See a summary of major themes and accompanying quotes below:

Climate change is a pressing and urgent issue, and UVA is equipped to address this challenge through research, innovation, education, and civic engagement.

“I am convinced that issues around climate change and around resilience and sustainability are among the most important issues facing the country and facing our world.”
President Jim Ryan

Departments, offices, and other UVA affiliates are collaborating to create a shared sustainability vision.

“We are at an important inflection point and it is going to take all of us. It is all of your voices, everyone’s voices with everyone contributing, committing and helping move forward thinking about what the vision of UVA sustainability means in all of these categories.”
Cheryl Gomez, Operations

Sustainability is applicable across all professions, and UVA alumni are paving the way as sustainability leaders.

“Brainstorming at tables [with alumni] was extremely beneficial in understanding motivations and new ideas which contributed to my changing opinions and self-motivations. I would like to participate in more roundtable informal discussions like this.”
Student Attendee

Fast Facts:

  • 86% of survey respondents to date felt that they gained a greater understanding of UVA’s sustainability initiatives and now feel even more inspired to be involved
  • The Summit hosted 20 events ranging from Faculty Flash Talks to breakout sessions to farmers markets
  • Over 50 presenters spoke on a diverse array of topics
  • 500+ unique individuals attended one or more events
  • We collected over 90 responses in our Attendee Engagement activity which asked, “What aspects of sustainability do you think present the most exciting opportunities for UVA?” Participating attendees shared their top three opportunities, see responses below:


Graph of participants answers.

We captured some amazing photos from each of the events so make sure to take a look through our Facebook albums!