The University of Notre Dame strives to be a leader in sustainable operations, education and research, and a role model for responsible citizenship. Notre Dame recognizes its responsibility to conserve the natural environment while promoting long-term economic and social justice for all members of society and works to foster a pervasive focus on the connection between resource stewardship and the Common Good.
For many years, the University has acted to inspire and encourage sustainability, both academically and administratively. Through the implementation of energy conservation measures across facilities, the design and construction of LEED-certified buildings, the establishment of the Office of Sustainability, academic and research centers such as the Center for Sustainable Energy, the Environmental Change Initiative, and ND-GAIN, and the creation of an undergraduate minor in Sustainability, the University has sought to advance sustainability on campus and abroad.
But we realize that to continue to be Catholic leaders, we can and must do more. Following the teachings of our Catholic tradition and mission, and further inspired by His Holiness Pope Francis, the Executive Vice President’s Comprehensive Sustainability Strategy Standing Committee was convened to assess our current sustainability practices and promote the future protection of God’s creation at Notre Dame. The original strategy was published in 2016 and the University is actively working toward the next version of the Sustainability Strategy. Additionally, the topic of climate change and the environment has been included as a theme in the University Strategic Framework.
The Comprehensive Sustainability Strategy Standing Committee is composed of students, faculty, and staff. Over the years, they have guided Notre Dame's strategy via recommendations and goal development, enabling the University to widen and deepen sustainable practices across activities and functions.
The Notre Dame Sustainability Team partners across the institution to advance strategic sustainability initiatives. Originally referred to as the Office of Sustainability, the operational team was created in the fall of 2007 at the recommendation of a Sustainability Strategy Working Group.
The Sustainability Collective assembles all the members of the Small Working Groups. With support from the Sustainability Strategy Standing Committee, we paused the regular convening of the Small Working Groups in order to move toward our next phase of an updated Strategy for the University. The Sustainability Collective is an interim solution to maintain connection with our valued Small Working Group membership while we pilot our strategic sustainability planning process.
Notre Dame has elected to self-report within the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS), which is administered by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). STARS is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance. This comprehensive reporting system is public and allows us to analyze the many areas of sustainability on campus, helping us to assess our current state, maintain accountability, and plan appropriately for the future. Our most recent report recognized our initiatives with a gold rating.
Notre Dame has been ranked 226th in the World for Sustainability Among Other Universities by QS. They evaluate universities' operational, classroom, and alumni impact alongside the impact of research being done across the UN's 17 sustainable development goals. Check out Notre Dame's QS Sustainability Report.