Sustainability at the Core of the MIT Curriculum

By: Nicole Estvanik Taylor, MIT Slice

More sustainability education? That’s not a tough sell to the MIT campus community—at least not in theory, says Sarah Meyers MBA ’12.

“But it’s difficult because it’s change,” she says. “You have to coordinate across different groups of people who may have competing interests. It can be time-consuming, and time often equals money. The question is how to do it.”

Negotiating the “how” of incorporating sustainability into MIT’s curriculum is Meyers’s job as the education program manager for the Environmental Solutions Initiative (ESI), which was created in 2014 to marshal the broad capacity across the Institute to address climate change and other environmental challenges. ESI plays an active role in implementing MIT’s Climate Action Plan, a recently updated map for how the Institute will contribute to global progress toward net-zero carbon emissions while helping humanity adapt to those effects of climate change that cannot be prevented.

Meyers was hired to oversee ESI’s education programs not long after she’d studied at MIT herself, as a grad student rebooting her career after 10 years of teaching math at Boston-area high schools. She became one of the first recipients of the MIT Sloan MBA program’s Sustainability Certificate, which tapped into her connection to nature and the environment, stemming from her outdoorsy California childhood and deepened throughout her adult years as she filled her leisure time with paddle boarding, kayaking, rafting, and hiking.

Like ESI itself, the education programs Meyers now oversees are interdisciplinary. These include a minor in Environment and Sustainability, open to undergrads of all majors, and a series of efforts to infuse sustainability into the curriculum of all MIT departments. Read more at the MIT Slice

By Tamara Raimundi Menghi
Tamara Raimundi Menghi Senior Associate Director, Career Services and Operations