Shoemaker Green


Penn’s Environmental Innovations Initiative

March 11, 2022

The Environmental Innovations Initiative was launched in 2019 to meaningfully impact the critical environmental challenges of our time, particularly climate change, biodiversity loss, and human vulnerability. To accomplish this, the Initiative will bring together scholars, leaders, practitioners, students, community members, and partners around themes of climate action, stewardship of nature, and societal resilience – including equity and inclusion.

The mission of the Environmental Innovations Initiative is to catalyze solutions to significant real-world environmental challenges.  This will be done through fostering collaboration across disciplines, leading inclusive and dynamic programming on- and off-campus, forming strategic alliances with external partners, and elevating the visibility of Penn’s assets.

The first goal of the Climate and Sustainability Action Plan 3.0 is to “expand the scope of sustainability research.” The Initiative will play a central role in achieving this goal, by advancing research on campus, supporting and recruiting faculty members, and bringing Penn research to a wider public audience. The Initiative will also work closely with the Office of Sustainability, and Nina Morris, Penn’s Director of Sustainability—who acts as a member of the Initiative’s advisory council—to advance the academic goals of CSAP 3.0.

The Initiative is led by two faculty co-directors Kathleen D. Morrison, Sally and Alvin V. Shoemaker Professor and Chair of Anthropology, and Joseph S. Francisco, President’s Distinguished Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences. Melissa Brown Goodall joined the team in March 2021 as the Initiative’s inaugural Senior Director, Kelley Widerman joined the team in July 2022 as the Associate Director for Outreach, and Maria “Xime” Trujillo came aboard in January 2022 as Research Associate.

Learn more about the Initiative and the team by visiting and meet the team at

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