Growing the Next Generation of Sustainabilty Leaders

On October 25th, more than 120 student ambassadors from 15 school districts across Western Pennsylvania gathered at the Energy Innovation Center (EIC) in downtown Pittsburgh. The student ambassadors learned from sustainability experts spanning industries, community organizations, and higher education. As participants in the Consortium for Public Education’s Student Sustainability Design Challenge (See Photos) these student ambassadors will channel what they’ve learned at the EIC to tackle sustainability issues that they see in their own local communities.

From keynote speakers to small group discussions, professionals shared a wide range of sustainability initiatives, as well as their own education and career pathways, providing students with both inspiration and a roadmap to future careers in sustainability.

“On behalf of Pittsburgh Gateways, the re-developer and owner of the Energy Innovation Center, we could not have been more pleased to welcome back the Student Sustainability Design Challenge. Now more than ever, it is imperative that we ‘walk the talk’, and this initiative provides our sustainability-minded business and community partners with an opportunity to show-and-tell what Western PA is doing in a sustainable way,” said Don Evans, President and CEO of Pittsburgh Gateways Corporation.

Evans added, “The unique approach the Consortium for Public Education has crafted provides the students with a compelling career path in sustainability: college-aged students and sustainability professionals serve as role models and guides along the way.”

Indeed, October 25th marked just the beginning; throughout the school year, business and community partners will continue to support school teams by hosting visits at their facilities and campuses, offering a first-hand look at sustainable practices in action. In addition, some partners have opted to highlight sustainability career opportunities by recording videos for the Consortium’s Career Journeys video library. And, as students work through their local challenges, partners will act as experts and guides providing feedback on students’ ideas, and ultimately participating in a final presentation day on March 7, 2024. The SSDC was made possible thanks to generous support from the following sponsors(* also Program Partners):
  • Covestro LLC
  • *Elliott Group
  • *Koppers
  • *PPG
  • S&B USA
  • USA eMobility
  • UPMC
  • UPMC Health Plan
Program Partners included:
  • Allegheny Land Trust
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Chatham University
  • DMI Companies, Inc
  • Duquesne University
  • Penn State
  • Phipps
  • PPG
  • Saint Vincent College
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • UDA
[This article is adapted from a Consortium for Public Education news release with photos by Norton Gusky, CC BY 3.0]