Announcing New Paid Student Opportunities in Food, Climate, and Energy

The UCI Global Sustainability Resource Center is now accepting applications for the 2017-18 Global Food and Carbon Neutrality Student Fellowships and Energize Colleges Internships.

These paid opportunities are sponsored by the UC President’s Global Food and Carbon Neutrality Initiatives and Strategic Energy Innovations (SEI). The internships are one quarter long, and the fellowships are a yearlong commitment. Successful applicants will work on exciting projects across a range of topics including climate research, zero waste, energy justice, community resilience, food security, urban gardening, community-aligned carbon offsets, and energy efficiency in campus housing.

To learn more about Energize Colleges summer internships, click here.

To learn more about Carbon Neutrality and Global Food yearlong fellowships, click here and see below.

The application period has now closed.

Global Food Initiative and Climate Neutrality Initiative Program Details

Each fellowship runs from September 25, 2017 – June 16, 2018.

Each fellow will receive:

  • hands-on, project-based experience in the fellowship area;
  • approximately $4,000 in the form of a paid student assistantship;
  • campus and university-wide recognition as a member of a select group of student leaders;
  • an opportunity to convene in person with climate and food fellows from across the UC system at the beginning and end of the fellowship year;
  • an opportunity to participate in intensive sustainability leadership training and retreat; and
  • guidance from prominent scholars and mentorship from practitioners in the field.

In return, each fellow is expected to:

  • contribute approximately 9-10 hours per week to the fellowship during academic year 2017-18;
  • orally present one status update each quarter at select campus-wide events;
  • attend one fellows’ study break each quarter;
  • write at least one blog post each quarter for select social media platforms;
  • create at least one additional way to engage at least 20 additional members of the campus community in the fellowship project;
  • complete work products specific to the fellowship project by June 15, 2018; and
  • write a short mid-term report (date TBD) and final report by June 15, 2018.

Fellows are expected to participate in the following UC system-wide activities (expenses paid):

  • attend an orientation on June 26, 2017, at the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference (CHESC) at UC Santa Barbara;
  • attend one multi-day residential Sustainability Leadership Training;
  • attend Fellows’ field trip in April 2018; and
  • participate in a symposium and poster presentation held in conjunction with CHESC in June or July 2018.

UCI Food Recovery Project

Description: The UC Global Food Initiative challenges staff, faculty, and students to consider what each of us can do to address food security locally and globally. As part of this effort, UC completed a  Student Food Access and Security Study.  The study found that 19% of UC students who responded to the survey had very low food security and 23% of student respondents had low food security across the UC system as a whole. There are also issues of food security among the greater community in our region. The UCI Food Access & Security team seeks a student to initiate and manage a set of food recovery programs for the UCI campus.

Project Supervisor: Andrea Gutierrez, Food Access & Security Coordinator, SOAR

Student Project: The selected fellow will explore possibilities for launching a recovery program for shelf-stable items and perishable items, as well as prepared foods. The fellow will develop relationships with campus partners as well as off campus non-profit organizations and partners. The fellow will develop operational guides with the Environmental Health and Safety and Risk Management stakeholders on the campus; prepare a campus food recovery network proposal; secure commitments from key partners; and launch a variety of food recovery efforts. The fellow will also have the opportunity to launch a new program and oversee the implementation of the early stages of the program. The student must be a person who is coalition builder and willing to work through the collaborative decision making process of the University.  Any food recovery efforts designed will need to be based on a commitment to health, safety and risk management.  We are looking for a student that will take these issues seriously.

UCI Garden Project

Description:  Through the UCI Garden Project, the Global Sustainability Resource Center (GSRC) has enabled skills sharing and education regarding sustainable and drought-friendly approaches to urban agriculture, both at the Arroyo Vista housing “Ants in Your Plants” garden and with a community partner in Santa Ana. In our next phase, we will explore further how the University can be a resource for community-based food justice projects in Orange County.

Project Supervisor: Dr. Adonia Lugo, Global Sustainability Resource Center Program Coordinator

Student Project: The selected fellow will take lead on building a resource and knowledge network regarding food justice with GSRC community partners. This is a hands-on, experiential learning internship engaging the range of skills essential to urban agriculture, both inside the garden and as a community organizer.

Applied Climate Science Research Project

Description: As the science regarding climate change develops, researchers encounter new challenges and opportunities in tracking and mitigating carbon impacts–issues that inform the UC’s carbon neutrality goal. This fellow will assist Earth System Science faculty member Dr. Steven Davis with exploratory research.

Project Supervisor: Dr. Steven Davis, Associate Professor, Department of Earth System Science

Student Project: This fellow will work with Dr. Davis’ team to on topics such as:

  • Addressing uncertainty in carbon labeling: working to assess the carbon footprint of a scientific journal article using different standards and data, and demonstrate the need for tighter requirements in order for carbon labeling to be a meaningful and reliable market mechanism.
  • Researching whether and to what extent gains in manufacturing energy efficiency are being offset by decreasing ‘lifetime’ of consumed goods. This topic may involve looking at consumer expenditure surveys to estimate the changing lifetime of goods, and then comparing these findings with changes in industry sectors’ energy intensity over time.
  • Developing a systematic comparison of the vulnerabilities and benefits of individual nations under climate change, and then comparing these findings to the ambition of nations’ climate mitigation goals.

Ambassador Fellowships

Two fellows will be selected to serve as Ambassadors. Ambassadors serve as the lead fellows responsible for building engagement among UCI students with the UC food and climate initiatives. Ambassadors will participate in leadership meetings of the Global Food (GFI) and Carbon Neutrality (CNI) Initiatives where they will share student voice on substantive matters, report on student engagement activities, and connect with working group leaders across the system. One Ambassador fellow will be selected for CNI and one for GFI. In addition to the fellowship award, each Ambassador will have access to $1,000 to cover programming expenses.

The Ambassador fellows will have the following special duties:

    • promote student awareness of the UC Initiatives and campus student fellow projects (e.g., tabling, engaging student leaders and student organizations in discussions about the food and climate initiatives)
    • network and/or help assist with publicizing campus events related to fellowship activities;
    • collaborate with other campuses’ Ambassadors to launch and/or maintain the GFI peer-to-peer blog (GFI Ambassador only);
    • infuse, where appropriate, CNI and GFI branding into campus events, including, e.g.:
      • coordinating on-campus activities in conjunction with Food Day in October 2017
      • coordinating on-campus activities in conjunction with Earth Day in April 2018
    • support efforts to roll-out outcomes from CNI and GFI Working Groups;
    • meet with Initiative leaders on campus to learn about the ongoing Initiative work;
    • attend in person Initiative leadership meetings and participate actively in Initiative Working Group meetings and subcommittee meetings;
    • submit quarterly updates via the survey from the GFI Program Manager, along with other GFI working group leaders, sharing the status of engagement efforts (GFI only);
    • submit a year-end report on how the $1,000 budget for campus programming was spent in support of student engagement;
    • provide student feedback and communicate campus needs and opportunities related to the Initiatives; and
    • offer guidance on advancing campus‐based student engagement in the Initiatives.

Please note: Preference is given to students who have already served as Global Food and Climate Fellows in prior years. 

Food Ambassador

Description: UCI faculty, staff, and students from many disciplines participate in the UC President’s Global Food Initiative. Our campus plays active roles to promote food security on campus, zero waste in the dining halls, sustainable and healthy food choices, research in food justice and equity, and development of new food curriculum and experiential learning. During academic year 2017-18, various faculty, staff, and student-led groups will host several high profile events, conferences, and outreach and education campaigns to orient our campus toward the goals underlying the Global Food Initiative and showcase UCI’s leadership across the UC system. At the same time, counterparts at other UC campuses will be leading similar efforts that are designed to be engaged on our campus as well.

Project Supervisor: Andrea Gutierrez, Food Access & Security Coordinator, SOAR

Student Project: The purpose of this fellowship project is to identify and leverage the synergy among these various food-related efforts at UCI so as to maximize cross-disciplinary learning, elevate our campus dialog, and broaden impact. Actions include communications, Basic Needs website management and content development, marketing, outreach, research, writing, event planning, community organizing, and network building. While serving a campus-wide role, this student will be based in the Food Access and Security team through the Center for Educational Partnerships. The Student Ambassadors serve as the GFI student engagement ‘go‐to’ person for the UC Irvine campus. Ambassador will participate in GFI leadership meetings to share their student voice, report on student engagement activities, and connect with working group leaders across the UC system.

Climate Ambassador

Description: At UCI, we understand that transformations in physical infrastructure alone will not suffice to achieve the University of California’s climate and sustainability goals. How we build the human infrastructure to get us there is also key. “Community resilience” describes our efforts to create human infrastructure through which climate and sustainability solutions foster and reflect social cohesion and inclusion of diverse voices in our university community and beyond. Through Community Resilience Projects, we seek to understand, engage, and lift up the interests, contributions, and leadership of underrepresented communities on our campus and in communities in our region that are more vulnerable to the impacts of the changing climate–typically low-income communities, people of color, indigenous communities, immigrants, and elderly populations.

Student Project: The Climate Ambassador will work with the UCI Community Resilience Project to integrate and align UCI’s sustainability and climate activities with UCI’s wide ranging activities that forward understanding and progress on racial and social justice.  The fellow will also work more generally with UCI’s Office of Sustainability and Office of Environmental Planning and Sustainability to communicate about campus and UC system-wide sustainability goals and programs, to assess existing programs, and to empower students to engage in and shape those efforts. In addition, the fellow is expected to help shape and participate in a UC system-wide dialog and mobilization among fellows regarding climate action, a process facilitated and overseen by the student representatives to the UC President’s Global Climate Leadership Council, who convene regular meetings with fellows from all campuses.

Project Supervisor: Abigail Reyes, Director of UCI Community Resilience Projects, Office of Sustainability

UC Irvine undergraduate and graduate students in good standing from any discipline are eligible and encouraged to apply. The $4,000 award is distributed in the form of a paid internship with the Global Sustainability Resource Center. Applicants who are currently employed on campus are advised to assess how the award may interact with existing employment commitments. Graduate student applicants are required to submit a short, signed statement from their faculty adviser acknowledging their intention to pursue this opportunity.

The organizing committee is comprised of faculty and staff from across campus. Select applicants will be asked to participate in a brief (20 minute) in-person interview between Jun 5-7, 2017.
Update: We received a robust response to the call for applications. To accommodate the large volume, we have extended the application review and interview period. We now anticipate that we will be able to communicate more definitely about the status of pending applications by Friday, June 16, 2017.