Skip to main content

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. Download the Sustainability Distinction flyer.

Visit the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation to learn about additional academic offerings for students interested in sustainability.  

Enroll now!

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 Dashboard using your Pitt credentials. 
2. Search in the activities tab: Sustainability Distinction Declaration.
3. Complete the online form.  

Click to Enroll Now!


Relevant courses will introduce students to the core principles of sustainability (social, economic and environmental) and provide them with basic competencies related to the broad topic of sustainability.

Sustainability Distinction course requirements:

  • Six (6) academic credits including Current Issues in Sustainability (Course #1905)
  • One (1) Sustainability-Focused Course as designated in Curriculog. If a student is unable to take the Current Issues course, then three (3) alternative Sustainability-Focused courses can be taken for nine (9) credits.

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:

  • Leadership role in a Student Office of Sustainability affiliated organization (other student groups will be considered with approval by the committee)
  • Long-term campus or community service and/or a Place-Based Engagement Project (at least a two-semester commitment)
  • A sustainability-related internship, research project or co-op experience
  • A sustainability-related study abroad or alternative break experience
  • An innovation competition, experience or startup related to sustainability

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):

  • Participate in a minimum of three (3) Pitt Green Team-sponsored volunteer service activities.
  • Attend the Fall Sustainability Showcase, Student Office of Sustainability (SOOS) Fall Sustainability Activities Fair, or Spring Sustainability Symposium.
  • Participate in a University of Thriftsburgh Fix-It or Maker event and reflect.
  • Reflect on your participation in various Reuse Programs on campus.
  • Attend three (3) Student Office of Sustainability-sponsored or promoted sustainability events.
  • Complete the Green Resident survey OR create your own goal to live more sustainably this semester.
  • Complete three (3) of any of the optional sustainability activities listed in the Student Office of Sustainability (SOOS) Badge.

Reflection (2,000-word essay)

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.


  • OCC Badge: Amy Vaught, OCC
  • High Impact Activities: Patrick Shirey, Geology & Environmental Science
  • Courses/Reflection Essay: Ellie Cadden, Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation
  • General: Ellie Cadden, Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation