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Stanford University Is Launching a New Sustainability School

The Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability will foster a climate-minded future for incoming students and the planet.

Written by
Angelica Pizza

Stanford University is launching a new school in September 2022, but it's not just any school. It's a school of sustainability, which aims to tackle global climate issues and foster a sustainable future.

According to the university, the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability is made possible through contributions from venture capitalist John Doerr and his wife, Ann. The pair donated $1.1 billion. Combined with gifts from other investors, the new school received $1.69 billion.

The climate school is Stanford's first new school in 70 years. And according to a recent news release from the university, the school will offer "eight areas of scholarship." The list includes climate change, Earth and planetary sciences, sustainable cities, the natural environment, and more.

Each area, in collaboration with the university's other professional schools, will help generate solutions to climate challenges and mitigate the impact of climate change.

In a letter from Stanford's president Marc Tessier-Lavigne, he expresses his enthusiasm for the new school and gratitude to those who made it possible. And he names Arun Majumdar, the Jay Precourt Professor, professor of mechanical engineering, and former co-director of the Precourt Institute for Energy, as the school's inaugural dean.

Tessier-Lavigne says the school has "ambitious plans" and represents Stanford's commitment to finding climate solutions.

"The new school will build fundamental knowledge of the Earth and its systems, accelerate the development of solutions to the climate crisis at the scale that is needed, and educate tomorrow’s problem solvers and [change-makers] in this urgent area," Tessier-Lavigne says in his letter.

Like most schools at colleges and universities across the U.S., the Doerr School of Sustainability contains academic departments and interdisciplinary institutes. However, there's one more part to the structure that makes this new school stand out: a sustainability accelerator that helps "advance high-potential technologies."

Additionally, the university says the use of the word "sustainability" in the school's name represents urgency. There is a need for scholarship and solutions when it comes to fostering the planet's sustainable future. And Stanford is ready to educate new generations of leaders in the sustainability space.

Stanford's Commitment to Sustainability

The Doerr School for Sustainability isn't Stanford's first major effort to put the planet first. The campus has a long-standing commitment to solving climate issues. Stanford is dedicated to reducing waste and emissions in an effort to become a "living lab for sustainability solutions."

In March 2022, Stanford achieved its goal of transitioning to 100% renewable electricity, bringing the university a step closer to reaching net-zero carbon emissions on campus.

Additionally, Stanford University has goals to be an entirely waste-free campus by 2030. And in 2020, the university diverted about 67% of waste from getting landfilled through recycling and composting services.

With the opening of the Doerr School of Sustainability, we're hoping to see other colleges and universities take action to create a more sustainable future.