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 campus and as practitioners in implementing measures to advance campus sustainability. Co-mentored by staff in operations and faculty members, students conduct research and develop programming that aligns with IU's commitment to sustainability.

The internship experience

Receive mentorship

Interns are mentored by a designated Sustain IU staff member. Additionally, for certain internship topic areas, interns will receive mentorship from staff in operations and faculty members. A strong mentorship connection opens students to the knowledge gained from decades of experience and affords interns the chance to develop professional and networking skills.

Work independently

With guidance from their mentor(s), students will complete much of their internship work independently, whether in the E-House or elsewhere. Self-motivated students will thrive in this environment. Interns work 20 hours/week in the summer and around 12-15 hours/week during the academic year.

Develop connections

Interns participate in a weekly seminar designed to provide a background in sustainability and a forum for collaborating. By engaging with the full intern cohort in the seminar and in field trips, interns will forge connections with peers with common interests.

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. The heart of our internship is to give students opportunities to apply what they are learning in the classroom to the real world, whether on or off campus. Using the campus as a learning lab, our students lead change in the areas of transportation, energy, food, recycling, and more.

Meet our Current Interns


Read more about our internship positions


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.

This intern will continue the work of previous Zero Waste interns, improving and developing programs to reduce the waste stream, improve reuse programs and services, and improve the recycling landscape on campus (including composting), through education, trainings, infrastructure, and planning.

Successful applicants will: Have strong interest in waste and recycling. Be highly organized, self-motivated, and have strong collaborative and communication skills. Be adaptable to rapidly shifting work priorities. 

This intern will work across commitment areas to increase participation in sustainability on campus, focused on short and long term engagement and behavior change initiatives. 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. This intern will also serve as a liaison for various student groups, including Greek organizations and Eco Reps.

Duties will include 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. 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 campus with the needs of IU Landscape Services, which works to maintain and enhance the beauty and function of the Bloomington campus landscape. Under the direction of the co-chairs, the intern will be expected to assist in the coordination of campus tree inventories including supporting the analysis, evaluation, and preparation of reports from GIS data from IUB and IU's 5 regional campuses. 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. Opportunities to coordinate tree plantings and invasive removal events for Earth Month, Sustain IU Week, and campus service days will also be available. This will require planning, marketing, and recruiting volunteers for service learning experiences. 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.


The Sustainability Reporting and Data Analysis Intern will support data collection and analysis for the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) report, among other Sustain IU initiatives. STARS is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance. Data collection will include research of practices existing at Indiana University as well as data cleaning, sorting, and analysis. Research may be completed via online sources or contact with on-campus representatives. Categories of work could include Academics (curriculum and research), Engagement (on-campus and off-campus), Operations, Planning & Administration, and Innovation & Leadership. Opportunities may exist to support greenhouse gas emissions inventories and transportation-specific initiatives. 

Successful applicants will: Have strong familiarity with Excel, attention to detail, and the willingness to sort through thousands of data pieces. Be highly organized, self-motivated, and have strong analytical skills. Have an interest in a variety of sustainability areas, but be willing to dig more deeply into some categories. Be adaptable to rapidly shifting work priorities. 

This intern is mentored by the Assistant Director of Sustainability Geory Kurtzhals. 

The Sustainable Campus Systems Intern will work with diverse campus units, including Residential Programs and Services, Auxiliaries, Athletics, Academic groups, and Building Services to embed sustainability across IU's varied campus systems. Projects will be identified and assigned by Sustain IU Director of Sustainability. Potential projects could include: researching and supporting climate action planning at IU, school or unit-level greenhouse gas inventories, applying for grants, working with faculty and campus operations staff to find mutually beneficial class service learning opportunities, identifying corporate partnerships, etc. We're looking for a 'jack of all trades' student who is hard working and excited to learn about integrating sustainability into large and complex systems, such as a university campus, large corporation, or a municipality. This intern will report to Director of Sustainability Makayla Bonney.  

Successful applicants will: Be critical thinkers. Be polite, conscientious, and respectful of individuals from diverse disciplines or trades. Enjoy research and learning –including the ability to dig through various resource types such as peer-reviewed work, whitepapers, websites, etc. -- and writing summary reports. Applicants that do not have familiarity with data sorting, greenhouse gas inventories, or tools such as Tableau, Excel, etc. should be willing to invest time to learn on the job via trainings provided by IU. Applicants should be organized and eager to use project management or time management tools to guide their work. This applicant must be willing to work on diverse and perhaps random assignments, ranging from quick administrative tasks to complex research projects.

The Sustainability Intersections intern will focus their work on Sustain IU's goal to pursue sustainable solutions for the IU community that are just and equitable. Though the responsibility of just sustainability is embedded in -all- student and staff roles in Sustain IU, this particular position is new for Sustain IU. We are seeking a student who will help us define the position now and moving forward. This intern will identify and research the intersections of campus sustainability issues and diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice. This student will support Sustain IU in researching the ways in which campus sustainability challenges and solutions disproportionately affect vulnerable communities. Projects could include identifying, planning, and executing partnerships or events with IU Student Government, IU Cultural Centers, Themester, IU Cinema, Center for Excellence for Women in Technology, the Food Institute, etc. In addition to coordination and collaboration efforts, this student may hold responsibility for data assessment and reporting of sectors including equitable procurement, health impacts of climate change in Indiana, equitable commuting, etc.   

Successful applicants will: Be critical thinkers. Be polite, conscientious, and respectful of individuals from diverse disciplines or trades. Be willing to humbly learn from diverse audiences. Be attentive to details, deadlines, and time management. Be eager to explore event planning and executing events. Applicants that do not have familiarity with data sorting, data visualization through figures and tables, project management tools, Excel analysis, or social media story-telling should be willing to invest time to learn on the job via trainings provided by IU. We are seeking an outgoing student who is comfortable with and energized by meeting and speaking with folks from across IU's diverse communities, academic disciplines, and professional sectors.  

Sustain IU

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