300 students talking about climate change in UNIV 102
38% reduction in on-campus emissions since 2007 baseline levels
>300 practitioners, thought leaders and policymakers who attended the Winds of Change symposium convened at Duke in March 2023
$2.4M in seed funds awarded through University Collaboration Grants, Climate and Health Data Expeditions, and Climate Research Innovation Seed Program
We seek to educate and empower a climate-and sustainability-fluent campus community and alumni network that understands anthropogenic climate change and its origins and is well-equipped to address it by innovating and implementing creative, scientifically-informed, just and responsible solutions; create an immersive, interdisciplinary educational ecosystem for learning about climate and sustainability in and out of the classroom.
Climate and sustainability learning will be infused across the entire university, enabling Duke students of all disciplines, majors and programs to connect in support of working together to solve the sweeping challenges of the future.
Launched in Fall 2022 with support from a $5 million Duke Endowment gift, Let’s Talk About Climate Change brings together 10 Climate Change Faculty Fellows, 14 graduate and professional student discussion leaders and 150 undergraduate students.
This center provides students with a deep dive into tradeoffs between corporate profit and sustainable outcomes, strategies for startups in climate tech and climate-friendly private investment opportunities.
A joint effort of the Nicholas School of the Environment and the Pratt School of Engineering, Design Climate guides multidisciplinary student teams through the three phases of innovation to tackle client-identified issues over two semesters.
The Fellows Program infuses climate and sustainability topics across a broad range of courses by working with 12 Duke faculty fellows from across seven of Duke’s 10 schools.
First-year students engaged in a week of solutions-based sustainability and climate change programming, sponsored by Sustainable Duke.
The SCALe program will engage students, staff, faculty and community partners in hands-on educational experiences.
Climate+ offers students an opportunity to engage with climate, environment and energy researchers and practitioners over a ten-week summer research experience.
The Duke Forever Learning Institute, operated through the Office of Alumni Engagement and Development (AED), introduced alumni to climate-related topics across a variety of sectors.
Duke Continuing Studies and Duke in DC launched the Duke in DC Climate and Sustainability Summer Institute, gathering five Duke faculty members, one graduate student teaching assistant and 13 early- to mid-career policy professionals for a two-week, non-credit certificate course.
Eighteen faculty, staff and students participated in a Climate Fresk facilitator training in early 2023, and by Fall, more than 400 members of the Duke community had participated in collaborative, three-hour climate change workshops.
The Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability established a senior career specialist position, funded and managed in partnership with the Duke Career Center, to provide one-on-one and group career advising for students.
We want to conduct and support interdisciplinary research to develop and deploy just and equitable climate solutions through the Commitment’s four research thematic focal areas (energy transformation, climate and community resilience, data-driven climate solutions, and environmental and climate justice), building a connective architecture that moves climate and sustainability research from ideation to reality.
These internal grants, administered by the Nicholas Institute, were the first in a series of opportunities for Duke scholars to convene new collaborative research teams around climate-related challenges.
Duke’s first data-driven Climate Expedition gathered researchers from across the university to focus on existing and emerging challenges posed to human health by climate change.
This Nicholas Institute seed grant program accelerates ongoing climate research across Duke by offering eligible faculty and research staff a total of $600,000 in funding.
We will implement sustainable strategies and infrastructure in campus operations, so that the physical footprint of Duke University reflects climate-forward practices.
Since Duke President Richard Brodhead signed the American Colleges and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment in 2007, Duke has discontinued the use of coal on campus and increased building and utility plant efficiency, despite continued campus growth. We expect to reach the goal of carbon neutrality next year, as promised.
Energy use is the largest source of Duke’s greenhouse gas emissions. We continue to work on reducing Duke’s greenhouse gas footprint at both whole-campus and individual-building scales.
Transportation emissions, including employee commuting, the campus vehicle fleet and work-related air travel, represent another large proportion of Duke’s greenhouse gas footprint. More work is needed on mitigating these impacts while providing safe, accessible options for mobility to and around campus.
Since the first Climate Action Plan in 2009, Duke has focused on optimizing cost and quality of the offsets necessary to reach carbon neutrality in 2024 and beyond.
This academic year, Duke’s Campus Sustainability Committee (CSC) updated Duke’s Environmentally Preferred Purchasing (EPP) guidelines to maximize the value and effectiveness of an aligned supply chain model that is used by the University and Health System.
Consultants are performing a feasibility study of University Environmental Service’s (UEVS) waste diversion and recycling programs, infrastructure and staffing.
We engage with decision-makers and practitioners outside the University, advancing our capacity to serve as an honest broker and convenor to bring parties together to tackle challenging problems.
Building on momentum from recent federal legislation, Energy Pathways USA is a group convened by the Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability and the Fuqua Energy, Development and the Global Environment Center (EDGE) that brings together private-sector partners and thought leaders to accelerate progress toward net-zero carbon emissions in the U.S. by mid-century.
A March 2023 symposium at Duke focused on opportunities and challenges associated with offshore wind power generation on the US Atlantic Coast. It featured remarks by Duke University President Vincent Price and North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper.
Duke has partnered with Stony Brook University and other public and private entities to establish the New York Climate Exchange, a first-of-its-kind regional center for climate education, research and outreach, housed on Governors Island in New York Harbor.
The Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability launched a first-of-its-kind program in the United States to address the effects of extreme heat on human health and well-being. It brings together Duke scholars, government agencies, communities and other stakeholders to develop and deploy heat policy solutions that could ultimately save lives.
Duke experts gathered with climate leaders from around the world for New York Climate Week in September 2023 to discuss needs and next steps for bold climate action.
The Climate Commitment will build community connections in cooperation with the Duke Office of Durham and Community Affairs. We seek to respectfully and responsibly co-create solutions to meet our community‘s needs. With Abdullah Antepli, Duke’s associate vice president and vice provost for Community-Engaged Research and Teaching, the Office of Climate and Sustainability will advance capacity-building for climate and sustainability work in the Durham and Triangle communities.
Highlighted planned programs, projects, and activities for the 2023-24 academic year
The Office of Climate and Sustainability is collaborating with the Program Evaluation and Education Research (PEER) group at the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at North Carolina State University to develop a framework for evaluating Duke students’ climate and sustainability fluency across an array of disciplines and schools.
Staff from Sustainable Duke, the Office of Climate and Sustainability and the Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability have been working with the Trinity Curriculum Development Committee to align climate and sustainability needs with the Trinity undergraduate curriculum.
Staff from the Duke Learning Innovation, the Nicholas School of the Environment and the Office of Climate and Sustainability are exploring ways to share Duke’s climate and sustainability courses as online educational opportunities.
Throughout the 2023-24 academic year, the Office of Climate and Sustainability is hosting a nine-session seminar series for faculty, staff and students to discuss long-term investing by mission-based institutions such as ours.
In November 2023, a delegation of Duke faculty, staff and leadership will travel to Duke Kunshan University to engage in educational and research diplomacy at the Duke International Forum.
Looking for more?
Download the full report for all the details on the activities of the Duke Climate Commitment over the past year and sign up to receive emails from the Climate Commitment for for updates.
Explore more highlighted programs and events, beyond those stemming from the initial $36M gifts, that reflect the progress of the Duke Climate Commitment during the 2022-23 academic year to launch.
- Casting Your Ballot for Environmental Justice, September 8, 2022
- Recalling Warren County panel discussion, September 14, 2022
- Environmental Justice: Past, Present, and Future keynotes address, September 15, 2022
- Warren County Commemorative March, September 17, 2022
- Environmental Justice and the Latinx Community, September 29, 2022
- The Roots, Experiences, and Future of Climate Justice panel discussion, September 30, 2022
- Energy Week at Duke University, November 7-10, 2022
- “Spirit in the Land” exhibit at the Nasher Museum of Art, February 16-July 9, 2023
- Sustainable Business and Social Impact Conference, February 22, 2023
- ClimateCAP: The Global MBA Summit on Climate, Capital & Business, February 24-25, 2023
- Duke Women’s Weekend panel discussion on Climate and Women’s Health, March 2, 2023
- Blue Economy Summit, March 3-4, 2023
- Women in Energy 2023, March 22, 2023
- A Green Future Isn’t Green for Everyone, March 23, 2023
- Enviro-Art Gallery 2023, April 1, 2023
- Environmental Justice Storytelling for Impact, April 4, 2023
- Climate Justice & Indigenous Knowledge, April 6, 2023
- Earth and Policy Summit, April 13, 2023
- Watertowns Environmental Film Festival, April 14-15, 2023
- The Smell of Money film screening, April 20, 2023
- Plastic Earth film screening, April 20, 2023
- EarthFest 2023: Accessibility and Sustainability, April 21, 2023
- Histories and Society in the Hydrosphere workshop, April 28-30, 2023
- Climate Change and Immune Health symposium, June 5, 2023
- Climate Change, Decolonization, and Global Blackness Lab at the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute, ongoing throughout AY 2022-23
- Ways and Means podcast season 8, ongoing throughout AY 2022-23
- Policy360 podcast episodes 140-143, ongoing throughout AY 2022-23
- Conference on Climate Chance and Migration, April 21, 2023
- Blue Devil Forest Divers XPRIZE Rainforest semifinalist team, ongoing throughout AY 2022-23
- 12 “Energy & Environment” Bass Connections projects, ongoing throughout AY 2022-23