Sustainability Distinction

The primary goals of the Sustainability Distinction are to provide students with a mechanism to gain recognition and “credit” for their outside-the-classroom endeavors and broaden the number of undergraduate students participating in sustainability activities throughout campus.

Students in cap and gown in front of the cathedral of learning



High-Impact Activities (Minimum of Three Activities)

These activities should enrich the student’s academic pursuits and provide opportunities to apply knowledge and skills to pressing social and environmental challenges. Examples of such activities include:

All High Impact Activities must be verified by a supervisor or advisor on this form.

Exploration (OCC Sustainability Badge)

These undertakings should broaden a student’s personal development through outside-the-classroom (OCC) experiences aimed at expanding sustainability knowledge, skills and networks. The OCC Sustainability badge provides credit for the following types of activities (among others):


Students should reflect upon and share how classes, activities, and experiences collectively contributed to their overall personal and professional development. Students should provide examples of how these experiences enabled them to apply academic knowledge and skills to important sustainability issues. The reflection essay is meant to enhance your personal understanding of sustainability within these experiences and how they impact your professional development. The reflection can be a useful tool in the future to help articulate and demonstrate your commitment to sustainability.

In 2,000 words, please respond to the following prompts:

The essay must include a header, be double-spaced, and use 12-point font. It must be uploaded as a Word document or PDF file. Students must submit their High Impact Activities and Reflection essay here. You do not have to submit everything at once. You will select which documents to submit when you open the form. 


Students interested in completing the Sustainability Distinction will declare their intention to pursue by completing the Sustainability Distinction Declaration. Students will be able to use the Suitable OCC dashboard to self-track their progress of the Sustainability Badge. Some activities may require prior approval for credit. Students can apply for the distinction at any time; however, the deadline to submit the intention to pursue the distinction will be the end of the add/drop period of the semester prior to the semester in which they will graduate.

1. Log into your OCC profile using your Pitt credentials. 
2. Search in the activities tab: Sustainability Distinction Declaration.
3. Complete the online form.


Please contact Ellie Cadden ( if you have any questions about the Distinction.


Zachary Delaney - Sustainability distinction alumni profile


Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation
University of Pittsburgh
Swanson School of Engineering
153 Benedum Hall
Pittsburgh, PA 15261


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