Campus as a Living Lab (CLL)

Two participating CLL students holding hands as they sit on grass.

About the Program

UCI’s “Campus as a Living Lab” (CLL) program is a hybrid seminar and internship experience that offers a unique interdisciplinary opportunity for undergraduates to become sustainability leaders on campus while preparing for the green careers of the future. The program is a coordinated in partnership among UCI Biological Sciences, UCI Sustainability Resource Center, and UCI Housing Sustainability.

Students can participate in a three quarter seminar that introduces sustainability concepts and how they can be applied to our most pressing environmental, social, and economic challenges. Concurrently, each student partners with a UCI staff member working to improve the sustainability of campus operations, systems, and practices through applied projects. The desired outcome is for students to gain hands-on experience and conduct applied research and projects to meet actual needs. The collaboration also aims to provide critical capacity to support project sites in initiating or furthering sustainability efforts. Past project sites have included UCI-Nature, Dining, Housing, Physical & Environmental Planning, Facilities Management, and the Sustainability Resource Center.

The CLL program gives students valuable skills in project management, research, community outreach, and grant applications, preparing students for the growing “green jobs” market. CLL students help UCI achieve its campus sustainability goals and gain recognition as a sustainability leader. On-campus projects make direct and substantial contributions to UC sustainability commitments, such as the Carbon Neutrality Initiative, the Global Food Initiative, and the Sustainable Practices Policy. CLL students have also applied for and won thousands of dollars in funding for their on-campus sustainability projects. Moreover, CLL helps UCI gain recognition for these sustainability efforts, helping our campus achieve the top spot in Sierra magazine’s “Coolest School” ranking for three years running, as well as our campus’ first-ever platinum rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s prestigious Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System.