Sustainability Internships

The Office of Sustainability partners with the Student Sustainability Council and the Tracy Farmer Institute for Sustainability and the Environment (TFISE) to provide exciting and meaningful undergraduate internship opportunities.

The application period for the 2018-2019 internship program has closed. Applications for the 2019-2020 program will be announced in February 2019.


2018-2019 Position Descriptions 


Urban Forest Initiative: The Urban Forest Initiative (UFI) connects people to the urban forests of UK campus, Lexington and the Bluegrass Region through community outreach, research and education. 

Major responsibilities:

  • Assist with outreach and education projects, represent UFI at campus and community events, and engage with the public through social media.
  • Work in partnership with the UFI core team and working group members within the Lexington community to elevate the visibility and health of the urban forest in our community.
  • Develop an independent project that builds on the intern’s skills and interests while enhancing some aspect of the urban forest canopy or the public’s engagement with it.

Waste Reduction - Recycling and Reuse: This intern will assist the University Recycling Coordinator with a wide variety of waste reduction initiatives including recycling, reuse and composting. 

Major responsibilities: 

  • Develop outreach efforts including social media accounts, website updates, tabling and print media.
  • Other tasks relating to waste reduction initiatives on campus.
  • Develop an independent project focused on improving waste reduction on campus working in partnership with the University Recycling Coordinator, Sustainability Coordinator and other stakeholders

Energy - Efficiency and Conservation: This intern will assist the University Energy Engineer with the implementation of energy efficiency and conservation projects. 

Major responsibilities:

  • Assist with data collection and analysis.
  • Develop an independent project focused on improving efficiency and conservation relative to campus energy use in partnership with the University Energy Engineer, Sustainability Coordinator and other stakeholders.

Water Systems: The Water Systems Working Group is committed to promoting water-related research, education, and outreach. 

Major responsibilities:

  • Assist in the development of the Kentucky Master Naturalist Program.
  • Support planning of activities and support UK’s Water Week.
  • Develop an independent project designed to help educate faculty, staff, students, and the public about the Kentucky Master Naturalist program.

Built Environment: The Built Environment Working Group is an interdisciplinary group with collaborations throughout campus and the broader community, focused on bringing sustainable design to areas of Lexington. 

Major responsibilities:

  • Support planning and coordination of special events, such as Design Week
  • Document and promote Design Week activities on social media
  • Develop an independent project that builds upon the intern’s skills, interests, and career goals while enhancing the Built Environment Working Group’s efforts

Food Systems Initiative– Assessing the Benefits of Local Foods: The Food Systems Initiative connects UK’s work on local and sustainable food systems with the needs of food producers, buyers, and consumers on and off campus.  Its mission is linked with that of the Food Connection, located in The 90. 

Major responsibilities:

  • Synthesize existing information and gather new data to evaluate claims of benefits from local food systems.  Help write a publication for lay audiences evaluating the individual and community benefits of local food systems.
  • Serve as a liaison to student organizations to increase participation in the Food Connection’s student-oriented events.
  • If willing, participate in a “10% local food” diet, and document the experience through the Food Connection’s social media postings.
  • Assist with food and venue logistics for the First Friday speaker series.