Internship in Sustainability

Training the next generation of sustainability leaders

Utilizing campus as a living-learning lab, our internship program enlists students as researchers in investigating important questions facing our community. Co-mentored by staff in operations and faculty members, students conduct research and develop programming focused on general sustainability outreach and education or in specific topic areas aligned through IU's commitment to sustainability.

Interns work 20 hours/week in the summer and around 12-15 hours/week during the academic year, and participate in a weekly seminar designed to provide students a background in sustainability and a forum for collaborating. This helps us connect Hoosiers to the environment and each other, fostering a commitment to service, cultivating lasting friendships and a connection to broader sustainability initiatives.

Why we are connecting students for a greater impact

Interns are high achieving and actively involved students who hail from all academic departments, and serve in various capacities to sustain IU. While supporting research and teaching, sustainability's most direct contribution, when it comes to academics, is to give students opportunities to apply what they are learning in the classroom to the real world, whether on or off campus. The heart of this is our internship program, is using the campus as a learning lab, where our students lead change in the areas of transportation, energy, food, recycling, and more.

Read more about our internship focus areas


This coming summer, the Campus Farm will be entering its 3rd year serving the IU campus, having started with a Sustainability Innovation Fund Proposal in 2017.  The Campus Farm intern will get plenty of hands on learning in sustainable food systems-learning and participating in growing, harvesting, food safety, pricing/economics, and maintaining a strong grower-buyer relationship with IU dining. The farm intern also helps create and facilitate academic engagement with the farm, working with faculty to coordinate class visits and organizing volunteer work from interested campus groups.  A key role for this year’s farm intern will be to help plan and execute student engagement at the farm, with Saturday volunteer opportunities and extra-curricular activities to engage students.  
The student must be enthusiastic about sustainable food systems, willing to get their hands dirty and able to work outside in warm weather!  Preference will given to students with some experience and/or training in gardening. Comfort leading small and large groups is also important.

The farm  intern will be mentored by James Farmer, Associate Professor in O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs, and will work closely with Farm Manager and Educator, Erin Carman-Sweeney.

The Hilltop Garden intern runs the Rent-a-Plot program at Hilltop. The program makes available space for interested students, staff, or faculty to learn basic gardening in their "own" space. Geared towards beginning gardeners, managing the program involves teaching basic gardening techniques, ensuring basic maintenance and engagement with assigned spaces, and coordinating "work and learn" days.  The intern is not required to be an expert, but should have some basic gardening skills. The intern will attend Food Working group meetings and share successes and opportunities at Hilltop during that meeting and with the campus community.  The intern must be an excellent collaborator and small group leader, capable of recruiting faculty/staff to help with "work and learn" days.  Over the course of the year, the position works out to about 50% labor in the garden and about 50% coordination/administration of the Rent-a-Plot program.

The ideal candidate will be organized, comfortable leading small groups, and have some gardening experience.  An ability to work independently is critical, as is a willingness to ask questions!

The Hilltop Garden intern will be mentored by Kaylie Scherer, Hilltop Garden Manager.  

This position works across commitment areas within Sustain IU to strengthen the brand through the development of written, visual, and graphic content to promote campus sustainability efforts. This intern will manage Sustain IU's social media presence, take and edit photos, create graphics for the web and print, assist in maintaining the Sustain IU website, and develop/curate content for the Sustain IU newsletter to highlight current events and initiatives.

Attendance at involvement fairs, resource fairs, and other events is an important part of this work, and may require occasional evening and weekend work. Strong journalism, creative writing, or graphic design background required. Experience using Adobe Creative Suite, strong graphic design skills, photography skills, attention to detail and grammatical accuracy required.

This intern will be mentored by Anisa Valenzuela, Sustainability Specialist at Sustain IU.

The EBE intern will support and lead the work of the Energy and Built Environment working group. Though the duties in this position can (and likely will change), the student can expect research, data analysis, and writing to be core components of the work. IU is in the process of reviewing its green building standards, so the intern may play a role in finalizing that policy and/or implementation and assessment. The intern will also have an opportunity to support ongoing IU work in the areas of building performance optimization, green labs, and renewable energy.

Ideal candidates will be passionate about the topic, be adaptable to rapidly shifting work priorities, and be enthusiastic about using data, research and excellent writing to influence university policy. Competitive candidates will be organized and have strong analytical skills.

The intern will work directly with the University Director of Sustainability, Andrew Predmore, and collaborate with working group co-chairs, Mark Menefee, Assistant Director of Utilities, and Chip Glaholt, Instructor and Lab Director, O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

This student will work to engage various campus members in daily sustainability work, in an effort to improve the culture of campus sustainability in a collaborative way. The intern will be responsible for promoting the Green Events program, and engaging faculty-staff Green Teams in important Sustain IU efforts, like the Energy Challenge. This intern will also serve as a liaison for various student groups, including Greek organizations and Eco Reps.

Attendance at involvement fairs, resource fairs, and other events is an important part of this work, and may require occasional evening and weekend work. This position is responsible for engaging a wide variety of groups, so applicants must be driven, an effective  communicator, and comfortable in a variety of social settings. Successful applicants will enjoy collaboration, be comfortable with public speaking, be highly organized, self-starters, and experienced with document management and record keeping, as well as event management.

This intern will be mentored by Anisa Valenzuela, Sustainability Specialist at Sustain IU.

The Environmental Quality and Land Use Working Group intern will work with the faculty and staff co-chairs of the working group to connect classes and research with the needs of IU Landscape Services, which works to maintain and enhance the beauty and function of the Bloomington campus landscape. Among many potential activities, the student will help coordinate tree planting and non-native invasive removal events that will be a part of scheduled Fall "Resilience Themester" events. This will require planning, marketing, and recruiting volunteers for this service learning experience. Under the direction of the co-chairs the intern will be expected to analyze, evaluate, GIS tree inventory data from IU's 5 regional campuses and prepare a report and presentation for senior IU leadership. The student will also have opportunity to carry forward IU's efforts to contain non-native invasive plant species and reduce the use of herbicides and pesticides in campus management. This intern works closely with Landscape Coordinator Mike Girvin, O'Neill School Lecturer Dr. Jon Eldon, and Sustainability Programs Assistant Tanjimul Alam.

Successful applicants will: Have a strong interest in urban ecology, landscape architecture, horticulture, or urban forestry. Students who have taken classes in urban green infrastructure, applied ecology, and GIS have been successful in this role in the past. Students with strong GIS and spatial analysis skills preferred. Applicant must been highly organized and self motivated.

The Food working group intern will lead and facilitate the Food Working Group, partnering with IU Dining, Healthy IU, The Campus Farm, Sustainable Food System Science, the Food Institute, and co-chairs to connect campus community members to food issues across the university. This includes local procurement, food systems education, and food insecurity. Beyond the working group, this student will assist in researching and assessing food purchasing data, including tracking items’ adherence to Real Food Challenge standards such as Local, Ecological, Humane, Fair and Disqualified foods, on the Bloomington campus. This work will include researching purchased products and communicating changes seen over time. This intern will also plan and host in-person events (including tabling) to educate students on sustainable food at IU. This intern is mentored by the Food Working Group co-chair and Director of Dining Rahul Shrivastav, and Assistant Director of Sustainability Makayla Bonney.

Successful applicants will: Have strong familiarity with Excel, attention to detail, and the willingness to sort through thousands of data pieces. Be comfortable convening and leading a group (with staff mentor assistance!) of campus experts. Be confident, outgoing, and engaging when  interacting with peers and spreading awareness of sustainable food on campus. Be highly organized and self motivated.


This intern will work across commitment areas to increase participation in sustainability on campus, focused on short and long term behavior change initiatives. This intern will work alongside the Energy and Built Environment working group and the Utility information group to increase water and energy conservation on the IUB campus through coordination of a campus-wide Energy Challenge.

Duties will include examining data for trends and inconsistencies, assisting in the creation of communication and engagement materials related to behavior programming, tabling at events, and other duties as assigned. This intern will develop expertise in behavior change campaigns and may have opportunities to apply those skills  in other areas like waste minimization. Ideal candidates will have excellent interpersonal skills, a strong interest in behavior change and communications,  and a passion to create measurable progress in sustainability.

This intern will be mentored by Anisa Valenzuela, Sustainability Specialist at Sustain IU.

Sustain IU collaborates with the Integrative Program in Environment (IPE) to increase the quantity and quality of research and teaching in sustainability at IU.  Though sustainability research and teaching continues to be strong at IU, one area of improvement is in the undergraduate general education requirements.  This intern will work closely with IPE and a small group of faculty to develop and steward a proposal to include sustainability as a "shared goal" within the IUB general education curriculum. The intern will also support sustainability teaching and research grant programs, as well as a summer faculty workshop on sustainability teaching. Finally, the student may be involved in attracting, coordinating and hosting sustainability speakers.

Candidates should be interested in sustainability research and teaching and sustainability in higher education.  The student will work directly with the Director of the Integrated Program in Environment, Sarah Mincey. Excellent organizational skills, writing, and public speaking ability are required.

This student will assist in managing the Indiana Sustainability Development Program (ISDP) throughout the academic year. ISDP partners with Indiana-based private, public, and nonprofit organizations to place sustainability students across the State to provide solutions-based sustainability expertise during the summer. The ISDP Program Management intern will be responsible for promoting the program in a variety of ways, supporting the Program Manager's vision and exploring opportunities to advance our statewide impact. This student will concentrate on partner recruitment in the fall by reaching out to prospective hosts and evaluating partner applications. This students will also support student recruitment by means of student outreach, alumni engagement, and application review as well as planning and preparing for the 3-day sustainability training, Boot camp, through the spring semester. 

Attendance at recruitment events, student clubs, involvement fairs, and other events is an important part of this work and may require occasional evening or weekend work. This position is responsible for engaging with a wide variety of groups, so applicants must be self-driven, effective communicators, and comfortable in a variety of settings. Successful applicants will thrive on collaboration, comfortable with public speaking, highly organized, self-started, and have experience with document management, detailed record keeping, event management, and other duties as assigned.

Qualified applicants must be ISDP alumni or have the intent of completing an ISDP externship before the 2020-2021 school year. Note: ISDP externship applications are separate from Sustain IU internship applications. This intern will be mentored by Danni Schaust, ISDP Program Manager at Sustain IU.

Sustain IU

Office of Sustainability
704 E. 10th Street
Bloomington, IN 47408
Phone: 812.855.9195