Experiential learning through real-world solutions
The Office of Sustainability Student Internship Program provides opportunities for experiential learning and professional development while making a positive and tangible impact within the University of Georgia and Athens communities. The Office of Sustainability partners with campus and community organizations to identify real-world challenges and develop sustainable solutions. Leadership training is enhanced through a collaboration with J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development.
Are you a student who would like to apply for a sustainability internship position?
The Office of Sustainability is committed to cultivating an inclusive, diverse and respectful workplace. All current students are welcome and encouraged to apply. Applications for Spring Semester 2024 are due by November 3, 2023.
Waste Reduction Infrastructure Intern
Intern will work directly with Waste Reduction Services team members to enhance safety and efficiency in UGA’s exterior waste collection infrastructure for recycling, landfill, and compost waste streams. Anticipated projects include assessing existing campus dumpsters; identifying priority locations for repairs and/or replacement with smaller roll carts to allow safer, more efficient collection; planning and design of new roll cart locations; a stakeholder communications plan; and cost / benefit analyses of proposed strategies. Candidates should be organized, systems-oriented, hands-on and self-directed with effective written and verbal communication skills and a passion for waste reduction.
Campus Compost Intern
Intern will co-lead the tricycle-powered UGA Campus Compost Program including physical collection of compost bins from 100+ campus locations, communication with program participants, mapping and data collection, and compost promotion at UGA. Candidates must have a passion for composting and engaging with others, be a safe and confident bicyclist, have a valid driver’s license, enjoy working behind the scenes and getting your hands dirty (and smelly), be willing to work outdoors in less than ideal weather conditions, and able to lift up to 50 lbs.
Green Roof/Green Zone Intern
The Green Roof/Green Zone intern helps provide maintenance on 5 campus green roofs. Activities will include weed control, watering and assessing plant health, and reporting any needs to the Landscape Manager. This position will also help track data for UGA’s Green Zone initiative. The intern will help track the costs of using electric equipment vs gas-powered equipment and will work with the Landscape Manager in obtaining the most accurate data possible to assess the overall effectiveness of electric landscape management.
Water Safety and Efficiency Intern
The intern will work on developing water conservation strategies for responsible use and maintenance of mechanical and operational assets on campus. The main project will involve developing preventive maintenance strategies for cooling towers and other mechanical infrastructure campus wide. Candidates should have knowledge and skills in engineering, math, and comprehensive writing.
Green Labs Program Intern
This position will serve as UGA’s Site Coordinator for the International Laboratory Freezer Challenge, a global competition to improve the efficiency of cold storage in research laboratories. A single laboratory freezer can use the same amount of energy in a day as an entire American household, thus providing a great opportunity for optimization and lowering energy use in campus research labs. The candidate will assist campus researchers to take sustainable actions in their labs, teach researchers best practices, oversee all communications and outreach to participants, and manage all campus data related to the challenge. This position reports directly to the Green Labs Program Manager and must be a self-motivated individual with the ability to work independently. Preferred applicants will have laboratory experience, the ability to interact with the research community, and a passion for energy conservation.
Campus Pollinator Project Intern
Intern supports UGA’s Campus Pollinator Project and Committee and the Bee Campus USA Certification. Tasks include collaborating with committee members and programs, assessing, mapping and maintaining pollinator habitats, assisting with planting projects and plans in support of UGA’s Grounds Department, organizing volunteer events and student participation in managing and monitoring pollinators and their habitats, and creating educational materials that engage the campus community and make UGA a model Pollinator and Bee Campus. Each Spring the Pollinator Project hosts a campus-wide citizen science Pollinator Census that tracks pollinator activity. Students with experience in Horticulture, Ecology or Landscape Architecture preferred. Candidates should have rudimentary knowledge of pollinator species and habitats and possess strong computer and organizational skills. Experience with GIS is highly encouraged.
Clean Energy and Climate Solutions Intern
Intern will research, analyze and advance Clean Energy and Climate Solutions within UGA’s Facilities Management Division, with implications for adoption across UGA and the state of Georgia. Strategies will focus on electric vehicles and solar energy adoption. Skills applied to FMD Fleet Electrification goals may include vehicle selection (right size, right type assessments), charging infrastructure planning, total cost of ownership (ROI) and IRA funding opportunities. Skills applied to Solar Energy goals may include: developing a methodology and living lab approach to assessing UGA’s Rooftop Solar potential, assisting UGA navigate the SEPA procurement process, identifying core competencies for students interested in accelerating the solar energy marketplace in Georgia. This position plays a leadership support role to other interns, researchers and grant recipients across UGA advancing UGA Climate Solution initiatives.
Sustainability Metrics and GIS Intern
Intern will help to create and compile sustainability metrics, track sustainable change, and communicate stories and strategies using geospatial and other databases including: ArcGIS online, ESRI tools such as Story Maps, Fields Maps, and Survey 123, and data analytics tools such as QLIK. This position plays a leadership support role to other intern projects and the UGA Living Lab and will develop competencies and tutorials in data integration, analytics, and visualization for sustainable decision making. Projects will span multiple sustainability program areas and may include: clean energy, climate solutions and greenhouse gas inventories, electric fleet management, recycling, compost and waste reduction systems, campus landscape projects (arboretum, campus pollinator project, green zone), ecological restoration / resilient systems, and food systems and farming. Project outcomes will contribute to UGA’s GHG emissions tracking, STARS reporting, and other key sustainability assessments Candidates are encouraged to have basic knowledge or experience in one or more of the following skills: Geographic Information Systems, data analysis, data visualization / dashboards, and data storytelling.
Commissioning Rx Intern
Intern will work with UGA’s Commissioning Engineer and external consultants to develop a robust, in-house energy rebate application process. This will involve reviewing Georgia Power’s procedural documents, internal utility billing data, mechanical performance documents, and energy consumption data, providing the necessary data to consultants, updating the Commissioning Engineer, and completing the online applications with Georgia Power. Successful completion of the project will result in: energy rebates of up to tens of thousands of dollars which will help fund departmental growth and additional energy-saving work, a streamlined process for future employees to continue applying for rebates, and improved institutional knowledge of how our energy systems work to prioritize future energy-saving projects. Required knowledge and skills for this position include: knowledge of mechanical and energy systems (typically, this is gained from MECH engineering classes on energy, heat transfer, HVAC, sustainable design, energy), excellent communication skills in a professional/business environment, ability to read and understand procedural accounting/business documents, ability to create a streamlined process, and the confidence to develop a new process and work with external consultants/advisors and Georgia Power Account Managers.
Urban Agriculture Intern
Intern will report to UGArden staff and will be responsible for planning, planting, and maintaining the Geography Building Green Roof Garden and leading volunteer workdays. Intern will also help to coordinate and lead the University Village Community Garden including coordination of garden plots, educational events for participants, and hands-on support as needed. Candidates should have gardening experience, strong leadership and organization skills, a willingness to work outdoors in various weather, and a passion for people and local food systems.
Are you a campus or community partner that could benefit from a dedicated student intern?
Our Partnership for a Sustainable Athens provides meaningful support for campus and community partners working toward justice, sustainability, and resilience in the Athens area. Partners identify strategic priorities to advance their core mission.
Current and past interns
A listing of current and past student interns can be found in the Interns Directory.
Internship Program Details
In addition to completing specific tasks related to individual internship positions, each student intern will complete the following required activities:
Team-building gathering and dinner during an afternoon/evening before semester classes begin.
An individual work plan will be completed by each intern by the end of the second week of the semester. This document will be revised periodically to track project goals and expectations. The Internship Coordinator and/or direct supervisor will assist development of individualized work plans.
Weekly Cohort Meetings
Interns are required to participate in weekly meetings with fellow interns, Office of Sustainability staff, and occasional guests. Meeting topics include project updates, team building and problem-solving, leadership and professional development, and public speaking opportunities. Interns should come to meetings prepared with updates, questions, and input.
Interns evaluate their experience to date in the program and supervisors evaluate intern performance. Intern meets with the Internship Coordinator and/or primary staff supervisor to discuss evaluations.
At Semester in Review, which takes place on Reading Day, four to five interns will be selected to give oral presentations about their projects. All other interns will present a poster or other display of their project during the event.
Interns will document work completed, key contacts, and recommended next steps to help guide future interns or related projects.
Interns will complete a survey and evaluation of the program and their internship experience.
The Internship Coordinator is responsible for managing the overall program to ensure successful outcomes for student interns and partnering organizations. The Internship Coordinator provides direct supprt to student interns throughout their particip[ation in the program. In addition, each intern will report directly to a supervisor who will guide the intern in completing specific projects and tasks. Office of Sustainability staff are available to support and advise students throughout their internship.
Interns typically spend 10 hours per week working on a specified project and assisting the Office of Sustainability and/or patnering organizations as needed.
Interns must notify their direct supervisor and the Internship Coordinator in advance of an absence. Attendance at the weekly All Intern Meeting is a required part of this internship and is included in the 10 working hours per week; please do not schedule doctor, dentist or other appointments during this time unless you are ill.
Paid interns are required to complete an I-9 Form through Facilities Management Division Human Resources to be onboarded into the UGA payroll system. Interns will be required to provide 1) a current resume with appropriate address, 2) a passport or picture ID and Social Security Card, and 3) a UGA ID number.
Interns are paid bi-weekly as hourly employees through the OneUSG Connect System. In order to be paid, student interns must directly input their hours into their timesheet. Interns are also responsible for ensuring that their bank information and emergency contacts are up to date. Employees, including student workers, can log on to check payroll and other information through OneUSG COnnect.
All interns are asked to assist with at least one Office of Sustainability event during the semester. Events and community service opportunities will be announced throughout the semester. Interns are encouraged to support their peers and to participate in service events while also maintaining personal health and academic success.
Some degree programs require an internship. Students are encouraged to initiate opportunities for relevant academic course credit through their college or school. To date, credit internships have been arranged through the Odum School of Ecology, College of Environment + Design, College of Public Health, Grady College of Journalism & Mass Communications, and others.