The Sustainability Council emerged as a result of the efforts of Dr. Stacie Defreitas, a former UHD faculty in Psychology, who held the 2019 Dean’s Fellowship in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. During her two-year appointment (from September 1, 2019, through August 31, 2021), Dr. DeFreitas led the CHSS Sustainability Initiative. As part of her responsibilities, she:
- Assessed the College and developed a sustainability Initiative focused on organizational processes;
- Explored funding opportunities to support greater sustainability and environmental education for faculty, staff and students;
- Collaborated with college and university faculty and staff to contribute to institutional activities on sustainability;
- Explored proposal development and promotion for new academic programs focused on sustainability and/or environmental studies (e.g., gathering documents, acquiring market data and stakeholder consultation, and tracking where proposals are in various approval processes); and
- Cultivated relationships with external organizations to enhance sustainability program(s)
On February 20, 2020, Dr. DeFreitas gathered together the faculty and staff who responded to a call for interest in participating in an ad-hoc UHD Sustainability Council. The group met in the then recently inaugurated College of Science and Technology building, which was the first designated as a LEED Gold building in the University of Houston System. Shortly after, the COVID19 pandemic moved all operations to virtual, and the group continued to meet every month with the goal to develop and help implement sustainability policies and practices that move University of Houston-Downtown towards being a greener campus.