Students visiting vendor booths at the pop-up farmers market on the drillfield

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 closed for the 2018-19 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.

Hear more from our 2017-18 cohort on what it means to be a Student Sustainability Intern!

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. We partner with Career and Professional Development in their Cooperative Education & Internship Program. The internship will appear on your transcript with zero academic credit, and at no cost to students. Students will receive professional development trainings and will be able to build their resume with skills and experiences. The Office of Sustainability staff 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 open each spring for the following academic year.

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 teams based on topic areas of interest. Topic areas include energy, water, waste, food and people. Each team has one student who serves as team leader and another who serves as a communications representative. The team leader is responsible for facilitating meetings, tracking success of projects, and reporting progress to the team advisor. Each team will report to their team advisor (an Office of Sustainability employee). The communications representative is responsible for social media management, graphic design, photography, and content creation. Each communications representative will have a different set of skills.

Intern teams will work on a variety of tasks, including:

  • Partner Projects: Teams will partner with various departments such as Energy Management, Stormwater Management, Sustainable Dining, and Housing & Residence Life to complete technical projects.
  • Education & Outreach: Teams will plan and execute outreach events in partnership with community organizations such as The YMCA, Town of Blacksburg, and Blacksburg Farmers Market. Past events include Thrift Swaps, Pop-up Farmers Market, and seed plantings.
  • University-Wide Campaigns: Teams will assist in executing large-scale campaigns including Earth Week, Sustainability Week, and RecycleMania.

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