Skip to main content
search search search search search search
Ambassador Circle Background Image

Ambassador Circle Spotlight: Megan Litke

Megan Litke, LEED AP O+M, Director of Sustainability
Office of Sustainability | American University


Megan has been at American University for more than seven years and directs the university’s sustainability program. She previously worked at the University of Richmond and Harvard University and holds a degree in sustainability and environmental management from Harvard University and an accounting degree from Tulane University. Megan enjoys cooking and hiking with her daughter and dog.

Headshot of Megan Litke, LEED AP O+M, Director of Sustainability, Office of Sustainability | American University


Q: Please share a professional update. Are there any new initiatives or projects you are working on?

American University is building on its status as the first university in the country to become carbon neutral. Goals include improving students’ sustainability literacy, enhancing our campus and broader community engagement and connecting sustainability with environmental justice issues. Our new EcoReps program sees students educating their peers on available programs, resources and ways to live sustainably, and we plan to expand and diversify the campus tree canopy and increase our number of edible plants and gardens.


Q: Tell us more about the sustainability management program at American University. How important is it that higher education institutions incorporate sustainability with a multidisciplinary approach across their curricula?

Higher education plays a unique role in sustainability, from operating our campuses efficiently and sustainably to impactful faculty research on climate issues to educating students. Sustainability is an area that intersects with more than 400 courses offered at American University and growing. Regardless of a student’s major, they learn how they can incorporate sustainability into any career and make positive change in any industry.


Q: You are an expert in LEED certifications and championed the initiative to turn American University carbon neutral. Can you speak on the significance of DC being the first LEED Platinum City in the world and the importance of sustainable building certifications like the Walter E. Washington Convention Center has received?

DC is home to more LEED certified space per capita than any state in the country. Being the first LEED Platinum City reflects the District’s long-standing commitment to resiliency and sustainability and sends a message to other cities about the possibility of focusing on green infrastructure in established cities. Each building that has earned recognition through LEED has reduced energy and water use and focuses on health through improved indoor air quality and sustainable building materials.


Q: Washington, DC is a major city. What are the most important considerations and steps to take to “green” an event or conference in an urban destination?

A helpful approach to greening any event is to break it into pieces: before, during and after. For example, before the event, how can we share information about sustainable transportation options? Can we ask people to bring a reusable mug, cutlery or other item to cut down on single-use containers? During the event, can a caterer provide compostable plates and utensils, and have you provided the right recycling bins? And after, can you reuse decorations and can you share information that speakers provided electronically to reduce paper use?


Q: What makes Washington, DC, the ideal location for sustainability-focused meetings? Are there any unique assets or opportunities for conventioneers to get involved?

DC has a long history of advancing sustainability goals. One of the things that makes DC a green city is how walkable and bikeable it is, so when you walk around the National Mall to visit museums and monuments or rent a bike to explore where the many bike lanes in the district can take you, or hop on Metro to get to a farm-to-table restaurant, you are making sustainable choices.


Q: Living and working in the Washington, DC area provides us with so many fun, unique, and often free things to do. What is your favorite DC hidden gem?

My favorite spot in DC is Meridian Hill Park, which is a national park and is known locally as Malcolm X Park. It’s on 16th Street and is lively and full of history. The weekly drum circle has been going for 40 years. I have enjoyed countless dog walks there and have seen birthday parties, weddings and photo shoots of all kinds. It has one of the longest cascading fountains in North America, which makes for a great photo backdrop.