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The decision to create a new school focused on climate and sustainability arose out of ideas proposed by faculty, students, staff, and alumni and evolved through several years of planning. 

Our vision identity

2017-18 academic year
Stanford began planning the future direction of the university by requesting proposals from faculty, students, postdocs, staff, and alumni. This resulted in more than 2,800 proposals, of which more than 200 focused on sustainability research and innovation, and on campus sustainability efforts. Those proposals are the foundation for Stanford's Long-Range Vision.

An Area Steering Group reviewed the sustainability proposals and summarized their findings in a white paper.

2018-19 academic year
Based on the Steering Group’s work, a Design Team led by Scott Fendorf and Lynn Hildemann was charged with considering how the university could best address climate and sustainability challenges. They prepared a report (SUNetID required) detailing their recommendations.


Winter 2020
Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne tasked a committee led by Noah Diffenbaugh and Arun Majumdar with exploring new ways of organizing and connecting the many people working on sustainability issues broadly distributed across the campus to achieve the design team’s sweeping ambition.

The prepared a report (read the executive summary, SUNetID required) detailing options for how the university could reorganize for greater impact.

May 2020
Based on the structural committee’s work, Tessier-Lavigne identified a school focused on climate and sustainability as the best way to elevate Stanford’s contributions toward a more sustainable future.

He also asked Kathryn "Kam" Moler, Vice Provost and Dean of Research, to lead the effort to develop the school assisted by Stephan Graham, Dean of the School of Earth, Energy, and Environmental Science. 

Fall 2020
A 30-member Blueprint Advisory Committee — composed of faculty from all seven schools, five policy institutes, and SLAC — began meeting to design the school.

Their recommendations include the areas of research that should be in the school, education programs, and ways the school can accelerate impact through external engagement.  

Summer 2021
The Blueprint Advisory Committee submitted a draft report to the president and provost with options and recommendations for the structure of the new school. In addition, a nine member student group that had conducted meetings, town halls, and a student Deliberative Polling event, released a report detailing their vision for the school.

Fall 2021 through spring 2022
Workstream leads developed a framework for aspects of the school including diversity, equity, and inclusion; education; institutes and themed initiatives; the accelerator; and faculty roles and responsibilities.