Sustainability Connect

Sustainability Connect Intro/Current

Sustainability Connect 2017

Cultivating the campus test bed, harvesting a better future for all

Sustainability Connect is an annual meeting that brings together a dynamic cross-section of faculty, staff, and student leaders working across MIT to advance game-changing campus sustainability initiatives. This year's theme is: Cultivating the Campus Test Bed, Harvesting a Better Future for All. Read below for more info.



Date & Time: Monday, May 8, 2017, 8:30AM-3PM (Invite only from 8:30AM-1PM; open to MIT 1PM-3PM)
Venue: Samberg Conference Center, E52, 7th Floor


8:30AM-9AM |  Breakfast & Registration

9AM-9:15AM | Welcoming Remarks
Video Recap & Setting the Stage | Julie Newman, Director, Office of Sustainability
Welcome | Tony Sharon, Deputy Executive Vice President, Office of the EVPT

9:15AM-10AM | Keynote Address: Equity, Justice and Sustainable Solutions
Julian Agyeman, Professor, Tufts University, Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning

10AM-11AM | Panel: Exploring the Intersections between Innovation and Campus Sustainability at MIT
Moderated by: Glen Comiso, Senior Director for Institute Affairs at MIT

11AM-11:15AM | Coffee Break

11:15AM-12:15PM | Workshop: Collaborative Goal Setting, Harvesting a Better Future
Facilitated by MITOS staff
Small groups examine & reflect on setting actionable, innovative goals for sustainability

12:15PM-1PM | Lunch & Networking

To foster new connections with Sustainability Connect participants, the last two sessions are open to the wider MIT academic and administrative communities. Snacks will be served.

1PM-2PM | Cultivating the Test Bed: Constructing the Campus Lab
Moderated by: Joe Higgins, Director, Infrastructure Business Ops, Department of Facilities

  • Rachel Perlman, PhD student in Engineering Systems Division & MIT Office of Sustainability Fellow (Campus Material Flow Analysis)

  • Kripa Varanasi, Associate Professor, MIT Dept. of Mechanical Engineering (Water Savings in Cooling Towers and the Central Utilities Plant)

  • Marius Peters, Research Scientist, Photovoltaics Research Lab (Solar Test Bed)

  • Pam Greenley, Associate Director, MIT Office of Environment Health & Safety (Green Labs Certification)

2PM-3PM | Living Lab Ideation Session
Co-facilitated by MITOS and the Environmental Solutions Initiative
Matching campus-based questions with opportunities for education and research.

Closing remarks

Note: We will end in time to make it to the opening plenary session of Solve at MIT, for those attending.

Download the full agenda

Sustainability Connect 2016

Photo: Ken Richardson
Sustainability Connect 2016

Future Campus

This year, as we celebrate 100 years of MIT in Cambridge, we also look forward to creating a sustainable campus in the coming century. Blending creative presentations with working sessions, the event, held on May 9, 2016, helps you and your teams shape the future of the campus.

2016 Agenda

Welcoming Remarks

  • Shaping the Future | Julie Newman, Director, Office of Sustainability

  • Reflecting on our Progress | Tony Sharon, Deputy Executive Vice President


Campus Resiliency through Community Design

  • Brent D. Ryan, Assoc. Prof. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning & Head of City Design & Dev't Group

  • Maryanne Kirkbride, Clinical Director for Campus Life, MIT Medical

  • Larry Susskind, Prof. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning


32 percent and beyond: MIT’s role in meeting local and global climate goals

  • Moderated by Noelle Eckley Selin, Assoc. Professor, IDSS & EAPS

  • Joe Higgins, Director, Infrastructure Business Ops, Office of Exec. VP & Treasurer

  • Steven Lanou, Deputy Director, Office of Sustainability

  • Ron Prinn, Director & Prof, Center for Global Change Science


Campus as a Living Lab: Reflections from 3 Project Teams

  • Moderated by John Fernandez, Dir. of MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative

  • AccessMyCommute | John Attanucci, Lecturer & Manager MIT Transit Research Program and Corey Tucker, 3rd year, Master of Sci. in Transport. and Technology & Policy

  • MIT Roof Study | Taya Dixon, Senior Planner, Capital Renewal and Isaac LaJoie, 4th year,  Mechanical Engineering

  • 2100 Resiliency Planning | Mike Wilson, Urban Studies and Planning and Jacqueline Kuo, 4th year, Mechanical Engineering 


Sustainability Connect 2015

Bina and Vlad
Photo: Justin Knight
Sustainability Connect 2015

How can MIT be a game-changing force for campus sustainability?

Eight working groups and committees from across MIT - each tasked with developing recommendations related to campus sustainability on topics ranging from climate change to stormwater - convened as one powerful collective at MIT SustainabilityConnect on March 2, 2015. Attendees made new and vital connections with each other, generated game-changing ideas for the future, and kicked off the process of sustainable campus-wide transformation. The one-day forum combined presentations from topical experts with hands-on working sessions.

Sustainability Connect 2015 video recap.

2015 Agenda


Welcoming Remarks: Inventing the Future of MIT Campus Sustainability

  • Julie Newman, Director, MIT Office of Sustainability

  • Israel Ruiz, MIT Executive Vice President & Treasurer


Julie Newman, Director, MIT Office of Sustainability (slides)

Israel Ruiz, MIT Executive Vice President & Treasurer (slides)

Framing Our Future: How Can MIT be a Game-changing Force for Campus Sustainability?

  • Frank O’Sullivan, Director of Research & Analysis, MITEI (Moderator)

  • Vladimir Bulovic, Associate Dean for Innovation, Professor of Electrical Engineering, MIT School of Engineering

  • Jeremy Poindexter, Graduate student, MIT Department of Materials Science & Engineering, Photovoltaics Research Laboratory

  • John Charles, Vice President for MIT Information Systems and Technology (IS&T)

  • Henry (Jake) Jacoby, William F. Pounds Professor of Management Emeritus, Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, and Member, MIT Climate Change Conversation Committee

  • Bina Venkataraman, Director of Global Policy Initiatives at the Broad Institute and former senior advisor for climate change innovation in the Executive Office of the US President


Working Session 1: Creating Game-changing Plans for MIT Campus Sustainability


Designing Tomorrow’s Campus: Resiliency, Vulnerability, and Adaptation

  • Anne Slinn, Executive Director of Research, MIT Center for Global Change Science and Member, MIT Climate Change Conversation Committee (Moderator)
  • The Cambridge Context: Understanding Risks and Community Preparedness - Nathalie Beauvais, Project Manager/Lead climate change projects from Kleinfelder Associates. Kleinfelder is developing a comprehensive climate change vulnerability assessment for the City of Cambridge
  • Resilient Campus Design - James Wescoat, Aga Khan Professor, MIT Department of Architecture
  • Campus Goal Setting for Climate ChangeBert Bland, Associate Vice President of Energy and Sustainability, Cornell University


Working Session 2: Designing Tomorrow's Campus


Closing Remarks

  • Peter Senge, Senior Lecturer, MIT Sloan School of Management and Co-Founder, Society for Organizational Learning (SoL) and Academy for Systemic Change

Video of Peter Senge's Remarks