Led by:

Chad King, University Sustainability Coordinator

Mike Keables, Associate Professor, Geography and the Environment

Denver and the Rocky Mountain West face many sustainability challenges in the present and near future.  These include increased traffic congestion, a loss of local farms, city growth and gentrification and challenges to the region’s water supply. But Denver also benefits from many opportunities that signal a more sustainable future. Our city has the 13th highest share of bike commuters among metropolitan centers, is focusing more on mobility options with billions of dollars of investment in light and commuter rail lines, and is attracting entrepreneurs and Millennials bringing energy for sustainable solutions. These challenges and opportunities place DU in a unique position to engage in these issues, focusing research, teaching and experiential learning on our campus and community sustainability practices. 


Working Groups

Sustainable DU

Our group has identified five major initiatives—in transportation, green space, energy, food sourcing and curriculum—to incorporate sustainable practices in the University and bridge to opportunities in the broader Denver community. First, we have investigated sustainable transportation options as part of our Transportation Master Plan, and are in the final stages of launching a pilot project with Lyft ride sharing service to provide discounted fares for shared rides for community members within one mile of the University of Denver light rail station. Second, we have submitted a pilot project to the administration for consideration that would recruit a cluster of DU faculty to explore how interdisciplinary research, teaching and learning would enhance the Metro Denver Nature Alliance’s efforts. Partnering with CCESL’s Community Engaged Fellows program, this project has started to explore interest in the topic.  Twenty-eight people came together at the first meeting to learn more about the Metro DNA and hear about additional sources of support to undertake projects in partnership with the alliance. Individuals from a wide range of university disciplines attended the meeting including: business, chemistry, biology, geography, psychology, social work, anthropology, education, and law. Of the attendees, 21 were faculty members from 9 academic divisions, 3 staff members (CCESL, Sustainability, Honors) and 3 graduate students.

We have also identified and implemented programs that increase energy efficiency and reduce our carbon footprint, including a potential pilot project to partner with a local solar company to develop and participate in a community solar farm. We are working to promote purchases from local and regional sources in the University’s food procurement process. Finally, we are beginning conversations about developing and supporting interdisciplinary sustainability curriculum at the graduate and undergraduate level. We plan to work with a number of other clusters with overlapping goals to further this conversation.


Ben Gerig

Program Developer, Daniels College of Business

Dale Rothman

Associate Professor, Josef Korbel School of International Studies

Fred Cheever

Professor, Sturm College of Law

Hillary Hamann

Teaching Associate Professor, Geography and the Environment

Julie Morris

Teaching Assistant Professor, Biological Sciences

Megan Kelly

Teaching Associate Professor, Writing Program

Sue Lutz

Assistant Vice Chancellor of Enterprise Services

Susan Daggett

Lecturer and Executive Director, Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute and Assistant Professor of the Practice, Sturm College of Law

Tom McGee

Energy Engineer