Call for Graduate Sustainability Coordinators

Author: Rachel Novick


Notre Dame’s graduate students now have an opportunity to take a leading role in campus sustainability efforts. Whether a particular grad student toils over a computer, a PCR machine, or a particle accelerator, there are many opportunities to save energy. The role of Graduate Sustainability Coordinators is to promote more efficient practices among fellow students and colleagues in each department.

Notre Dame’s science labs use about 80% more energy than the typical school buildings on campus. While a lot of that energy is needed for experiments, the rest is wasted by lights left on, computers that never sleep, hoods left open, and equipment that is infrequently used but never turned off. “Graduate students often run the labs and equipment that are the largest consumers of energy on campus, so they have a great chance to impact the energy consumption of campus as a whole,” says Shawn O’Brien, a graduate student in physics and one of the first Graduate Sustainability Coordinators.

But sustainability is not only for those who spend their days (and nights) in lab. “Graduate students can also help by being smarter with their paper consumption, the way they use their computers, and the ways they heat and cool their offices,” says Shawn.

The first meeting of the Graduate Sustainability Coordinators took place on November 4th. The next meeting will take place on Tuesday December 2nd at 4pm in Fitzpatrick 258. To join the team of Coordinators, email