Recapping the Year in Georgetown Sustainability

No matter where you look across campus, sustainability certainly played a pivotal role in shaping the last academic year at Georgetown University.

As Master Planning continues to drive a more sustainable campus, Georgetown partnered with countless student groups, industry leaders and influencers to realize sustainable practices derived from our Jesuit values to ensure a greener tomorrow on the Hilltop.

Throughout the past year, Hoyas showed their dedication to our community and our common home by implementing real-world sustainable solutions, with Georgetown as the venue to realize a brighter future. In accordance with our Jesuit values, sustainability is inherent in Georgetown’s our core mission, and our continued commitment is reflected as our community takes action on this issue.

To celebrate these accomplishments, let’s take a look back at the some of the top moments in sustainability on campus since last spring!


10. Sustainability in Master Planning & New Construction

GU’s Master Planning has taken many steps to incorporate sustainable practices, including transforming former parking lots to green space, developing a more pedestrian-friendly campus, enhancing sustainable transportation and ensuring that all new buildings attain LEED Silver or higher green building certification.

9. Georgetown wins the 2015 Metro DC Car Free Day College Campus Challenge

The global Car Free Day initiative invites commuters to opt out of driving alone for a day, and choose the bus, train, walking, biking, ridepooling or teleworking for cleaner air and less traffic congestion. Its mission aligns with Georgetown University's commitment to sustainable, multi-modal transportation, with over 65% of our campus population regularly opting for a more sustainable commute.

Last September, Georgetown won the 2015 Metro DC Car Free Day College Campus Challenge, with more than 500 members of our campus community taking the pledge!

8. GU Students Launch Global Platforms for Millennials to Engage with Ocean Sustainability

Georgetown University students have been an awesome force for sustainability this year.  In conjunction with the State Department, the Georgetown Sustainable Oceans Alliance (SOA) held its 2nd annual Sustainable Oceans Summit in April, engaging students, faculty, and outside community members with the vast and important issue of ocean sustainability.

GU senior Daniela Fernandez, SOA founder, was named a Glamour Magazine 2016 College Women of the Year for her incredible work, including collecting 9,000 signatures in support of adopting ocean conservation as a global Sustainable Development Goal, a goal adopted by the UN in September.

7. Georgetown Tackles Waste with Composting and an Extraordinary Move Out Drive

This Earth Day marked a year of successful composting at Leo’s Dining Hall, where Georgetown Dining composts about 25 tons per month. The dining staff sort and collect organic kitchen scraps, which are reclaimed at a local compost site and transformed into useful soil products. Expanding on this success, on Earth Day 2016 GU’s Hilltoss salad shop launched its own composting program, become the first Corp location to divert and reclaim food-waste!

Another big win over waste was Georgetown’s annual Move Out Drive, a sustainable year-end initiative that reclaimed 40 tons of household goods last May, keeping them out of a landfill and instead donating to local charities.

6. Continued Growth and Expansion of the Office of Sustainability

Integrating sustainability across the university is no small task, and we are so grateful for the many amazing Hoyas who help make it happen! That network continued to expand this year, for example with fantastic student groups like McCourt E&E, the GUSA Sustainability Policy Team, and the Corp Sustainability Committee sprouting across campus.

Our Office of Sustainability has also expanded this year:  in February we welcomed our second full-time staff member, Gregory Miller! Greg (SFS’14) is leading the annual Move Out Drive, new bicycling initiatives, energy conservation programs and more. His important work advances sustainability at Georgetown every day. A big thanks to Greg, to our team of fantastic interns, and to all our colleagues and partners who help bring sustainability to the Hilltop each day!

5. Sustainable Investments to Support Georgetown’s Mission for Hoyas Current and Future

Last June, Georgetown’s Board of Directors passed a resolution stating that the university will not make or continue any direct investments of endowment funds in companies whose principal business is mining coal for use in energy production.

Georgetown’s commitment to sustainable investments continue to drive us towards building the campus of the future!

4. Georgetown University Continues to Actively Reduce Carbon Footprint

In accordance with President DeGioia’s pledge to cut GU’s emissions 50% by 2020, this year we established new energy efficiency programs such as LED lighting retrofits in Hoya Court and the Hariri garage, which are cutting 35 tons of carbon each year, equal to planting 897 new trees.

In addition, the university continues to partner with students to realize sustainable campus projects such as a partnership with Georgetown Energy to install occupancy sensors in Darnall Hall.

3. Fostering Engagement to Drive Change

Georgetown University hosted a series of exciting workshops last fall to inspire and engage our campus community in an ambitious sustainability vision.

In August, the university held a workshop led by William McDonough, architect and sustainable development pioneer, to embrace creative university-wide goals. In September, a student-focused design thinking workshop with GUSA, Beeck Center and alumni-led innovation firm SMALLIFY zoomed in to devise near-term, actionable solutions for a sustainable campus.

2. Georgetown’s Engagement with the COP21 Summit

Georgetown’s sustainable engagement played an important role for the momentous Paris COP21 climate summit, which achieved a historic global agreement to tackle climate change. In the lead-up to the COP21, Georgetown co-hosted Secretary of State John Kerry’s Climate and Clean Energy Forum and signed the White House American Campuses Act on Climate Pledge. In December, GU faculty gave talks alongside the COP in Paris, and this Earth Month Georgetown conferred an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters upon Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, recognizing her transformative leadership in achieving the historic agreement.

1.The Tremendous Inspiration Georgetown Received from Laudato Si’

Rounding out our 2015-2016 top Hoya Green Moments, we are thrilled to reflect on the tremendous inspiration of Laudato Si’. Pope Francis’s encyclical reminds us that caring for the environment is one of the most urgent moral and practical concerns of our time. Embracing the encyclical’s message, at Georgetown we have redoubled our work of caring for our common home this past year - as shown in the efforts highlighted in our top moments countdown and so many more. We hope you are as inspired as we are to continue this work together in the coming year. Happy summer Hoyas!!


Robin Morey, Vice President, Planning and Facilities Management

Fr. Kevin O’Brien, Vice President for Mission and Ministry