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In the 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 wrote in a white paper (SUNetID required), “It is clear from the proposals submitted that a broad community of faculty, staff, and students from diverse sectors of campus are committed to devoting their intellectual and professional energy to addressing this challenge at multiple scales through a wide variety of research, teaching, and operational endeavors.”

Based on the Steering Group’s work, a Design Team met during the 2018-19 academic year to consider how the university could best address climate and sustainability challenges, and prepared a report (SUNetID required) detailing their recommendations.

During the winter of 2020, Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne tasked a committee 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. Based on that committee’s report (read the executive summary, SUNetID required), Tessier-Lavigne identified a school focused on climate and sustainability as the best way to elevate Stanford’s contributions toward a more sustainable future.

The process of designing a school that elevates Stanford's existing expertise in research, teaching, policy, partnership, and interdisciplinary collaboration is ongoing. Read more about the school's status.