Internship Program in Sustainability

Learn about the Program

In its first six months of existence, the IU Task Force on Sustainability established the the Internship Program in Sustainability. The program utilizes campus as a living-learning lab, enlisting students as researchers in investigating important questions facing our community, such as

  1. How do the ways in which our campus operates and consumes resources affect the social, environmental and economic well being of our community?
  2. How is our campus impact connected to more complicated global issues like climate change, resource scarcity and poverty? 
  3. What opportunities do we have as individuals, institutions, communities, and governments to increase collective social, economic and economic health, and how do we best communicate these opportunities?
  4. How will we adapt and ensure all people have the ability to thrive in response to dynamic climate conditions and limitations on resources? 

Through internships co-mentored by staff in operations and faculty members, interns conduct research and develop programming focused on general sustainability outreach and education or in specific topic areas such as food, transportation or resource use.

Determining Projects

In the first year of its inception, internships were determined by the immediate needs of the Task Force. The first internship projects, developed in 2008, provided the backbone upon which the program was built. The two primary initiatives coming from this group were the creation of the Campus Sustainability Report and the establishment of the basic functions of the Task Force. Subsequent internship projects have been guided by these first reports. With the creation of the IU Office of Sustainability in March of 2009, how projects were determined evolved from a needs basis to initiatives that directly aligned with the strategic goals of the Office of Sustainability and the Campus Sustainability Advisory Board (formerly known as the IU Task Force on Sustainability). Internship projects fall into three categories: internal development, auxiliaries, and ongoing campus projects. Projects for internship session are determined by the Office and the Advisory Board. Those internships falling within the Office's advisement are determined and managed by the Office. The internships housed in the Advisory Board are determined by the co-chairs of each of the seven working groups: Academic Initiatives, Energy and Built Environment, Environmental Quality and Land Use, Food, Resource Use and Recycling, Sustainable Computing, and Transportation.

The internship program currently has two sessions: Summer and the Academic Year. During the Summer Program sessions interns work 20 hours per week and are enrolled in a 1-credit seminar designed to provide students a background in sustainability and a forum for collaborating. The Academic Year Program sessions employ interns for 10-15 hours a week. Academic Year interns participate in an informal seminar focused primarily on communication between interns.