Virtual Sustainability Summit to Focus on Environment, Equity and Policy

The Feb. 11 virtual summit will reflect on 2020 and look at the challenges ahead to innovate and create a sustainable future.

Jose Andres
José Andrés will speak at the virtual Sustainability Summit on Feb. 11. (William Atkins/GW Today)
February 08, 2021

By Briahnna Brown

As the world is adjusting to the pandemic as best as possible, longer-term issues such as sustainability--with equity as the central issue—have continued to be a focus, said Meghan Chapple, director of the George Washington University Office of Sustainability.

Sustainable GW originally planned to hold an in-person summit in April 2020 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, Ms. Chapple said, but the world rapidly changed because of the pandemic. Now, Sustainable GW will hold a virtual summit from noon to 6 p.m. Thursday that aims to celebrate the sustainability accomplishments GW has made while also looking at the challenges that lie ahead and what the university can contribute through technological and policy solutions. You need to register to participate.

“Because GW’s strengths lie at the intersection of science, arts, health and policy, and since our campus community tends to focus on what we do in D.C., this event takes shape around themes that address policy and our role in the nation's capital,” Ms. Chapple said. “We're highlighting GW’s accomplishments and the change that our GW community members can still help make more broadly in our city, our country and our world.”

The summit will feature interviews with renowned chef, humanitarian and activist José Andrés, as well as with U.S. Rep. Sean Casten (D-Ill.). There will be key remarks from President Thomas LeBlanc, Provost M. Brian Blake and Board of Trustees member Peter Harrison. There also will be multiple panels throughout the day to discuss key sustainability issues such as legacy carbon emissions, community resilience in the face of climate change and energy innovation.

At the end of the summit, there will be a networking event that gives attendees an opportunity to connect with people who have had successful careers in sustainability while also making a positive impact in the world. Attendees will receive a copy of the book, “All We Can Save.”

Ms. Chapple said that she hopes that throughout the summit attendees will gain insights on how to rebuild our economy in a just and sustainable way and the role they can play as future thought leaders and change agents.

“This is about giving people the knowledge and the tools to get a different perspective on long-term issues we face as people on this planet,” Ms. Chapple said. “It’s about getting further insight and knowledge to inspire and equip us as we make the world a better place through each of our own actions.”

University News


50 Years of Earth Day: Looking to What Sustains Us

April 20, 2020

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, the Office of Sustainability put together a list of 50 actions to care for ourselves, our community and the planet.

GW Continues Its Commitment to Sustainability

September 03, 2019

University sustainability highlights include significant progress in waste diversion and renewable energy projects.