12/12/23 UMass Rose to #16 out of 210 colleges and universities in the United States in QS Sustainability Rankings

The University of Massachusetts Amherst rose to the top 20 among higher educational institutions in the nation for its social and environmental sustainability development efforts, education and practices, according to QS World University Rankings: Sustainability 2024 edition. Read more here.

11/3/23 UMass Rises to #18 in the Princeton Review's Top Green Colleges  

The University of Massachusetts Amherst rose to the top 20 among the nation’s most environmentally responsible higher educational institutions, according to The Princeton Review's 2024 Guide to Green Colleges.

UMass is now ranked higher than other regional institutions, including the University of Connecticut, the University of New Hampshire, Northeastern, and the University of Maine.

11/9/22 MS3 Alum Ryan Griffis Ryan Griffis instrumental in securing Bike Friendly University designation for UMass

UMass Amherst Named a Bike Friendly University by the League of American Bicyclists

"[MS3 and] Landscape architecture and regional planning major Ryan Griffis was instrumental in completing the university’s application, Small says.

UMass joins Harvard, MIT, UMass Lowell, Bentley University, Tufts University and Boston University’s Charles River and medical school campuses as bike-friendly universities. Since the program launched in 2011, BFU designations have been certified at 222 U.S. colleges and universities in 47 states."

8/17/22 MS3 alum Angie Gregory is the new Associate Director of the Energy Transition Institute

ETI News: New Staff Announcement — The Energy Transition Institute @ UMass Amherst


5/13/22 Commencement 2022

A record 29 MS3 students walked in Commencement 2022, earning an M.S. in Sustainability Science degree. With these graduates, the program will have more than 150 alumni. A wonderful celebration lunch was enjoyed by all in the brand new Cape Cod Lounge in the Student's Union building on May 13, 2022. Congratulations to all of the 2022 MS3 Grads! 


MS3 students contribute to UMass both inside and outside the classroom. Congratulations to MS3 student Simon Pereira who was recognized amongst other educators for teaching the invaluable curriculum of the EDUC 391R Residential Education & Community Development class. Material covered in the class includes Communication, Leadership Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and how that relates to future student employees at UMass. 

In addition to this award, Simon was recognized at the UMass Student Affairs and Campus Life Recognizing Excellence Dedication and Innovation ceremony for his work as a leader of tomorrow, commemorating his work as an Assistant Residence Director.   


Erica Light, recent MS3 graduate and currently an adjunct lecturer in iCons, along with Martin Hunter, senior lecturer in biomedical engineering, is spearheading a new collaboration between the UMass Amherst iCons Program and the Biomedical Engineering Department (BME) in the College of Engineering to develop an innovative laboratory course open to both iCons and BME students. Light and Hunter will co-teach ICONS 390BH – Integrated Discovery Lab in Biomedicine – debuting in the spring 2022 semester.



The Sierra Club’s national magazine, “Sierra Magazine,” recently announced that the University of Massachusetts Amherst is among the top-20 environmentally friendly institutions of higher learning in North America.  

UMass, which ranked 18 out of 328, is among those that “have displayed a deep and thorough commitment to addressing climate change, protecting the natural world and encouraging environmental responsibility both through their campus operations and course curricula,” according to “Sierra Magazine.” 

“Many transformative green projects at UMass were originally conceived of by a student,” says Darci Maresca, assistant director of the School of Earth and Sustainability. Take, for instance, the UMass Carbon Literacy Project (CLP), which trains students to become ambassadors to their peers for the cause of raising awareness about the costs and impacts of carbon emissions. CLP is a global program, and UMass Amherst is the first U.S. organizational partner to deliver it internally. Angie Gregory (pictured), a graduate student in sustainability science, spearheaded the effort to bring CLP to UMass and implement it.  

UMass Amherst One of the Nation’s ‘Coolest Schools’ on Environmental Issues, Says Sierra Club


MS3 students Gretchen Siegchrist, Erica Light, Hannah McDonald and Alexia Perides were part of a 13-member multi-disciplinary team of graduate and undergraduate students from UMass Amherst who researched and wrote case studies of commons organizations in Massachusetts, published in a new release.

The “Massachusetts Catalog of Commoning” is now available for free download online, and highlights and showcases commoning efforts in Massachusetts. The 38-page publication was co-edited by Charlie Schweik, professor of environmental conservation and public policy at UMass Amherst, and Maxine Gunther-Segal, a student at Smith College.

Siegchrist penned the introduction and a case study on Mass Mesh in Boston, MA. Light’s study was of Wellspring Cooperative in Springfield, MA. McDonald wrote about LaunchSpace in Orange, MA, while Alexia Perides researched Valley Time Trade in the Pioneer Valley, MA.

Schweik hopes that the ‘Massachusetts Catalog of Commoning’ will be a model for other states to replicate, and will become a living document of sorts, highlighting and showcasing commoning efforts in Massachusetts, with each future volume updating existing stories and adding new stories.

UMass Amherst Students Publish New ‘Massachusetts Catalog of Commons,’ Profiling BerkShares, Mass Mesh, Kestrel Land Trust and More | UMass Amherst


At the 2021 EcoGSS Symposium on March 19th, MS3 student Emma K. Sylvia presented her research on the social, economic, and environmental impact of current mortuary practices and their natural alternatives, titled “Dust to Dust to CO2: A Comparison of Mortuary Practices & Natural Alternatives.” 

After exploring the topic in depth last semester, Sylvia became interested in what she said is an overlooked aspect of sustainable practices. Audience polling earned her presentation first place, in the "Traditional Talk" category. Sylvia said the response is unprecedented and hopes her presentation will enable people to embrace sustainability in all aspects of life, even in the hereafter. 

As an amateur genealogist, Sylvia said she is accustomed to visiting cemeteries and reading the accounts of those who have long since passed. It's fitting then when she says she hopes to continue her research into this newfound passion.


Justin Taylor (left), an MS3 student specializing in Renewable Energy and Climate Change, was one of four members of the winning team in a UMass beta test of the NASPAA-Batten Student Simulation Competition, hosted by the School of Public Policy. 
In the annual international competition, sponsored by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration, students use real-world data to solve hypothetical but realistic problems through policy development. The theme of the 2020 competition is sustainable cities, with a focus on transportation. 
The winning team’s policies focused on reducing dependency on carbon dioxide-emitting vehicles by investing in electric buses and creating alternatives such as more rail service, bike lanes, and pedestrian walkways, among other strategies.


MS3 Student Chatrali Ketkale was interviewed about her Practicum as an Environmental Defense Fund Climate Corps Fellow in the New York City offices of Cushman & Wakefield, a global, multibillion-dollar commercial real estate firm.


UMass Students Stress Resilience in Combating Climate Change

(Featuring Sustainability Science student Rachel Berggren and Director of the School of Earth and Sustainability, Dr. Curt Griffin)

Video Courtesy: WWLP

AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – Hope and resilience were the themes of Wednesday’s Earth Day Celebration at the UMass School of Earth and Sustainability in Amherst.

Students told 22News that the stakes are high, but they’re working to find ways to cope with climate change.

“What happens to our food if climate change comes about,” graduate student Rachel Berggren said. “So that’s what we’re going to do to bring people together, using art as a tool for communication.”

In keeping with the theme of the day, the keynote speaker stressed the need to be hopeful. The head of the School of Earth and Sustainability, Dr. Curt Griffin, told 22News that he’s confident concerned young people will eventually find ways to protect our planet from pollution.

“Oftentimes, we worry about the future,” Dr. Griffin said. “But with this group of students, their enthusiasm, their knowledge, I feel we’re in very good hands.”

Advocates for change believe everyone can do their part to protect the place where we live. Individual action can begin with something as basic as taking a bus or a bicycle to get to work and leaving their car at home.


MS3 Student Wins Fellowship from Environmental Defense Fund

Chaitrali Ketkale, a graduate student in Sustainability Science, has won a summer fellowship from the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), one of the world’s largest environmental advocacy groups. The EDF program trains and places fellows, chosen from 1,000 graduate-student applicants from leading universities.

Ketkale will work in the New York office of Cushman & Wakefield, a global, multibillion-dollar commercial real estate firm. She will focus on the company’s corporate social responsibility strategy, including carbon disclosure methods and reporting, and will help activate software to better track, manage, analyze and report energy consumption and patterns.

“I want to go into corporate sustainability, and this fellowship is one of the best in my field,” says Ketkale, who was supported by her advisor, Darci Maresca, assistant director of the School of Earth and Sustainability, and Alison Bates, the graduate program director.

Ketkale says she’s inspired to work in environmental conservation after seeing her hometown, Bangalore, India, grow increasingly polluted and suffer “an overall degradation in the standard of living, in spite of increasing riches. I believe in this cause,” she says.

She is set to graduate at the end of the year with a master of science degree in sustainability science, which is designed to create interdisciplinary problem-solvers and prepare students for sustainability-focused positions in industry, government or nonprofits.

Original article on Inside UMass


Sustainability Science Program Director, Alison Bates, along with a team of scientists has been awarded an NSF Engineering Research Center (ERC) Planning Grant to identify with industry partners the key priorities for offshore wind!
A team of scientists including Sustainability Science Graduate Program Director Alison Bates has been awarded an NSF Engineering Research Center (ERC) Planning Grant to identify with industry partners the key priorities for offshore wind. The project brings together those with relevant expertise in offshore wind energy from several engineering disciplines, fields of science, the national laboratories, state and federal resource management agencies, industrial stakeholders, and developers; as well as those from affected coastal communities. UMass has the potential to play a key role in setting national priorities for wind energy based on a data-driven, multi-disciplinary system-level framework to identify where advances are needed in science, engineering, and process in order to create a resilient infrastructure that enables responsible wind energy. This project will include two workshops at UMass Amherst this spring that will bring global experts to campus to discuss convergent research objectives and approaches. Bates will spearhead a workshop on social acceptance and ecological considerations relative to wind energy. 


The Sierra Club's magazine has placed UMass Amherst at No. 7 in its 12th annual “Cool Schools” ranking of North America’s greenest colleges and universities. This marks a jump from No. 58 last year, out of 269 schools!


MS3 graduate's work published by Massachusetts Food System Collaborative

As part of her practicum, MS3 graduate Savannah McCarthy, conducted a survey for the Massachusetts Food System Collaborative that demonstrated fresh produce is usually less expensive when purchased directly from the Massachusetts farmers who grow it than it is at grocery stores. You can read about Savannah's work here. NPR Boston mentioned Savannah's work here. Savannah's MS3 concentration was Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems and she welcomes comments or questions from current or future MS3 students about her work.


8/7/18 MS3 candidate Varsha Suresh interning at World Resources Institute (WRI) in Washington D.C.

My name is Varsha Suresh. I am a currently enrolled in the Master of Science in Sustainability Science (MS3) program. I graduated with an engineering degree from Bangalore and moved to Amherst Massachusetts a year ago to complement my knowledge of technology with an understanding of policy to facilitate decision making in the realm of sustainability. My concentration within the program is Renewable Energy/Urban Sustainability. I am currently taking a semester break to intern at the World Resources Institute (WRI) in Washington D.C. My experience at WRI so far has been wonderful. The culture here is conducive to learning and there is an emphasis on networking and building connections with experts on various projects. As an intern, I am thrilled about the global exposure that I am receiving during my time here. My role as a Climate Data intern involves developing datasets on greenhouse gas emissions for a city level data portal whose audience will include citizens and local governments.

My journey to this opportunity has been one that involved a lot of course exploration during my first year of the MS3 program. The courses I took and the interactions I had with my processors have been
instrumental in shaping my decisions. The flexible nature of the MS3 program allowed me to explore my interests in the areas of sustainability and energy without any constraints. I look forward to return to the MS3 program at the end of this opportunity and take courses that will bridge gaps in my existing knowledge of climate and energy. At the end of my MS3 program, I hope to be associated with similar global organizations that facilitate decision making through technology and policies.


UMass Amherst Surges in Rankings for Sustainable Universities, Moving up to No. 9 in Nation!


Our very own Caroline Myran, recent MS3 grad, got a mention in this Bloomberg News article. She plays an important role as a project manager for an innovative sustainable agriculture project with new technology.