Giovanna Summerfield – Faculty

Auburn University, Auburn, AL

Giovanna Summerfield with husband, John S. Summerfield Jr.
Giovanna Summerfield standing with husband, John S. Summerfield Jr.

Giovanna is the Associate Dean for Educational Affairs and a Professor in the College of Liberal Arts.

Giovanna is one of the most active and engaged academic leaders on campus when it comes to sustainability.  Her influence and leadership is felt across a spectrum of disciplines and initiatives in service to social justice, equity, human wellbeing, and empowered responsible living.

In her role as Associate Dean, Giovanna oversees several academic programs that contribute to sustainability learning, practice, and living.

These include: the Minor in Sustainability Studies, which gives students from every discipline the opportunity to understand and engage with sustainability issues, principles, and practices; the Community and Civic Engagement Program, which trains students to become effective catalysts, facilitators, and leaders, equipped to transform communities; the Women’s Studies Minor, whose graduates can help close the gender gap in society; oversight for the Carol Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts and Humanities, a convening place for learning and public engagement.

Giovanna is also an initiator and early adopter of new sustainability-related initiatives.  In the early 2000s, she brought the Slow Food movement to Auburn to oppose “the universal folly of fast life,” and transform the way we produce, consume, and enjoy food.  In 2010 Giovanna initiated No Impact Week, an annual campus program with daily events focused on aspects of more sustainable living such as food, water, transportation, energy, and connecting ecological thinking with religion and spirituality.  In 2017 the Office of Sustainability initiated a new employee engagement initiative, the PEERS Network, Giovanna was one of the first to join as a PEERS Ambassador.  Ambassadors collaborate with the Office of Sustainability to cultivate more sustainable practices in their departments.

The common theme in all these activities is Giovanna’s desire to create meaningful engagement and conversation around ideas that matter, and to create a more civil and enlightened bond of civic engagement among people, which is a requisite condition for creating meaningful and lasting change.