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 for UK students.

These undergraduate internships are paid $11/hour for 8-10 hours per week from August 2021 - May 2022. Interns will work with a mentor on supporting a specific sustainability unit on campus, develop and independent project, and participate in a professional development series with the full cohort of interns. You may apply for multiple positions but must submit a separate application for each. For questions, please email Sophie Beavin. 

Applicants must be University of Kentucky undergraduate students enrolled in at least one class and have a graduation date no sooner than May 2022. 


Applications are closed for the 2021-2022 Sustainability Internship Program.

Applications will open in Spring 2022 for the following school year. Apply here. 

2021-2022 Positions 

1. Office of Sustainability: Communications and Programmatic Support

2. Campus Recreation and Wellness: Nature Rx Program

3. Dining: Food and Dining Sustainability Initiatives

4. Purchasing: Surplus and Reuse 

5. Purchasing: Sustainable Purchasing Policies

6. Athletics: Athletics Sustainability 

7. KY Climate Consortium Working Group

8. Recycling: Social Media and Outreach

9. Recycling: Programmatic Support (2 positions)

10. Transportation: Alternative and Multi-modal Transportation 

11. Urban Forest Initiative Working Group

12. Built Environment Working Group

13. Energy: Efficiency, Renewables, and Conservation 

14. Arboriculture: Campus Tree Management


2021-2022 Position Descriptions 


1. Office of Sustainability: This intern will work with the Office of Sustainability on communications and program development. Experience with graphic design and social media content creation is a plus. 

Major responsibilities

  • Assist with the development of new programs related to sustainability certifications on campus (ex-Green Office Certification Program)
  • Assist the Office communication efforts through graphic design, social media, and website updates 


2. Campus Recreation and Wellness: Student Wellness is looking for an intern to develop their Nature Rx initiative at UK. Ideal candidates will have a passion for nature, mindfulness, meditation, and marketing background. 

Major responsibilities

  • Research and explore other Nature Rx campus initiatives 
  • Gather UK related programs that could be used for consideration in the Nature Rx program
  • Participate in mindfulness related programs 
  • Create a marketing proposal for a branded UK Nature Rx program 
  • Create promotional materials to encourage participation in UK's Nature Rx
  • Establish a team to ensure collaboration and support for Nature Rx


3. Dining: This intern will assist Aramark's Sustainability Director with food and dining sustainability initiatives. Successful interns will be personable, mindful and creative; love food, people, and the planet; and have a strong desire for positive change. 

Major responsibilities

  • Provide an honest view of UK Dining sustainability initiatives from the student point of view 
  • Regularly provide feedback in a helpful manner with the overall goal of helping to enhance UK Dining sustainability efforts 
  • Participate in sustainability initiative planning sessions
  • Assist in efforts related to local food procurement and food insecurity initiatives
  • Assist with ongoing efforts such as outreach, composting, and waste reduction


4. Purchasing - Surplus/Reuse: this intern will assist the Purchasing team with University surplus and reuse initiatives.

Major responsibilities

  • Assist with University reuse and surplus programming including auctions, bids, donations, and reuse
  • Assist with developing partnerships, outreach materials, and educational tools around reuse initiatives


5. Purchasing - Sustainability Purchasing Protocols: This intern will assist the Purchasing team with the development of sustainable purchasing policies for the University. 

Major responsibilities

  • Gain experience working with policies and processes for prioritizing sustainability metrics in an e-procurement system
  • Assist in expanding supply-chain diversity to increase BIPOC vendors and businesses
  • Research sustainable purchasing policies, protocols, and best practices
  • Develop guidelines and recommendations for UK's procurement policies 


6. Athletics: This intern will assist the Director of Facility Operations for UK Athletics on a variety of sustainability initiatives. This positions will require working some nights and weekends. 

Major responsibilities

  • Research other University athletic sustainability initiatives and best practices
  • Assist with developing programs, events, and policy recommendations for UK Athletics sustainability
  • Support the ongoing programs of UK Athletics as needed 


7. KY Climate Consortium Working Group: This intern will assist the Kentucky Climate Consortium (KYCC) Working Group with their efforts on providing Kentuckians access to reliable, accessible, and relevant information about the climate. Ideal candidates will have experience with or interest in learning how to communicate about scientific topics, write website copy, use a website content management system, and manage event logistics.

Major responsibilities

  • Research and explore other statewide climate research initiatives
  • Read and watch materials on climate science and climate change to further understand underlying scientific, social, and economic issues
  • Contribute to climate-related teaching materials for college classes 
  • Contribute to the monthly KYCC newsletter
  • Support planning and logistics for the Fall and Spring meetings of the full KYCC membership 


8. Recycling - Social Media and Outreach: This intern will assist the University Recycling Coordinator with a wide variety of waste diversion initiatives including recycling, reuse, and composting through social media and outreach. 

Major responsibilities

  • Develop outreach campaigns for social media accounts (@ukrecycles)
  • Work with UK Recycling to create new website content 
  • Promote recycling with the UK community through tabling and print materials 
  • Help create and implement the American Recycles Day Campaign and the Earth Day Campaign 


9. Recycling - Programmatic Support: These two interns will assist the University Recycling Coordinator with a wide variety of waste diversion initiatives including recycling, reuse, and composting through programmatic support.

Major responsibilities

  • Work to continue previous intern programs and initiatives such as the Waste Reduction Week which include the Fix-It Festival, a pop-up thrift store, and a film festival 
  • Assist with the development of a campus Farmer's Market program 


10. Transportation: This intern will assist the Alternative Transportation Manager with multi-modal transportation efforts. 

Major responsibilities:

  • Provide programmatic support for alternative transportation programs (including but not limited to biking, walking, e-scooters, ride sharing, bus, etc.)
  • Assist with developing partnerships, outreach materials, and educational tools around multi-modal transportation initiatives


11. Urban Forest Initiative Working Group: The Urban Forest Initiative (UFI) connects people to the urban forests of UK campus, Lexington, and throughout the Commonwealth  through community outreach, training, and tree mapping.

Major responsibilities:

  • Assist with the development of UFI resources in support of urban and community forestry projects aimed at elevating the visibility of, and engagement with, trees in our towns and cities
  • Contribute to one or more facets of the UFI core team efforts in 2021-2022, such as tree mapping, analysis of tree species and size class diversity from a specific location, develop training materials (such as videos, fact sheets), social media outreach for Tree Week and/or UFI expert speaker series


12. Built Environment Working Group: The Built Environment Working Group at the Tracy Farmer Institute for Sustainability & the Environment (TFISE) is multidisciplinary group with collaborators from various departments such as the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, the College of Design, and the College of Engineering. The mission of the working group is to enhance experiential leaning by utilizing campus as a place to test ideas and apply ideas focused on biological sustainability, healthy communities, and beautiful places to develop long-term partnerships. This intern must be comfortable with generating maps and graphic communication material. The goals of this internship are: applied learning; research driven community engagement projects; and model and evaluate built environments to inform future learning.

Major responsibilities:

  • Participate in the Built Environment's planning sessions
  • Assist with the development, organization, and documentation of new design projects and competitions 
  • Assist with research and data collection
  • Assist with survey data, transcribe interviews and written reflections


13. Energy: This intern will assist the University Utilities and Energy Management group in their mission to provide safe, reliable, and resilient utilities and energy services to the campus with a commitment to sustainability and customer service. This position welcomes students from any major. 

Major responsibilities:

  • Contribute to supporting the UK Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Plan, energy efficiency practices, renewable energy opportunities, and conservation strategies
  • More specific responsibilities will be determined in partnership with UEM's Engineering Manager and will be developed to complement the skills and interest of the selected student


14. Arboriculture: This position is perfect for students who are interested in trees and urban forest management. Get direct experience learning about the care and management of UK's tree canopy.

Major responsibilities:

  • Work with the campus Arborist Team on maintaining UK's tree canopy
  • Learn skills such as pruning, tree climbing, wood chipping, chainsaw maintenance and safety, and stump grinding
  • Assist with tree plantings and removals
  • Work in the campus tree nursery 
  • Assist with the development of campus tree policies and programs 


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