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A terrace outside Evans Hall
Photo: Tony Rinaldo

Yale SOM Announces New Sustainability Action Plan, Steered by Students

Yale SOM’s newly published Sustainability Action Plan 2030 (SAP) will guide the school’s growth and development and its environmental impact goals. Watch for solar panels, reduced waste, and increased awareness of energy use in Evans Hall.

The Yale School of Management’s longstanding commitment to sustainability is now codified, thanks to a student committee working in collaboration with school administrators who have produced the new Sustainability Action Plan 2030 (SAP).

The plan will guide the school’s growth and development and calls for meaningful steps such as installing solar panels on the roof of Edward P. Evans Hall and implementing new energy audits. Drafted by the Yale SOM Student Government’s Sustainability Committee, the plan aligns with the overarching Yale University Sustainability Plan 2025.

“The focus is on Evans Hall and how we can encourage students, staff, and faculty to be more focused on sustainability and the impact that we, as a community, are having,” said Katya Wendt ’25, a joint-degree student at Yale SOM and the Yale School of the Environment (YSE). Wendt and Lauren D’Souza ’26, also a joint-degree student at YSE, are the current co-chairs of the Sustainability Committee. 

The new plan represents the culmination of a student initiative, launched by Jackie Ruggiero ’21, to document Yale SOM’s sustainability practices and goals. The initiative was put on hold during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it got a big boost last year when Student Government created two official sustainability chair positions to guide the work of the committee, and Joshua Brown ’23, who served as the initial second-year sustainability chair; Rachel Warne ’23, a member of the committee, and Wendt worked to develop a formal plan. Brown and Warne, Wendt said, “were vital to making sure Jackie’s work was carried forward.”

The Dean’s Office approved the current plan earlier this year.

“The plan now is quite comprehensive, and it complements existing sustainability action plans adopted by Yale’s other graduate and professional schools,” D’Souza said. 

Yale SOM has had a longtime focus on sustainability. Edward P. Evans Hall, which opened in 2014, was designed and built to minimize its environmental impact. The building has received a Gold rating under the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program.

But efforts to make practices within the building more sustainable have been ongoing. “The new plan builds on previous work and is now basically a legacy document that can carry on through the generations,” said Pete Koerner, managing director of facilities and operations.

The plan identifies nine areas of focus under which the school’s sustainability goals are organized: built environment, climate action, mobility, leadership, empowerment, health and well-being, stewardship, materials, and technologies.

The committee prioritized built environment, climate action, and mobility because they hold the greatest opportunities to make meaningful environmental impacts by 2030. Within these areas, three projects are being fast-tracked: installation of solar panels on Evans Hall; reducing the flow of waste—food and material—that the building produces; and incorporating additional content on sustainability into the MBA core curriculum.

“I’m really proud of the work that has been put into this plan,” Koerner said. “It’s a very good representation of the school’s values and priorities in sustainability.”

Perhaps most importantly, said D’Souza, the plan includes steps to ensure its ongoing impact. “We’ve created a plan that grounds the Sustainability Committee’s efforts and helps us measure impact,” D’Souza said. “And we’re going to be able to hand it off to the student leaders who come after us.”

Read the Sustainability Action Plan 2030.