Sustainable Leadership Academy

July 23-31, 2022

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 Sustainable Leadership Academy provides the chance to:

  • Participate in hands-on experiential learning with Chatham faculty in the field
  • Explore sustainable highlights of Pittsburgh during guided tours
  • Dive deeply into the connection between participants’ social identities, social justice and sustainability
  • Develop the leadership skills needed to be a change agent
  • Meet like-minded friends
  • Relax and recharge in nature, through exercise or with art
  • Experience a taste of college life and earn college credit (optional for an additional fee)
Register Today

My definition of sustainability absolutely changed from before this program. I didn’t really know about the triple bottom line or the social equity aspect of sustainability.

—SLA Student Testimonial

Photo of a group of SLA students posing in a greenhouse on Eden Hall Campus

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.

Request Info : Checkerboard 1 - Request Information
Chatham University's Eden Hall campus amphitheater with rows of built-in shelves sits at the bottom of a hill looking up to a white dairy barn with a solar panel roof.

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.

Explore Eden Hall : Checkerboard 2 - Where You Will Live

What Will I 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 & Environment 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.

View Schedule : Checkerboard 3 - What Will I Learn?
Photo of two SLA students holding plants and smiling


The program costs $1,250 and includes eight nights’ overnight accommodation, meals, professional mentoring, art and outdoor education classes, Chatham swag (including a t-shirt). This program can also be taken as a three-credit undergraduate course for an additional optional fee. Note: The schedule is tentative and subject to change. $150 deposit due upon registration. Balance due by June 15, 2022. Full refunds are available until July 1, 2022. After that date, we are unable to provide refunds. Full and partial need-based scholarships are available.

View Credit & Scholarships : Checkerboard 4 - Cost
Photo of two SLA students posing with racquetball racquets crossed

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.

Learn About the Award : Checkerboard 6 - Rachel Carson Healthy Planet Award
Decorative image reading Contact Us

Contact Us

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

Photo of SLA students in a yoga class

A Look Inside the Sustainable Leadership Academy

By Friday, the 18 high school students participating in this year’s Sustainable 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.

Photo of SLA students posing outside

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