Sustainability Institute

Driven by our collective commitment.
United by global goals for a sustainable future.

As a public land-, sea- and space-grant institution, UNH has been dedicated to the public good for over 150 years. Sustainability, the collective commitment to human dignity for all people and ecological integrity in all places, is fundamental to the public good and is a core UNH value.

UNH is home to the oldest endowed sustainability program in the U.S.  As we look to the future, we will act with courage to build powerful collaborations that can deepen UNH’s commitment to sustainability and enhance our contributions in our communities. 

Our long-time commitment drives us today to bring diverse people and ideas together to make UNH a model sustainable learning community - reaching across and beyond campus to engage state, regional, national, and international partners to advance sustainable solutions, together. 

Our Mission

The Sustainability Institute’s mission is to be a catalyst, convener, and champion of sustainability ideas and actions across and beyond the University of New Hampshire. We foster a culture of sustainability that permeates the civic, professional, and personal lives of members of our community. We embrace the notion of a “sustainable learning community”; a community in which everyone learns, and everyone and everything that we do teaches.

our History 

Our Work

We work together to advance sustainability across UNH and beyond:

  • To encourage and support faculty and staff to advance sustainability in academics, research and operations
  • To serve as the backbone organization for regional sustainability networks
  • To engage students in sustainability through academics, opportunities at the Sustainability Institute, and the programs of the Changemaker Collaborative, our partnership with the Peter T. Paul College of Business & Economics and the Carsey School of Public Policy

Read Our Annual Report

UN's Sustainable Development Goals icon chart

What is Sustainability?

At the UNH, the concept of sustainability is firmly rooted in our 150-year history. We use a community-based approach to learning and a systems approach to solving problems. 

The 1992 Earth Summit was an unprecedented global gathering of heads of state and representatives from more than 170 governments, including the United States. The summit reoriented international development into a more holistic framework that integrated the principles of environmental stewardship, social responsibility, and economic vitality to meet the needs of present and future generations. This approach guided the initial efforts of the Sustainability Institute.

Today, our view of sustainability as a collective commitment to human dignity for all people and ecological integrity in all places is built upon an inter-generational, ethical obligation that holds social justice, collaboration, and inclusive prosperity to be essential to fulfill diverse human potential and preserve the health of the planet upon which we all depend. This manifests as an ethic that compels us to respond to urgent, complex challenges with trans-disciplinary approaches that involve diverse partners, on campus and beyond. 

Sustainability Across UNH

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Student Education
& Engagement

UNH's home for experiential student education and engagement in sustainability is the Changemaker Collaborative, a partnership of the Sustainability Institute, the Peter T. Paul College of Business & Economics and the Carsey School of Public Policy.



Sustainability is woven into everything we do – from how we operate our facilities and travel around the area, to the ways we grow and develop as a sustainable learning community and celebrate champions of sustainability on campus. We support staff and faculty and serve as a resource to advance sustainability in academics, research and operations.

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We cultivate robust connections with community partners and support them through hosted networks. These networks advance systemic sustainable change in New Hampshire, New England and beyond while providing dynamic internship and research opportunities for UNH faculty and students

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Our faculty and staff lead purpose-driven problem solving that addresses deep scientific questions and societal needs in collaboration with partners from across disciplines and sectors, thereby making collaborative scholarship the norm rather than the exception.

Task Forces & Committees

Faculty, staff and students from across campus also serve on critical sustainability-related task forces and committees –collaborating across fields, disciplines and sectors of society, working in creative and often unconventional ways. The Sustainability Task Force is the overarching coordinator, and it ensures that this work is guided by a shared vision. 
Learn more

Sustainability Institute Team

Dr. Tom Kelly

Dr. Tom Kelly

Chief Sustainability Officer, UNH
Executive Director, Sustainability Institute

Founder of the Sustainability Institute in 1997, Dr. Kelly has focused on sustainability as a transformative cultural force, and the creative process of engaging its disruptive and inspirational dynamics in education, research, and practice. He co-edited and authored "The Sustainable Learning Community: One University's Journey to the Future" (2009), in collaboration with more than sixty UNH faculty and staff engaged in collaborative sustainability efforts on and beyond the campus that have established UNH as one of the most innovative sustainability institutions in higher education. Read more

Dr. Fiona Wilson

Dr. Fiona Wilson

Deputy Chief Sustainability Officer, UNH
Director, Sustainability Institute

Dr. Wilson is also an affiliate  Clinical Associate Professor of Social Innovation, Social Entrepreneurship and Sustainability at the Peter T. Paul College of Business & Economics. Fiona  was previously a founder and Executive Director of UNH’s Center for Social Innovation and Enterprise, now the Changemaker Collaborative, which offers sustainability-related high-impact programs steeped in real-world experiential learning, with a mission to inspire, train and support the next generation of leaders with the confidence and competence to drive sustainable change in their careers.
Read more

STARS UNH banner

Professional and Student Staff

While we are in a turbulent time, our team is full of a sense of possibilities for fundamental change.

We believe now is the time to ask the hard questions, work to change outdated models and structures that perpetuate injustice and the climate crisis, and help facilitate new approaches. By developing networks, built on trust, it allows us to feed and follow those possibilities and that can ensure a world that is truly regenerative and equitable.

Meet the team

Sustainable Learning Community Stories

Featuring our work and the work of our sustainable learning community across UNH – learn about the people, programs, events, initiatives and research behind our commitment to sustainability.

Recent Blog Posts

Dr. Katharine Duderstadt collaborates to better understand exposure to industrial air pollution
Dr. Katharine Duderstadt collaborates with Cherokee Concerned Citizens through AGU’s Thriving Earth Exchange to better understand their exposure to in... Learn More
Over 100 UNH students from across all UNH colleges presented their research into a wide variety of sustainability challenges, from local to global. Learn More
Internship Opportunities for Students in NH
Introducing "Semester for Impact," our university's innovative internship program designed to empower students and organizations to make a difference.... Learn More