The Sustainability Initiative has announced 2015-2016 Climate and Food Student Fellowship Opportunities. These opportunities are sponsored by the UC President’s Global Food and Carbon Neutrality Initiatives.
On the UC Irvine campus, six $4,000 fellowships are available. The fellowships are designed as on-campus internships to enable graduate and undergraduate students to contribute significantly to a select group of projects. The projects reflect some of the many ways our campus is mobilizing to achieve the underlying goals of the Global Food and Carbon Neutrality Initiatives.

Carbon Neutrality Initiative Fellowships

Click on the individual projects below for details.

Description: The UCI Regional Climate Resilience Project is an exploratory, community organizing project focused on climate change impacts, vulnerabilities, action, and activism from the deserts of Riverside County to the coast of Orange County, California. While climate change is a global problem, its effects are—and will continue to be—felt locally. Increasingly, municipalities are looking regionally for support, knowledge sharing, and partnership to address local climate challenges. Regional knowledge hubs, like the University of California, Irvine, can play an important convening, coordination, and scientific role in this work. The UCI Regional Climate Resilience Project seeks to better understand the matrix of existing activities regarding climate preparedness in Orange and Riverside Counties and their borderlands.
Student Project: To produce a broad inventory and analysis of the current state of climate planning (including mitigation, adaptation, and democratic decision making), activism, and action in Orange and Riverside Counties and their borderlands. This project may also include an assessment of existing collaborations, needs, and/or resources to maximize impact.
Project Supervisor: Kim Serrano, Academic Coordinator, Sustainability Initiative


Description: The UCI Climate Action Planning Project involves two participatory action planning processes on the UCI campus during academic year 2015-16 related to carbon neutrality and campus sustainability. First, during fall quarter, student leaders at the Global Sustainability Resource Center (GSRC) will convene a multi-day Student Congress on community visioning and action planning. The Congress will coalesce a student-driven agenda for campus community action in 2015-16 on a wide-range of issues in these broad areas of student concern. Second, during winter and spring quarters, the UCI Office of Environmental Planning and Sustainability, with support from the Sustainability Initiative, will lead a campus-wide participatory process on climate action planning, including a day-long charrette. The process will update UCI’s existing Climate Action Plan.
Student Project: To co-coordinate with fellow student leaders to create the fall quarter Student Congress and to work with UCI professional staff during winter and spring quarters to update UCI’s Climate Action Plan. Actions include research, stakeholder identification, outreach, program design and event planning, written and visual documentation, and follow up.
Project Supervisor: Abby Reyes, Director, Sustainability Initiative

Description and Student Project: Student selected to serve this project is expected to work with UCI’s Sustainability Initiative and Office of Environmental Planning and Sustainability to communicate about campus and UC-wide sustainability goals and programs, to assess existing programs and efforts, and to engage students in those efforts. The fellow should also enable and empower students to provide feedback about campus and UC-wide sustainability programs. In addition, the fellow is expected to help shape and participate in a UC system-wide discussion and communication process among fellows. This process will be facilitated and overseen by the student representatives to the UC President’s Global Climate Leadership Council, who will convene regular meetings with fellows from all campuses. During fall quarter, the fellow will be UCI’s key student leader to promote student participation in the Cool Campus Challenge, a quarter-long, system-wide campus competition to reduce individual eco-footprints and pledge steps toward carbon neutrality.
Project Supervisors: Abby Reyes, Director, Sustainability Initiative and an additional supervisor TBD based on student project focus

Global Food Initiative Fellowships

Click on the individual projects below for details.
Soil at Ecology Center

Description: UC Irvine hosts several urban agriculture efforts on campus, including multiple community gardens, a permaculture project, and an aquaponics project. The Global Sustainability Resource Center (GSRC) enables community skills sharing and education regarding sustainable and drought-friendly approaches to urban agriculture at these sites. GSRC hosts community seed-to-plate workshops on these skills together with a visiting eco-chef, and is increasingly being called upon to generate new learning opportunities in urban garden settings in broader Orange County. In addition, this winter quarter, together with a school-based center, GSRC will launch a new for-credit student internship to enable participating students to use the campus as a living laboratory for sustainability through urban agriculture.
Student Project: To work with sustainability faculty, staff, and fellow students to develop and carry out the UCI Garden Project. 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.
Project Supervisor: Fernando Maldonado, Program Manager, Global Sustainability Resource Center


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 2015-16, 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.
Student Projects: Two students will be selected for this project. The purpose of this internship 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. At the internship outset, each student will develop a narrowed scope of work related to this broad purpose based on student interest and campus need. Actions include communications, marketing, outreach, research, writing, event planning, community organizing, and network building. In addition, one of the two selected students will be chosen to be the UCI Student Engagement Campus Representative to the Global Food Initiative, a designation that includes additional responsibilities in communications and engagement with student fellows across the UC system.
Project Supervisors: Abby Reyes, Director, Sustainability Initiative, and an additional supervisor TBD based on student project focus

Program Details

Each internship runs from October 19, 2015 – June 10, 2016.
Each fellow will receive:

  • hands-on, project-based experience in the fellowship area;
  • approximately $4,000 in the form of a paid internship;
  • campus and university-wide recognition as a member of a select group of student leaders;
  • an opportunity to convene in person with carbon neutrality and food fellows from across the UC system at the beginning and end of the fellowship year;
  • an opportunity to participate in transformational sustainability leadership training;
  • an opportunity to participate in a system-wide student visioning and action planning process on climate change and food issues; 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 2015-16;
  • 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 10, 2016; and
  • write a short mid-term report (date TBD) and final report by June 10, 2016.


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 Sustainability Initiative. 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 your faculty adviser acknowledging your intention to pursue this opportunity.

Selection and Notification

The application period has now closed.  We received a high volume of excellent applications.  To accommodate review of the high volume, we now expect to notify successful applicants by Monday, October 19. The organizing committee for the administration of these fellowships at UC Irvine is comprised of staff members from the Office of the Vice Chancellor Student Affairs, Division of Undergraduate Education, Graduate Division, and the Sustainability Initiative. The organizing committee will review applications and recommend fellows to the faculty Executive Committee of the Sustainability Initiative for final confirmation.