UC creates President’s Sustainability Student Fellowship/Internship Program

Jan 18, 2015

The University of California has created the President's Sustainability Student Fellowship/Internship Program to support UC's goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2025.

The UC Office of the President will provide $7,500 to each of UC's 10 campuses, as well as the Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, to fund student awards in support of UC's Carbon Neutrality Initiative and other university sustainability efforts. Awards could be made as early as late February.

The program was inspired by UC's Global Food Initiative fellowship program, through which 54 students across the university system have received $2,500 awards to support projects that further the food initiative's goals.

UC President Janet Napolitano said she hopes this new program will spark a similar universitywide interest among students in advancing UC's carbon neutrality goals.

"It is essential that we harness the passion and creative energy of our students as we look for new ways to reduce the carbon footprint of our campuses, our communities, our country and the world,” Napolitano said. “I am hopeful that these awards will galvanize student activity.”

The program will be open to both undergraduate and graduate students, and will be administered at each location to ensure that student efforts align with local needs. UC locations will also have flexibility in determining the number of awards to issue.

At each UC campus, one award recipient will be designated to support student engagement and communications for the Carbon Neutrality Initiative and the President's Global Climate Leadership Council, which was created in 2014 to guide UC's efforts on climate action and sustainability.

Since President Napolitano launched the Carbon Neutrality Initiative in fall 2013, UC has achieved several key milestones, including:

  • Creation of the President's Global Climate Leadership Council, which is now mapping out UC's long-term strategy for achieving university-wide carbon neutrality.
  • Becoming a wholesale power provider, a move that has allowed UC to begin supplying electricity to some of its campuses and medical centers. The change allows UC to make renewables a bigger portion of its power supply and brings energy price transparency to its electricity purchases.
  • UC signed an agreement with Frontier Renewables for the largest solar energy purchase by any higher education institution in the United States. As a result, a significant share of UC electricity will come from solar power beginning in 2016.


By Pamela Kan-Rice
Author - Assistant Director, News and Information Outreach