This prestigious summer program (or winter, for students in the southern hemisphere) involves an exchange of student interns between the ten IARU institutions.
The campus sustainability exchange began in 2009, with the aim of promoting collaboration between member institutions and developing and sharing best practices strategies in environmental management. During a six week internship placement, students work closely with professionals at the host university to support the development and implementation of campus sustainability projects. Selected students live in campus housing and work in the university's sustainability office for the duration of the program.
Project topics range from energy conservation, transport and waste reduction to student outreach and community engagement. These projects have an operational focus and in most cases generate outcomes that can be applied more widely with lessons learnt brought back to the students’ home universities.
Thanks to the internships, students will strengthen their understanding of sustainability principles and their practical application while gaining an appreciation of the complexity and interdepartmental cooperation needed to successfully implement environmental initiatives.
SUSTAINABILITY FELLOWSHIP TESTIMONIALS
Benjamin Kobryner, Oxford
In the summer of 2016, having just completed my Geography degree, I was given the fantastic opportunity to spend some time working at the National University of Singapore. At university, I have developed a strong interest in the sustainability issues affecting our planet and this internship programme thus provided me with the chance to gain further (professional) insight in this field, with the hope of potentially starting a career in sustainability.
My main project at the Office of Environmental Sustainability focused on the Green Mark accreditation of university buildings and green building standards more generally. I was tasked with establishing what data was most important to capture and subsequently created a framework for a database that will be used to facilitate the comparison of the energetic performance of university buildings which have acquired Green Mark certification. Within my final report, I also identified commissioning programmes as a means of enhancing infrastructure sustainability. This work was very enriching as it required the use of both qualitative and quantitative research approaches and I was exposed to the particularities of an emergent industry. In addition to this project, I also contributed to the organisation of a tour for secondary school students that explained the sustainability features present in the new university campus. Whilst most of the day was spent conducting project research, completing data analysis and writing up my report, I frequently went to talks organised within the university and even in the centre of Singapore, including on water scarcity and the circular economy.
Settling into life in Singapore and at NUS could not have been easier thanks to all the great support I received from my supervisor, both in and outside of work. Overall, this internship has been a fantastic experience which I would highly recommend to anyone interested in sustainability, especially given the opportunity to simultaneously explore a new culture. I was very pleasantly surprised by Singapore, which is an incredibly vibrant country with numerous interacting cultures and great food.
Satowa Kinoshita, CambridgeI’m an undergraduate Natural Sciences student at Cambridge. I’ve always been interested in environmental sustainability, and how to make that more prevalent in all aspects of society, from daily personal life, to institutions and organisations. The internship in summer 2015 was a perfect opportunity not only to engage in a real project and make a difference, but also to learn about issues and strategies that another part of the world faced and utilized. In general, sustainability matters to me because I believe that the environment is crucial for human health, both physically and mentally, and we must protect it to prevent further curtailing the lifespan of the earth and life forms, including ourselves. I also believe that working towards environmental sustainability is a great opportunity for creativity and exciting innovations towards creating a system that is more caring and more livable. Between July and September 2015, I worked with the Office of Environmental Sustainability at the National University of Singapore (NUS), identifying and recommending measures to reduce the energy consumption of the University’s Central Library. I did this by measuring and analysing data of the building, such as energy consumption log, utility bills, temperature and humidity, as well as walking through the building, logging where energy was being wasted. In addition, I conducted research both through the internet but also some field visits to seek inspiration, and also took surveys of the staff to determine occupancy comfort of the present state of the building. I was able to produce a comprehensive report elucidating the current energy situation, such as the proportion for electricity vs air conditioning, as well as a detailed breakdown on where changes can be made. If the action points are followed, energy consumption could be cut down by at least 10% without any investment. I gained project management skills and communication by working with a range of people. I also gained first-hand experience of the issues that facilities management face and the operations of a building.
Ishbel Cullen, ANUFrom July to August of 2014 I lived and worked at the University of Cambridge as one of the IARU Sustainability Fellows. I worked for six weeks in the Environment and Energy Office on a project looking at Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE). POE is the process of systematically assessing building performance in-use, including a focus sustainability features. To complete the project I reviewed past approaches to POE, researched best practice for POE and make recommendations for how POE should be undertaken in the future at the University of Cambridge. I really enjoyed working on my project and my experience exceeded my expectations going into the fellowship. I was very grateful for the opportunity to undertake such interesting and challenging work. Giving my final presentation to a full room of senior staff was a particularly new and exciting experience. I loved living in Cambridge. It was very exciting to ride to and from work each day across the River Cam and past many of the historic colleges. Lunch times by the river, buying summer fruit from the market square and playing tennis in the long summer evenings were also highlights. Participating in the IARU Sustainability Exchange was a wonderful learning experience and a lot of fun!
Yin Yue, NUSFrom July 1st - August 11th 2014, the IARU Sustainability Fellowship in ANUgreen made my summer vocation fulfilling and joyful. I was part of the CREW Campaign (Campaign to Reduce Energy and Water), initiated by ANUgreen. This campus streetlight auditing project kept me busy. The campus streetlight infrastructure map and the database of streetlights’ condition were updated to the latest version. Based on the site data I collected, I did a comparative study on current energy consumption and replacement of LED lights. Living in a foreign country was an exciting experience. After office hours were spent with my friendly colleagues and friends from my residential hall. I picked up unique Australian food, sports, and outdoor activities easily as if I have known them for a long time. Office tea sessions and academic events provided me with great opportunities to meet and greet people with similar interests. My IARU-ANUgreen internship was not only about skills concerning campus sustainability management, but also a horizon broadening experience in seeing environmental and social aspects as an integrated entity. Getting involved in both office administration and student activities gave me lots of insights into ways to improve campus sustainability and environmental education.
Karolina Kalinowska, OxfordIn the summer of 2013 I was fortunate enough to become part of the team at ANUgreen, working on projects both for IARU and for the ANU. My first project involved creating a comprehensive format and template for a guidebook that IARU produced as a preview to the 'Making Universities Sustainable' Conference in 2014. I also contributed to the initial stages of its production. My second project involved beginning a campaign to promote tap water and the water bubblers installed around the ANU campus. I also sat in on the sustainability team’s meetings to gain insight into how the team worked. The fellowship was not only a chance to immerse myself in campus sustainability but also to explore a completely different part of the world – its culture, wildlife and landmarks – weekends were definitely for travelling! Overall I had a fantastic experience, amongst wonderful people, in a stimulating environment. This invaluable opportunity has already opened so many doors for me – I became part of my home university’s sustainability team as a year-round intern!
Natalia Weir, ANUIn the middle of 2012 I was chosen to take part in a Sustainability Fellowship at Yale University. I major in corporate sustainability, geography and human ecology. During my fellowship I developed a ten minute interactive multimedia presentation aimed at communicating environmental awareness to staff and students. The purpose of it was to highlight the interdisciplinary nature of Yale's sustainability initiatives in the local and global community. My second project involved creating a range of sustainability activities and games with the aim of raising environmental awareness in a fun and interactive manner. What better way to learn about sustainability than through fun and laughter? Some of the games that I developed were Sustainability Charades and Fishbowl. Much to my colleagues' delight I was required to trial the games at the weekly staff meetings. I had regular meetings with my supervisor who helped me along the way and took part in various planned activities such as a tour of a LEED Platinum certified building and volunteering at the organic Yale farm. Not only was this an amazing experience but I also made lifelong friends along the way. My evenings and weekends were spent hanging out with my newfound friends, we went berry picking and made jam and had regular board game and movie nights. ANU has opened up a world of opportunities for me that I never dreamed were possible and if you're interested in this program then definitely give it a go – you won't regret it.
Nikhila Ravi, CambridgeI'm studying Engineering at the University of Cambridge and I did an internship with ANUgreen, the Australian National University’s Sustainability Office in 2011. I helped to create an iPhone application called 'Green Key' which was launched on the Apple online store last year! The project was based on a student sustainability questionnaire developed by a previous intern, David Skophammer, from Yale University and the coding for the app was done by Victor Wibisono, a computer science student at the ANU. The aim was to create a way to assist residents of halls and colleges at the ANU to evaluate their energy and water consumption in their individual rooms. The app takes user inputs about energy and water consuming activities/devices and generates a score to reflect the student’s monthly energy and water usage and generates a score which they can then share amongst their peers via Facebook or other social networking sites. Overall I had a fantastic time at ANU and the team at ANUgreen were so friendly and welcoming! I also had the chance to travel to other parts of Australia and best of all, see the amazing wildlife. It was altogether an unforgettable summer!
Sean Pool, YaleI was a member of the first class of IARU sustainability fellows in the summer of 2007. After working in my home office, the Yale Sustainability Office, I spent the summer at the Australian National University’s Sustainability Office in Canberra, Australia examining the risks and costs of universities using voluntary carbon offsets to achieve carbon reduction goals. I was even invited to present to a graduate level class about my findings about opportunities and challenges in the global voluntary carbon offset market. I also spent one week at the National University of Singapore doing comparative analysis of the university's sustainability operations vis-a-vis Yale and the ANU. Thanks in part to the IARU Sustainability Fellowship program, I later went to work in federal energy and environmental policy at the Center for American Progress after my graduation from Yale in 2008.