Sustainability @ UNC advances the triple bottom line of environmental quality, economic vitality, and societal well-being. The goal is to catalyze the development and implementation of sustainable policies, practices, curricula, and behaviors for all members of the University community.


Organized efforts to institutionalize sustainability at UNC began in 1999, as two converging factors led to the formation of the Sustainability Coalition. Executive Order 156 from then-governor Jim Hunt called on all state agencies to adopt more sustainable practices. Simultaneously, students requested that the university community become more proactive on environmental issues. After two years of volunteer efforts, the university became the first in the state to hire a full-time Sustainability Coordinator. Cynthia Pollock Shea, LEED Accredited Professional, was hired in 2001 and in 2003 the department grew to include an Energy Conservation Manager and administrative assistant. Sustainability @ UNC is currently involved in a number of initiatives, including the development and implementation of a Sustainability Plan, as well as ongoing efforts to engage and educate the campus community.

Departmental Association

Sustainability @ UNC is part of UNC’s Finance and Administration Division. The Sustainability Advisory Committee is sponsored by the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost and the Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration.


Cindy Shea, Director

Cindy SheaCindy launched the Sustainability Office in April 2001. She has researched, analyzed, written about, and communicated sustainability themes at international research institutes (Worldwatch and the International Institute for Sustainable Development) and worked as a foreign correspondent, web scribe, and community organizer. She holds degrees in Economics, International Relations, and Environmental Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is a LEED AP.


Jennifer Craft, Sustainability Intern

Jennifer CraftJennifer started interning at the Sustainability Office in the summer of 2016. She is an Environmental Studies and Political Science major with a minor in Public Policy and is particularly interested in how environmental policy shapes our lives. Jennifer enjoys running long distances, being outdoors, and volunteering at Northside Elementary School. Recycling and eating local foods are some of her favorite ways to practice sustainability.

Stephen Lapp, Sustainability Intern

Jonathan NgStephen started interning at the Sustainability Office during the fall semester of 2016. He is an Environmental Studies major with a minor in City and Regional Planning. He enjoys playing soccer, being outdoors, and spending time at the beach in his home town. Stephen practices sustainability by being vegan, biking to class, and keeping his reusable bag near him at all times.

Emily Hightower, EcoReps Coordinator

Emily HightowerEmily has been an EcoRep since the fall of 2015 and is double majoring in Biology and Economics. When she is not working with EcoReps, she volunteers with TABLE and works in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. She enjoys studying the implementation of sustainable policies and her green tip is to conserve energy by washing your clothes in cold water.