Sarah Fortner’s Hello!

13 January 2023
Sarah Fortner, Director of Sustainability

Hello Carleton! I am excited to begin my work as the Director of the Office of Sustainability! It is an exciting time as we look forward to the next Climate Action Plan on campus. With the geothermal project, Carleton is a recognized leader in carbon mitigation, setting the stage for our next work. More will be coming on this soon, but for now, I wanted to express enthusiasm!

I am also grateful to the Facilities Office, the Center for Civic and Community Engagement (CCCE), and the sustainability assistants (STAS), for welcoming me & sharing all of the success and activities underway. Thank you to all who are reaching out! I am making my way through meeting with many of you on campus! I feel very welcome and inspired by the excitement and energy for sustainability and environmental justice work at Carleton.

A little about me: I come with a strong motor and desire to support climate action and environmental justice. My first experiences with climate change were learning and conducting geochemical research on glaciers. While that work afforded me exciting adventures and discoveries in Antarctica, the tropics, and North America, I found myself increasingly wanting to do more to act on the problem of climate change and social injustice (i.e. the disproportionate impacts experienced in both environmental & social conditions). When I entered my academic career path, I moved from discovery research into applied research and building collaborative networks with students, faculty, and community partners from all backgrounds, engaging for change around common issues. Much of this work was around climate issues and environmental lead pollution. I really care about collaborating to make change.

Now, I am excited about the ways we might identify new ways to collaborate in our next Climate Action Plan & how that will expand the experiences our students have while they are here. Climate and sustainability take creative problem solving that the liberal arts might uniquely engage. Education is a powerful vehicle for social change!


Sarah Fortner