UNH Sustainability Fellowships pair exceptional students from across the U.S. with partner organizations throughout New England to work on transformative sustainability initiatives each summer. Sustainability Fellowships are structured around three basic tenets:
First, that the most powerful learning and professional development opportunities are experiential.
Second, that small investments made in getting initial, catalytic projects off the ground are essential to long-term success in comprehensive sustainability leadership efforts.
Third, that sustainability as a field is inherently interdisciplinary and relies on effective collaboration.
Sustainability Fellowships at a Glance
Ten-week fellowship program (over 12 weeks) May 26 – August 14, 2020
Projects proposed by Host partners
Projects developed to catalyze long-term change, to create leadership opportunities for Fellows, and to seed collaboration among partners
Fellows: graduate level, recent graduates, and exceptional undergraduate students
Fellows recruited nationally with specific skills and experience tailored to the needs of each project
Fellows work on-site full-time with host organizations, and also engage in professional development programming coordinated by UNH
Fellows employed by UNH and receive a $6,500 stipend
$5,000 Host partner investment; grants available to reduce cost share
Small cohort model to provide high-level support and training, Fellows are co-mentored by UNHSI and host organizations and advised by Fellowship alumni throughout the summer
Partner organizations interested in hosting a fellow are invited to propose fellowship projects to be mentored jointly by the partner and UNHSI. Projects might involve research, outreach, or program implementation, and should focus on an aspect of sustainability. Ideal fellowship projects include the following characteristics:
The project is likely to catalyze long-term, substantial change, and/or to establish a replicable model.
The work is challenging, in-depth, and the selected fellow can assume significant ownership.
The outcomes are tangible and can be completed during the fellowship term.
The fellow’s time and expertise are critical to completing the work.
Mentors are invested in the outcome of the project as well as the fellow’s experience.
Partner organizations have a demonstrated structure in place to support and supervise a fellow.
Because the program emphasizes collaboration, projects are also selected based upon their potential to complement one another. As such, it may also be helpful to consider:
The program routinely includes projects focused on greenhouse gas accounting and emissions reduction, climate science, renewable energy, energy efficiency, transportation, climate outreach, green finance, climate resilience, sustainable food systems, land use, and public health. Please get in touch to discuss if you have an idea for a project in another topic area.
All fellowships will be located in New England, and fellowships in geographic proximity to one another (regardless of topic area) are highly encouraged. Consider suggesting that other organizations in your local area host a fellow.
Co-Supporting the Sustainability Fellowship Program
Fellows earn a $6,500 stipend for their work, and are responsible for covering their own living expenses for the summer.
Host partners are asked to provide $5,000 in matching funds in support of their fellow’s stipend.
Organizations may apply for grants to reduce their match contribution. Grant funds are prioritized for first-time Fellowship hosts, non-profits, small communities, and other organizations with limited resources.
Host partners are expected to cover all project-related expenses.
Through the generous support of the program’s sponsors, UNHSI is able to fund networking events and professional development opportunities, travel for fellows and mentors to participate in program events, travel for fellows from outside of New England to participate, administration of the program, and a portion of each fellow’s stipend.
Through this model, UNHSI and host partners are mutually invested in the learning experience of each Fellow, and the impactful outcome of each project.
What our Partner Organizations are saying about their Sustainability Fellows
Thank you for orchestrating the fellowship process - recruiting excellent candidates and streamlining the hiring and project development process. BED was confident that we’d land with an exceptional young and emerging professional, and that the effort on our part would be well worth the time... It is encouraging to know that Annika – and her fellowship peers – are now all the more prepared to grow into leadership and professional roles that will better address the challenges ahead and contribute to the wider social good.
– Jennifer Green, Sustainability Officer, City of Burlington
Cassidy provided an outstanding presentation to the Lebanon City Council last evening. Like a “seasoned professional” – very polished!! Kudos to her and the support she has received from UNHSI beyond our mentoring... Cassidy’s effort has already resulted in the City Manager requesting that department work plans include initiatives that propose reductions to existing GHG emissions.
– Mark Goodwin, Environmental Planner, City of Lebanon
Sustainability Fellowship Timeline
December 2 Project proposals due
December 20 Projects selected
January 13 Fellowships announced
February 10 Fellowship applications due
March Fellow interviews
April 3 Selections finalized
April 30 Final work plans due
May 26 – 28 Fellows Orientation in Durham NH (Mentors attend May 27)
June 1 – August 14 Fellowship term
July 10 Mid-term Poster Session in Durham NH (Mentors attend either mid-term or final presentations, welcome to both)
August 7 Presentations in Durham NH (Mentors attend either mid-term or final presentations, welcome to both)
Roles and Responsibilities
UNHSI administers the Sustainability Fellows program. We work with partners to develop a portfolio of complementary fellowship projects, and we take the lead on recruiting fellows. UNHSI organizes networking and professional development opportunities, provides mentorship, and administers hiring/payroll. Specifically, UNHSI commits to:
- Market fellowships to top students across the US, assemble a pool of talented applicants with skills and experience tailored to each project, screen applications, present each partner with recommended candidates, and coordinate interviews with partner participation.
- Work with partners to craft detailed 10-week work plans for each project.
- Host program events including a three-day orientation, weekly webinars or advisory group meetings, a mid-term poster session, and a final presentation event.
- Provide access to UNHSI staff and faculty, coordinate peer advising by alumni, and facilitate collaboration across the network of partners, fellows, alumni, and UNH.
- Conduct all necessary administrative paperwork to hire and compensate fellows.
- Coordinate evaluations at the end of the fellowship term.
Fellows are primarily dedicated to their assigned project throughout the summer, and receive a $6,500 stipend for their participation in the program. In addition, fellows participate in a variety of networking and professional development activities and present their work at multiple stages. Specifically, fellows are expected to:
- Attend a 3-day orientation at UNH prior to the start of the fellowship term.
- Work full-time, on-site at the partner organization for the term of the fellowship. The total time commitment for fellows is 10 weeks / 400 hours, the majority of which is spent at their host site, with the exception of 5 days of training, networking, and presentations at UNH, and 1-2 hours per week connecting virtually with their cohort.
- Complete a fellowship project according to the work plan (with adjustments as necessary).
- Participate in weekly webinars or advisory group meetings.
- Present work at mid-term and final presentation events at UNH.
- Engage in additional professional development, networking, and advisory activities as offered.
- Provide and receive feedback at the end of the fellowship.
Partners are primarily responsible for the design of the fellowship projects, and for the day-to-day oversight of the fellows. If your project is selected, you’ll have world-class talent dedicated to your project throughout the summer. You’ll be asked to participate in the selection, planning, networking, and most importantly, to prioritize the meaningful mentorship of your fellow. Specifically, partner organizations commit to:
- Provide input to the interview and selection process.
- Work with UNHSI to ensure that the work plan and products will be beneficial to the partner organization and intellectually stimulating for the fellow; a final, UNHSI-approved work plan should be submitted by April 30.
- Designate one staff member to serve as the primary fellowship mentor, to provide project guidance, to be accessible on a day-to-day basis as needed, and to reserve one hour per week at a minimum for a regularly scheduled dedicated check-in with the fellow.
- Encourage the fellow’s participation in training and networking opportunities provided by UNHSI, mid-term and final presentations, and additional activities relevant to the fellow’s project and/or career.
- Ensure that the mentor, or an involved proxy, participate in orientation (May 27), as well as either the mid-term poster session (July 10) or the final presentation event (Aug 7). (Travel support for attending the required events will be available from UNHSI.)
- Be available for 2-3 coordination calls with UNHSI, and provide two brief written updates on the fellow’s progress over the course of the summer.
- Actively connect with other fellows and partners throughout the network.
- Provide the fellow with an adequate workspace, computer, phone, travel funds, and other necessary resources and contacts required for the successful completion of the project. If the fellow has a disability, the partner organization will make reasonable accommodations.
- Provide and receive feedback at the end of the fellowship term.
We'd love to hear from you. Contact Megan Carney to learn more, or discuss your project ideas.