Dr. Jennifer Hirsch is an applied cultural anthropologist recognized internationally for fostering university and community engagement in sustainability and climate action. Since August 2015, she has served as the inaugural Director of the Center for Serve-Learn-Sustain at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia. Serve-Learn-Sustain (SLS) is the Institute’s Quality Enhancement Plan - a campus-wide academic initiative preparing students to use their disciplinary expertise to “create sustainable communities” in partnership with community, nonprofit, business, and academic stakeholders.
Dr. Hirsch’s research and teaching interests focus on: 1) equity in the sustainable built environment; 2) grassroots sustainability innovation; and 3) sustainability in cross-cultural perspective. At Georgia Tech, she leads the equity petal work for the GT Living Building – the Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design – and runs the SLS Innovating for Social Impact Program.
Dr. Hirsch is also a founding leader of RCE Greater Atlanta – a Regional Centre of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development - officially acknowledged in 2017 by the United Nations University. She is also Adjunct Associate Professor at Georgia Tech’s School of City and Regional Planning. She serves on the faculty of The Asset-Based Community Development Institute hosted by DePaul University and on the Board of Directors of AASHE (Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education).
Before coming to Georgia Tech, Dr. Hirsch worked in Chicago as Associate Director of Study Abroad at Northwestern University; as Urban Anthropology Director at The Field Museum of Natural History; and as an independent consultant with clients such as the City of Cleveland, Enterprise Community Partners, the U.S. Green Building Council, The Institute of Cultural Affairs, University of Illinois at Chicago, and Joliet Junior College. Dr. Hirsch received a Bachelor’s degree in American Culture from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois and a Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.
Click here for an annotated list of some of Dr. Hirsch's publications and presentations.