Sustainability Fellowship Program

Fellows, the sustainability manager and the sustainability engagement coordinator playing a board game called IMPACT

Response to COVID-19

The fellowship program will take place on Zoom if learning will be virtual (not in person) in the fall. Please check the official UMass Covid-19 page for updates on the campus' reopening decisions.

We are hiring for Fall 2020 - Spring 2021! 

Application instructions:

Apply online through Handshake or email Rebecca Schmidt at a resume and a writing sample addressing the following questions. Be sure to include which fellowship category you are interested in (Waste and Recycling, Green Office Program, Energy, Green Building, Food Systems, Academic Programs, Transportation, Outreach and Web Communications, etc.) If you are interested in a project category related to sustainability that is not listed, please pitch your ideas to us in your writing sample.

1. Why are you interested in this particular fellowship position?

2. What do you hope to gain as a fellow?

3. What do you think you could contribute to the fellowship program?

Program Overview

The Sustainability Fellowship Program began in the fall of 2009 with one student intern and has since grown to engage as many as 20 interns in a given semester.

Fellows work on Sustainable UMass initiatives and are mentored by a faculty sponsor, the program coordinator, and the Sustainability Manager. Students and supervisors collaborate to set individual goals.

Each fellow is hired to focus on a specific aspect of sustainability on campus. Categories include: Energy Programs, Green Building, Food Systems, Academic Programs, facilitation of the Green Office Program, Transportation, Waste and Recycling, Outreach, and Web Communication. Categories may or may not be active depending on active initiatives. Projects are determined on an individual basis to further the implementation of sustainable practices on campus in all of these areas.

In addition to responsibilities to faculty advisors and the planning and implementation of projects, fellows are required to spend a few hours each week in the Sustainability Manager's office. This structured time commitment allows for collaboration between interns and a greater sense of community between all members of the program. In total, participants are expected to spend about nine hours each week on sustainability-related work.

The Sustainability Fellowship Program aims to continue to make UMass sustainable in all areas of operation while providing an enriching experience for individual program participants.  Fellows will walk away with experience, knowledge, and a greater passion for sustainable change than they previously possessed.

How does it work?

First semester Fellowship – ENVIRSCI 398 Practicum

  • 3 Pass/Fail Upper Level Elective Credits


  • Midterm Reflection
  • Final write-up of the projects you’ve contributed to

Second semester Fellowship Independent Study – ENVIRSCI 396 Independent Study

  • 3 Graded Upper Level Elective Credits


  • Midterm Reflection
  • Final PowerPoint presentation of the projects you’ve contributed to
  • Final research paper on an individual initiative


Additional information about Green Office Program and Waste and Recycling Fellowship Positions

Green Office Overview
The program starts with an introductory presentation by a Green Office Program Fellow. The office then designates a person from within their office to be the main correspondent for the
program; this person is called an Eco-leader and is meant to keep track of the progress of the office, motivate the office to succeed, and to correspond with one of the fellows. The program consists of five consecutive levels of progress. The levels are bronze, silver, gold, green, and evergreen, and each level has requirements for the office to complete. Once an office has completed the requirements for one level they are certified and are allowed to progress to the next level. The goal for the office is to become certified as an evergreen green office and maintain that certification. Experience with Trello and Microsoft OneDrive is a plus.

Green Office Responsibilities (including but not limited to)

  • Recruiting offices for the program- Getting offices to participate in this program is the first step. This requires emailing, making meetings, and presenting the program in an organized and professional manner.

  • Introductory presentations- All offices that are new to the program require an introductory presentation to me made by one of the Green Office Program fellows so that everyone in the office is aware of the program and what it entails.

  • Routine contact- Maintaining regular contact and fielding any questions/concerns with the office’s elected Eco-leader is vital to the program’s success. This involves emails, phone calls, and office walk-throughs. This ensures that progress is being made in each office.

  • Certifying offices- When an office states that they have completed a level, this fellow goes through a checklist specific to the level they are on. If they pass the checklist, this intern will present them with a certificate for that level and get them started on the next one.

  • Pick up compost twice a week from offices that participate in the Minute Riders program

Waste and Recycling Overview
Fellows are encouraged to pursue projects that interest them, and find solutions to waste and recycling problems that they see in our campus community. Fellows may have the opportunity to collaborate on projects with employees in the Sustainability Office and the Office of Waste Management.

Waste and Recycling Responsibilities (including but not limited to)

  • Identify and work on ways to increase the campus community’s utilization (and knowledge) of the recycling, composting, and waste reduction programs that exist at the university.
  • Pick up electronic waste from the collection station located in W.E.B. DuBois lobby once a week and sort it by waste category (batteries, wires, bulbs, printer cartridges, etc.) and (when available) accompany the Sustainability Engagement Coordinator to drop off e-waste at the Waste and Recycling Transfer Facility.
  • When available, attend meetings held by the Chancellor's Sustainability Advisory Waste and Recycling Subcommittee.
  • Contribute to the success of campus waste reduction programs.