The Office of Sustainability Internship Program blends real-world projects with practical skills-based professional development courses to prepare students for a career in the sustainability field.

By encouraging creativity, ownership, and collaboration, students will learn what it is like to enter a constantly changing world and work in a constantly changing field.

The primary goals of the program are to:

  1. Cultivate the skills needed by young sustainability professionals.
  2. Advance Virginia Tech’s sustainability goals through creative engagement.

Applications are now being accepted for the 2017-18 academic year.

Program Information
The Office of Sustainability is committed to providing a valuable experience by offering students the opportunity for rapid personal and professional growth. The projects the students take on, paired with professional development classes and other trainings, will allow students to both sharpen and expand their environmental professional skill sets.

The internship is an academic-year cohort-based program. To be eligible, students must:

  • Be an undergraduate student in good academic standing.

  • Be able to participate for both the fall and spring semester.

  • Be able to work seven to ten hours per week on internship related activities, including weekly meetings and workshops.

This is not a paid position and students will not receive academic credit; however, students will be able to build their resume with skills and experiences. The Office of Sustainability team members can also offer letters of recommendation and references for job, internship, or graduate school applications for all interns who successfully complete the program.

Applications for the 2017-18 academic year are being accepted until March 24. - 3/24. Interested students can apply online.

In-person interviews will take place during the first half of April. All applicants will be notified whether they've been accepted into the program by May 1. All students selected for the program are required to attend a mandatory meeting on Reading Day.

All interns are expected to attend the orientation sessions held at the beginning of the fall and spring semesters. These day-long sessions provide interns the opportunity to get to know their fellow interns, learn how to work with one another, and plan for the year. Both orientations are generally scheduled on a Saturday.

Interns are assigned to teams and each team is led by a student team leader who is responsible for facilitating meetings, tracking the overall success of projects, and reporting progress to the team advisor (an Office of Sustainability employee) and project stakeholders.

Each team is expected to meet for at least one hour per week with their team advisor, and all interns are required to attend a weekly coordination meeting to check in with the other teams.

Students are expected to do work on their own, outside of weekly team meetings.

In order for our intern projects to be successful in the coming year, we are seeking students who:

  • Have a passion for sustainability.

  • Have some previous knowledge of environmental issues.

  • Are creative, innovative, and not shy about voicing new ideas.

  • Have strong written and verbal communication skills.

  • Are outgoing and personable.

  • Work well in a team environment.

  • Are reliable and meet deadlines.

  • Are energetic and excited about taking on new challenges.

  • Conduct themselves in a professional manner.

  • Are not afraid to have fun while working hard.

Intern Teams
The intern cohort is broken into four teams, detailed below. Each team has one student who serves as team leader and another who serves as assistant team leader. Each team will report to their team advisor (an Office of Sustainability employee).

The Energy Outreach Team’s goal is to change behaviors of students so that they use (and waste) less energy in their everyday lives. They achieve this by planning a series of events and communication campaigns to engage students and educate them about better practices. In addition to working with Office of Sustainability staff and other intern teams, students work with the Students for Clean Energy group, as well as consult with Ruben Avagyan, the campus energy manager. The Energy Outreach team is responsible for the following events and outreach:

  • Residence Hall Energy Competition (three weeks in October/November).

  • Power down information campaigns during university breaks (November, December, and March).

  • Green living and energy database development for off-campus housing.

Key behaviors to focus on include:

  • Turning lights off when leaving rooms (classrooms, dorm rooms, houses, offices, etc.).

  • Unplugging electronics that are not in use.

  • Washing full loads of laundry on cold, and air drying clothes.

  • Closing fume hoods in laboratories.

  • Participating in activities that do not use electricity.

The Recycling Outreach Team’s goal is to change behaviors of students so that they reduce the waste  generated on a day-to-day basis. The focus is to teach the student body about practical applications of the phrase “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”. They achieve this by planning a series of events and campaigns that are intended to educate and engage students in the act of recycling, reusing, or reducing waste.

Key events include:

  • Assisting with the tailgate recycling (fall semester).

  • OZZI Machine campaigns (both semesters).

  • eARTh day Competition event (April).

Key behaviors to focus on include:

  • Educating students on single stream recycling dining halls and academic buildings.

  • Ordering food “for here” in dining halls.

  • Using reusable water bottles, coffee cups, cutlery, and to-go containers.

  • Using reusable shopping bags both on and off campus.

The Resident Outreach Team is responsible for coordinating events and information campaigns aimed at changing the personal behaviors of students living on campus in residence halls and Oak Lane. Students living on campus have less control over their living situations—they cannot change their lights or turn down the thermostat. They have to eat on campus, rather than go shopping for their own meals. This group provides students on campus information on ways to reduce their environmental impact on the things they have control over. In addition to working with Office of Sustainability staff and other intern teams, the Resident Outreach Team works with Housing and Residence Life staff and the residence advisors.

Key events and campaigns include:

  • Green Room certification (fall).

  • Spring cleaning/Ytoss event (late spring).

  • Thrift Swap events (both semesters).

  • Partnering with residence advisors on educational campaigns (both semesters).

Key behaviors to focus on include:

  • Taking recycling down to outdoor dumpsters.

  • Donating unwanted furniture and other items to Ytoss.

  • Utilizing thrift stores and upcycling items.

  • Oak Lane sustainability initiatives (working with Greeks Going Green).

The Communications Team is responsible for supporting the energy, recycling, and resident teams in their design, social media, and marketing needs. The main goal of the Communications Team is to elevate the internship program’s work to all university audiences, and to promote student events on campus. Knowledge of Photoshop, Illustrator, or other design programs is required.

Responsibilities include:

  • Collecting social media content from the other three teams.

  • Curating and coordinating content on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

  • Working with the other three teams to create posters, table cards, and other marketing materials.

  • Photographing and filming key events and editing educational videos to be shared campus-wide.

  • Designing other office marketing and educational materials as requested.

Meet the Office of Sustainability Internship Program's previous intern teams: