Building a more sustainable and resilient future for all
The Sustainability Institute integrates, supports and leads sustainability across the university to:
• Promote sustainability and resilience teaching and learning • Catalyze interdisciplinary research that drives discovery and innovation • Engage public and private sector partners to develop and apply sustainable solutions • Integrate sustainability scholarship with campus activities to engage students in research and experiential learning • Provide a competitive advantage in attracting exceptional new talent, students, partnerships and resources
Click here to learn what Ohio State faculty, staff and students are doing to advance the mission of Earth Day 2020.
The Sustainability Institute at Ohio State
Today, our planet’s life support systems are rapidly transforming. The ecosystems that sustain us are fluctuating, due to continued population growth, resource consumption, environmental degradation and climate change.
As a society, we stand at a crossroads between a sustainable and resilient future and one that leaves future generations to deal with unprecedented environmental change, resource scarcities and growing social inequities.
At Ohio State, we are poised to make lasting contributions to solving many of the world’s most complex and pervasive challenges. Our interdisciplinary research capacity, culture of problem solving and strategic partnerships with private industry, public agencies and non-governmental organizations offer countless opportunities to create transformational change in Ohio and around the world.
The time to act is now.
About The Sustainability Institute
Ohio State is a comprehensive land-grant research university with hundreds of faculty in sustainability, thousands of passionate students, an enduring land-grant mission, and a strong commitment to sustainability in its campus operations. We are dedicated to leveraging our research and knowledge to enable more sustainable and resilient communities in Ohio, our nation and the global community.
Over 600 faculty and research scientists are engaged in sustainability research; we teach more than 1,000 courses that support sustainability learning; and we are engaged in Ohio communities and around the world to improve social, economic and environmental conditions.
SustainNews: Stories about sustainability initiatives undertaken by the university in research, student engagement, campus sustainability and collaborations with the public and private sector
June 09, 2020
June 09, 2020
9:00am - 5:00pm
Webinar: Forecast for Harmful Algal Blooms in Lake...
June 12, 2020
June 12, 2020
12:00pm - 1:00pm
Economic Impact of COVID-19 on Communities
Passion turned Career: Ohio State Graduates Excel in Sustainability Studies
May 01, 2020
By: Meredith Oglesby
Environment, Economy, Development and Sustainability (EEDS)
While enrolled in a high school Advanced Placement environmental science course, Sarah Gabel, a graduating senior in EEDS, was inspired by the passion and dedication her teacher, Mr. Reding, had for the environment and sustainability.
“I gained a deep appreciation for the environment and the drive to follow a path towards furthering my education in sustainability,” Gabel says.
Once at Ohio State, Gabel became a member of the Students Understanding Sustainability and Taking Action to Improve Nature and Society (SUSTAINS) learning community where she met others who had an interest in sustainability. She worked with fellow members to create and implement a residential dorm composting pilot for the university.
“Being a student at Ohio State makes you feel like you are part of something bigger,” Gabel says. “Especially in the realm of sustainability, I loved connecting with staff and students across the university who had similar passions and were enacting meaningful change.”
Gabel served as a student voice on Ohio State’s 40% Local and/or Sustainable Food Panel, which helped to make decisions for how the university would achieve 40% local and/or sustainable food choices on campus by 2025.
Gabel also participated in the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) Sustainability and Agricultural Policy in the European Union education abroad. She joined the CFAES Voyagers Education Abroad Club and was a member of the Cultivating Change student organization. She also worked as the summer park intern at the Licking County Park District in 2017 and as the Wrangler science and conservation intern at Kontoor Brands in 2019.
Gabel intertwined her interest in sustainability to her senior capstone project where she detailed a proposal for new Ohio State green building standards. Her goal, once graduated, is to have a career working with companies to transform their platforms and processes into sustainable systems.
“In this field, it is easy to get lost in the daunting world of climate change, but seeing the research and projects blooming at Ohio State inspires me and many others to keep pushing forward,” Gabel says.
Benjamin Luce, a graduating senior in civil engineering, knew what sustainability was while in high school, but it wasn’t until he became a member of the SUSTAINS learning community that he truly understood all that sustainability encompasses.
Events and speakers through Students Understanding Sustainability and Taking Action to Improve Nature and Society (SUSTAINS) encouraged Luce to think about how sustainability can be integrated into business and engineering and how to live a sustainable lifestyle.
“It gave me a better understanding of how I can actually make a better, bigger, more fundamental difference,” Luce says. “I expanded my view of sustainability as a whole and I became interested in the more practical side of what I could do with my career.”
Luce found ways to incorporate sustainability into his studies and research projects as a research assistant through the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geodetic Engineering. Luce worked on projects focusing on resistant and resilient infrastructure, which looks at what happens to power systems when a storm hits. He worked to try to optimize these power systems to reduce material usage and increase the reliability if something fails.
In addition, he worked on a versatile structures project where he was able to find multiple uses for an object. “To me, one of the main goals of sustainability is finding multiple different purposes for different things,” Luce says. One example is looking at how an object may focus on water management, but it may also serve as emergency response relief.
Luce was active on campus in the Chi Epsilon - Civil Engineering Honor Society and Tau Beta Pi - Engineering Honorary. He will also graduate summa cum laude with honors research distinction.
In the fall, Luce will be starting a PhD program in civil engineering at the University of Stanford.
“I plan to stay invested in sustainable practices and focus on topics that inspire me, such as sustainability,” Luce says. “And I will use everything that I've learned now and will learn in the future to guide my research during graduate school and beyond.”
Environment, Economy, Development and Sustainability (EEDS)
Lauren Trapani, a graduating senior in EEDS, has the desire to make a positive difference in the world through environmental sustainability practices, which will allow future generations to enjoy life as we know it now.
“In high school I was taking environmental science and AP economics at the same time and I had this epiphany that those two subjects belong together,” Trapani says. She also found herself thinking about how the planet does not have infinite resources, so she wondered how organizations are using resources from the Earth in a sustainable way.
These thoughts and interests led her to Ohio State, where she decided to major in EEDS on the business track.
Trapani went on to have three internships building upon her interests of sustainability and business, which included a sustainability and public affairs internship with L.L. Bean located in Freeport, Maine; a year-long position in corporate social responsibility with Veta Brands in Columbus, Ohio; and a farm internship position with Procter Center Farm in London, Ohio.
She was also a four-year member of Net Impact where she held leadership positions as Vice President of National Programming, Vice President of Education and served as the Carbon Accounting Program Lead. Trapani plans to join a professional chapter of Net Impact to stay involved in the organization after graduation.
Trapani was also involved in the Dunn Sport and Wellness Scholars group, conducted undergraduate research focused on ecotourism and stayed active through intramural soccer and volleyball. She was recognized as a Rank II Newcomb Scholar in 2018 and was recently recognized as one of the 2020 CFAES Distinguished Seniors.
“As a piece of advice to other students, I would recommend taking as many leadership positions as you can and go the extra mile,” Trapani says. For her, the limitless opportunities at Ohio State and involvement in student organizations made all the difference when making decisions about a future career.
Trapani plans to find a career in the energy sector or corporate sustainability. She is hoping to find a career focused on her interests in energy efficiency, smart meters and renewable energy. In the future, Trapani plans to pursue a Master of Business Administration degree.
Meredith Oglesby is a communication assistant at the Sustainability Institute.