Sarah SanGiovanni joined Sustainable Pittsburgh in 2020 to manage workplace performance programs and education. In addition to her role as Program Manager at Sustainable Pittsburgh, Sarah is a fifth-year PhD Candidate in Clark University’s Graduate School of Geography. Her dissertation research examines the extent to and means by which neighborhood governance initiatives shape sustainable development in the Pittsburgh region, with a particular focus on ecodistricts.
In her neighborhood, Sarah enjoys community gardening and serving as a board member for the Millvale Community Library.
What does sustainability mean to you?
SANGIOVANNI: To me, sustainability is not only about achieving a certain future state or the specific given goals of our work and plans. I think the ongoing work that people engage in every day to improve their communities, workplaces, and lives is just as important as its end goals. In this sense, I think that sustainability is really about shaping social relationships, norms, and processes such that problem-solving, resource-sharing, and place-making are just, inclusive, locally appropriate, and supportive of the many different ways our society can be more sustainable.
What’s something about your work that makes you excited?
My work focuses on developing tools to help workplaces in the Pittsburgh region learn about, institutionalize, and improve their performance regarding sustainability. I love that this brings me in touch with such a diverse range of people and organizations and gives me an opportunity to learn from their unique perspectives and experiences.
What sustainability work is happening in Pittsburgh that isn’t getting enough attention?
Last summer, the Borough of Millvale was recognized as the second certified EcoDistrict in the world! This was only months after The Borough of Etna achieved this certification for the first time. This leadership is a testament to the power that communities have to tackle complex, global sustainability challenges at the local scale, and of this region’s strong tradition of community-based work. Both of these municipalities also earned certification through the Sustainable PA program, which complements the EcoDistrict framework.
What is something we can all do right now to support sustainability in our workplaces?
Sustainable Pittsburgh is currently developing a new sustainability program for the southwestern PA region’s workplaces! This is inclusive of a wide array of organizations: universities, health-care facilities, non-profits, and businesses of all sizes. The program will allow participating organizations to earn a bronze, silver, gold, or platinum designation in recognition of actions taken across a broad spectrum of social and environmental sustainability topics. Look for more information on how to get involved soon to come!