Sustainability Leadership Academy

Due to COVID-19, we have cancelled the 2020 SLA. Stay tuned for 2021 program dates.

Want to help build a happier, healthier and more equitable future? Interested in a career in sustainability but not sure where to start? Explore topics in sustainability and social justice during an unforgettable week-long experiential retreat at Eden Hall Campus–the world's first academic community built to be sustainable from below the ground up. Open to rising 10th, 11th and 12th graders, as well as students leaving 12th grade, Chatham's Sustainability Leadership Academy provides the chance to:
  • Make like-minded friends from across the country
  • Explore Pittsburgh during excursions to the city's sustainable highlights
  • Dive deeply into the connection between participants’ social identities, social justice and sustainability
  • Develop the leadership skills needed to be a change agent
  • Experience a taste of college life and earn college credit (optional for an additional fee)
  • Participate in hands-on experiential learning with faculty in the field
  • Ask questions and gain mentorship from local leaders in the field

I definitely feel like I know a lot more now and I feel better prepared. I feel I have contacts and people to reach out to to ask questions and be able to be informed to make change. I definitely feel ready to be able to make change in my community.

—SLA Student Testimonial

Request Information

Ready to get to know us a little better? Complete our request for information, and a Chatham admissions counselor will connect with you in the coming days to give you more information and answer any questions you may have.

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Where You Will Live

Eden Hall is Chatham's sustainable college campus and living laboratory, where students explore topics such as sustainable land management, food production and delivery, and energy generation. The campus features renewable energy technologies, high performance green buildings, onsite wastewater treatment, sustainable agriculture farms and gardens, and 200 acres of woodlands with hiking trails. You will live in the Orchard Hall dorm, which is built to achieve LEED Platinum standards, and eat meals with locally and responsibly sourced ingredients at the Esther Barazzone Center (EBC) dining hall.

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What You Will Learn

Leaders in sustainability fields design green communities and buildings, implement next-generation energy and water technologies, support local and just food systems, conserve and protect land, hold companies and governments accountable for carbon emissions, advocate for a socially just systems, like transit and housing, and so much more. Chatham's Falk School of Sustainability faculty and Pittsburgh's leading sustainability professionals will guide you as you explore career options in urban planning, engineering, field biology, ecology, aquaculture, architecture, community organizing, agriculture, sociology, food systems, business and more through interactions with people, systems and the land. Solving wicked and systemic problems also involves a deep understanding of history, varied experiences and a sense of self related to social identities. To this end, we will engage in Intergroup Dialogue as we explore the current socio-political interconnections between social justice issues and topics in environmental sustainability.

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Cost, Credit, & Scholarships

The program costs $1,250 and includes eight nights' overnight accommodation, meals, admission to city attractions, professional mentoring, Chatham swag (including a t-shirt), and transportation for field trips. This program can also be taken as a 3 credit undergraduate course for an additional optional $810. Please note that the schedule is tentative and subject to change. $150 deposit due upon registration. Balance due by June 30, 2020. Need based scholarships are available.

Credit & Scholarships

Rachel Carson Healthy Planet Award

Named for Chatham's most famous alumna, environmental icon Rachel Carson ’29, the Rachel Carson Healthy Planet Award is awarded to deserving students nominated from high schools nationally and internationally who embody the spirit of Rachel Carson in their dedication to sustainability and community development. Winners receive a discounted price to SLA.

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Additional Information

Stay informed on about travel, transportation, and other requirements.

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Contact Us

For any questions, please email Kelly Henderson, Sustainability Leadership Academy Director, or call 412-365-2416.

A Look Inside the Sustainability Leadership Academy

By Friday, the 18 high school students participating in this year’s Sustainability Leadership Academy (SLA) have been together for five days, and they've clearly formed a tightly knit group. They chat and joke as they file into the conference room. Because the past week has been a curated whirlwind.

What Students Are Saying

"I feel like it's really easy and kind of realistic now to make change. So many people say 'I want to make change' and don't know how, but now I know how. So that's really cool. I also used to feel like the odd ball out, but now I feel a sense of purpose and community, which is really cool. And comforting."—SLA Student Testimonial