Sustainability Connect

Sustainability Connect 2024

Sustainability Connect: 2024
sustainability connect in green and blue

Sustainability Connect 2024

As MIT advances toward its campus decarbonization goals, Sustainability Connect provides a community-wide forum for updates and an inside look at this transformative and comprehensive work.

Photos from the event.




8:30-9 | Check in and coffee and breakfast pastries served

9-9:15 | Opening Remarks and Connection
Julie Newman, Director of Sustainability
Nina Lytton, Interfaith Chaplain and Spiritual Advisor to the Indigenous Community at MIT

9:15-9:30 | Climate at MIT
Richard Lester, Vice Provost and Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering

9:35-10:30 | Decarbonizing the Campus
Julie Newman, Director of Sustainability
Joe Higgins, Vice President for Campus Services and Stewardship
Vasso Mathes, Senior Campus Planner
Steve Lanou, Senior Sustainability Project Manager and 
Chenhan Shao, PhD student

10:30-10:40 | Coffee Break

10:40-11:45 | Sustainability in Motion
An interactive session featuring MIT community members reflecting on their work in multiple areas including sustainable food systems, climate justice instruction, procurement, safe and sustainable labs, and power purchase agreements.

11:45-12 | Collaborative Climate Action Program Recognition

12:00-1:00 | Lunch

1:00 - 2:15 | Climate in the Media Panel
Deborah Blum, Director, Knight Science Journalism Program, MIT
Laur Hesse Fisher, Program Director, ESI
Barbara Moran, Climate and Environment reporter at WBUR
Annie Ropeik,  Independent Climate Journalist, Camden Maine

2:15-2:30 Closing

Sustainability Connect 2023

Sustainability Connect: 2023

sustainability connect spelled out in red and orange


Thank you for joining us for Sustainability Connect 2023: A Forum on the Future of Sustainability at MIT. 

Sustainability Connect brings together the community working to create a more sustainable MIT.

people gathered around a table talking



Sustainability Awards

The Sustainability Awards provide recognition to individuals working in support of the sustainable transformation of MIT with a focus on connection, impact, and kindness. 

group of people holding award certificates

Award Categories

  • Sustainability Impact Award 

Making an impact and leading on sustainable change at MIT

Awardee: Marty O’Brien

Awardee: Safe and Sustainable Labs Service Team

  • Campus as a Test Bed 

Utilizing the campus to test sustainability solutions for MIT and beyond 

Awardee: Katerina Boukin

Awardee: Systems Performance and Turnover, Department of Chemistry, and Environment, Health and Safety Team

  • Student Sustainability Leader

A student who demonstrates exceptional leadership and collaboration within the sustainability community

Awardee: Shiv Bhakta

  • Climate Hero

An individual who has supported transformative change with regards to sustainability within their team

Awardee: Randa Ghattas

  • Circular Economy

Someone shifting operations and/or mindsets from a “use-and-dispose” to “rethink- and-reuse”

Awardee: Jarrod Jones

Awardee: EHS Safety Technician Team


8:30-9 Check in and coffee and breakfast pastries served

9-9:30 Opening Remarks and Marking a Decade of Sustainability at MIT
Julie Newman, Director of Sustainability

9:35-10:15 A Model for Change: Field Reports from Campus as a Test Bed
Moderator | Brian Goldberg, Assistant Director, Office of Sustainability
Panelist | Miho Mazareeuw, MITOS Faculty Fellow, Associate Professor of Architecture and Urbanism, Director of the Urban Risk Lab 
Panelist |Ken Strzepek, MITOS Faculty Fellow and Research Scientist at the MIT Center for Global Change Science
Panelist | Ippolyti Dellatolas Graduate Student, MITOS Climate Action Sustainability Researcher

10:15-10:30 Coffee Break

10:35-11:15 Sustainability in Motion
An interactive session featuring MIT community members reflecting on their work in sustainable building education, climate resilient landscaping, EV fleet transition, Waste Watchers, Choose to Reuse, and power purchase agreements.

11:15-11:55 On the Horizon: Decarbonizing the Campus, Experiential Learning, and Justice
Panelist | Kate Trimble, Senior Associate Dean for Experiential Learning
Panelist | Susy Jones, Senior Sustainability Project Manager
Panelist | John Fernandez, Director, Environmental Solutions Initiative, Professor School of Architecture and Planning
Panelist | Joe Higgins, Vice President for Campus Services and Stewardship

noon-12:15 Sustainability Awards

12:15-1:15 Lunch

1:10-2:15 Workshop: The Future of Sustainability at MIT
Attendees are invited to collaborate with others and share their vision for more sustainable MIT through this interactive workshop. 

2:15 Closing

Sustainability Connect 2021

Sustainability Connect: 2021

sustainability connect spelled out in blue and green

Join us on Monday, November 8 at 1 p.m. to engage around MIT's strategies to reach the ambitious campus goals outlined in the new climate action plan.

Sustainability Connect provides an opportunity for newcomers and experts alike to find their place in the campus sustainability landscape at MIT, to connect with new partners, and help advance a more sustainable and just campus.

At Sustainability Connect 2021, the MIT Office of Sustainability will bring together staff, students, faculty, and researchers to learn more and contribute to MIT's campus climate commitments and goals as outlined in Fast Forward: MIT's Climate Plan for the Decade.

Join the online event to engage around MIT's strategies to reach these ambitious campus goals. Hear directly from staff, faculty, and researchers leading the efforts and take action on these strategies through breakout rooms where you're invited to share insight, feedback, and ideas to build a net-zero MIT.

Register to reserve your spot for Sustainability Connect 2021

Sustainability Connect 2019

Program Highlights 2019

This year's Sustainability Connect was on Friday, May 3rd, 2019

Sustainability Connect is designed to bring together the ecosystem of actors working to create a sustainable campus and world at MIT. The recent launch of the Pathways to Sustainability Leadership set the stage for this year's Connect.

Read the full agenda

Welcoming Video: Pathways to Sustainability Leadership

This video explores the key elements that make up the Pathway to Sustainability Leadership by MIT, composed of voices and stories from members of the operations, research, and educational communities at MIT.

Opening Remarks

Tony Sharon, Deputy Executive Vice President; Andrea Campbell, Department Head, Political Science; and Julie Newman, Director of Sustainability provide opening remarks and set the stage for the day, looking back at our accomplishments and forward toward our future plans.

A Retrospective of Sustainability at MIT: Successes, missteps, and measurable impacts

Director of Sustainability, Julie Newman moderates a panel on topics ranging from mobility to resiliency, featuring: Joe Higgins, Director, Infrastructure Operations; Michael Owu, Chair of the Committee on Transportation & Parking; Cecilia Talamantes, Senior Analyst, VPF & Rachel Perlman, Engineering Systems Division; Brian Goldberg, MITOS & Ken Strzepek, Research Scientist, Ctr. for Global Change Science.


Designing the Future of Sustainability Education at MIT: A conversation with students, faculty, staff, and alum

Kate Trimble, Senior Associate Dean & Director of the Office of Experiential Learning leads an interactive discussion with Peter Godart, Graduate Student, Mechanical Engineering; Rebecca Grekin, Year 4, Chemical Engineering; David McGee, Assoc. Professor, Earth, Atmospheric, & Planetary Sciences; and Susanne Rasmussen, Director of Environmental and Transportation Planning for City of Cambridge.


Sustainability Connect 2018

STARS panel
Sustainbility Connect 2018

Imagine. Incubate. Impact

May 7, 2018, 8:30-2:30pm
Samberg Conference Center, E52, 7th Floor

MIT News Article on 2018 Connect
2018 Program
Tony Sharon
Welcoming Remarks

Julie Newman, Ph.D., Director, Office of Sustainability
Tony Sharon, Deputy Executive Vice President, Office of the Executive Vice President & Treasurer

Watch video here

Joi Ito
Keynote Address

Joi Ito, Director, MIT Media Lab

Watch video here

Christina Lo
Morning Panel: The state of sustainability at MIT

Brian Goldberg and Derek Wietsma, MITOS, in conversation with:

Amanda Graham, Executive Director of Environmental Solutions Initiative
Kate Trimble, Associate Dean, PKG Public Service Center
Christina Lo, Director of Strategic Sourcing and Contracts
Abigail Francis, Assistant Dean of LBGTQ+

Watch video here

Panel: Solving for Carbon Neutrality at MIT

Professor Tim Gutowski (MechE) and Julie Newman (MITOS) in conversation with:

Mechanical Engineering students, Julien Victor Barber, Caleb Amos Amy, Colin Clancy Kelsall, and Economics student Ignacio Ortega Castineiras

Watch video here

Incubator Award Speed Talks

Jeremy Gregory, Concrete Sustainability Hub; Randa Ghattas, Department of Facilities; Professor Kripa Varanasi, Mechanical Engineering

Watch video here

Learn more about the Sustainability Incubator Awards here


Heather Paxson
Lunchtime Keynote: Food & culture

Heather Paxson, MIT Professor of Anthropology

Watch video here

Sustainability Design Challenges

Participants self-selected into one of three design challenge wo rkshops on the following topics: Food & Sustainability; Campus Water Systems; and Pathway to Sustainability Leadership Implementation.

Sustainability Connect 2017

Sustainability Connect 2017

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

Seeking new opportunities was a major focus of Sustainability Connect 2017. It was reflected in the conference’s theme: “Cultivating the Test Bed: Harvesting a Better Future for All,” and through the day’s agenda of panels, presentations, and brainstorming sessions. Opportunities for innovative thinking explored incorporating social justice in future solutions, new intersections of innovation and campus sustainability, and new venues for faculty, students, and staff to use the campus as a living lab.

Watch our 2017 Sustainability Video
MIT News Article on 2017 Connect

2017 Program

Welcoming Remarks

Video Recap & Setting the Stage | Julie Newman, Director, Office of Sustainability

Welcome | Tony Sharon, Deputy Executive Vice President, Office of the EVPT


Keynote Address: Equity, Justice and Sustainable Solutions

Julian Agyeman, Professor, Tufts University, Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning | Slides | Video

Exploring the Intersections between Innovation and Campus Sustainability at MIT

Glen Comiso, Senior Director for Institute Affairs at MIT, Moderator
Jim May, Senior Project Manager, MIT Campus Planning

Jinane Abounadi, Executive Director, MIT Sandbox

Sarah Eusden Gallop, Co-Director, MIT Office of Government & Community Relations

Slides | Video

Cultivating the Test Bed: Constructing the Campus Lab

Joe Higgins, Director, Infrastructure Business Ops, Department of Facilities, Moderator

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)

Slides | Video

Sustainability Connect 2016

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.

Sustainability Connect 2016 Recap Video
MIT News Article on 2016 Connect
2016 Program

Welcoming Remarks

Shaping the Future | Julie Newman, Director, Office of Sustainability | Slides | Video

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

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

Slides | Video 

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

Slides | Video 

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 & Corey Tucker, 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 

Slides | Video 

Sustainability Connect 2015

Bina and Vlad
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 Recap Video
MIT News Article on 2015 Connect

2015 Program


Welcoming Remarks: Inventing the Future of MIT Campus Sustainability

Julie Newman, Director, MIT Office of Sustainability | Slides | Video 

Israel Ruiz, MIT Executive Vice President & Treasurer | Slides | Video 

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

Slides | Video

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

Slides | Video 

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