Reporting System

Implementation Profile for George Washington University

Submitted on November 6, 2008; last updated on August 2, 2016

Institution Information

Commitment Type Climate
Basic Carnegie Classification Doctorate Granting
Control Private not-for-profit
Location Washington, DC
Community Setting Large city
USDOE Climate Zone 4
Current President or Chancellor's Name Steven Knapp
Current President or Chancellor's Title President
Main Website
Sustainability Website
Additional Urls No information provided

Implementation Structure

Institutional Format Task Force
Number of Individuals in Structure 11-20
Stakeholder Groups Represented Board, Community Leaders, Faculty, Students, , Executive, Community Members, Staff, Alumni
Description In October 2007, President Knapp commissioned a Presidential Task Force on Sustainability to develop recommendations to enhance academic initiatives, improve university policies, and develop local, regional, and national partnerships in the areas of environmental stewardship and climate change. Comprised of a diverse group of GW constituents including four students, eight staff members, and three faculty members, the task force met weekly to discuss its findings and provided its recommendations to President Knapp on June 1 ( The Task Force on Sustainability has transformed into the Office of Sustainability supported by numerous faculty, staff and students on campus.

The Office of Sustainability encourages, facilitates, and coordinates sustainability initiatives while enhancing existing programs and practices across the university. The Sustainability Academics Implementation Team is working to establish the Institute for Sustainability Research and Education. The Institute will promote interdisciplinary curricular enhancements and research on a range of policy and social issues relating to sustainability. In addition, there are a number of organizations on campus focusing on sustainability. The role of the Office of Sustainability is to support and coordinate the sustainability efforts of these organizations.

The University's Climate Action Planning process brought together numerous stakeholders to devise and implement projects that will reduce the University's carbon footprint. The engagement structure is as follows:

The engagement structure is designed to capture innovative ideas from across the University and will incorporate GW students, faculty and staff. In order to achieve this objective, three different groups will contribute to the process, as follows:

Sustainability Leadership Council: This group is made up of University leadership and will champion the CAP effort, review recommendations and endorse final decisions regarding the University’s CAP implementation strategy.

Advisory Group: This group will be comprised of members of the original Sustainability Task Force along with additional representatives from various areas of the University. This group is responsible for bringing ideas for GHG mitigation to each of the implementation teams and providing feedback on implementation team plans. These individuals will also serve as representatives to the campus community for sustainability efforts and will assist in the implementation of behavior changing initiatives campus-wide.

CAP Implementation Team: Members of this group will include “team leads” from the following five implementation teams responsible for identifying ideas for GHG mitigation, evaluating ideas generated by all participants in the process and prioritizing strategies to be included in the CAP. The recommendations of the CAP Implementation Team will be vetted by the Leadership Council for decision making.

1. Curriculum and Research: Develops plan that both ensures climate change / sustainability are part of the curriculum and that enhances the level of faculty research aimed at addressing climate change.
2. Transportation: Focuses on plan for carbon neutrality in University fleet vehicles, commuting, and air travel.
3. Energy: Develops the energy conservation, on-site renewables, green power purchasing, and new construction/green design emissions reduction strategies and projects.
4. Communication and Community Outreach: Develops ongoing strategy for ensuring stakeholders are aware of CAP progress. Spans across working groups to create plans for encouraging cross-community behavioral changes required for CAP success.
5. Offsets: Evaluates and develops a University strategy for carbon offset. This team will take into consideration the potential for GW to participate in the carbon markets, to boost financial case for using offsets.

In addition,there are numerous student organizations dedicated to sustainability at GW including Green GW, Environmental Law Association, Students for Fair Trade, Progressive Student Union, the The Food Justice Alliance, Revolution Green LLC, GW Energy Club, Net Impact, and the Student Association.

Finally, there is a newly formed committed on the Board of Trustees who will serve as advisors on sustainability issues.
Committees and Groups with whom Institution coordinates No information provided
Implementation Liaison's Name Meghan Chapple
Implementation Liaison's Title Director
Implementation Liaison's Department Office of Sustainability