Student-Initiated Leadership Projects

Ecolab Student-Initiated Sustainability Leadership Projects

Ecolab Student-Initiated Sustainability Leadership Projects

These scholarships support students who need funding to free themselves up to spend time leading projects to address environmental grand challenges. Projects can be led on or off campus, but student applicants must identify a UMN Faculty or staff person who is able to serve as project advisor. The project advisor will be asked to provide guidance to the student during the project and complete a brief evaluation of the student’s project.

Click on the drop-downs below to learn about opportunities for the academic year and the summer.

Undergraduate Leaders Program – Fall through Spring Student-Initiated Leadership Projects (Full Academic Year)

Fall through Spring Student-Initiated Leadership Projects are coordinated through the IonE Undergraduate Leaders program. The leaders will work on projects that are related to the IonE Environment’s Impact Goals around sustainable land use, clean drinking water, and building a carbon neutral future. Applicants are encouraged to indicate their first and second choices among the existing projects listed on the IonE Undergraduate Leaders website to work during the academic year. Students may also propose their own projects within the scope of IonE impact goals. We welcome students to work in groups as well as individually. 

Award: Up to $2,000 

Application Opens: August 26, 2021
Application Deadline: September 16, 2021
Successful applicants are notified: October 2, 2022

Program Details:

  • Leadership Projects take place over the Academic year (October – May)
  • Leaders with complete a total of 120 hours (including cohort and coaching meetings) 
  • Leaders will attend:
    • Orientation (Saturday, October 9, 1 – 4 pm)
    • Cohort programming (Mondays, from October 25 – March 21, 6 – 8 pm)
  • Preview past leadership projects

Application Process: 

  • First you must apply to the IonE Undergraduate Leaders program on the program page, then the the Ecolab Scholarship by September 15, 2021
  • Candidates may be asked to participate in an online interview as part of the selection process
  • Selected candidates for both Ecolab scholarship and the IonE Undergraduate Leadership 

* Scholarship recipients will receive the scholarship funding when starting the project. 

* Selected Ecolab Scholars will also attend the Ecolab Scholars Cohort Program for the 2021-22 school year!

Questions about any of these scholarships can be sent to

Questions about the IonE Undergraduate Leaders program can be directed to Kathryn Burden at

Summer Student-Initiated Leadership Projects (Sustainability Corps)

Award: Up to $2000

Application Opens: February 1, 2022

Application Deadline: March 31, 2022

  • Students applying for Student-Initiated Sustainability Leadership Projects should be able to start their project in early June, and be able to complete them by early August. 
  • Students will attend an orientation (June 1st 10am-12pm) and cohort programming (Wednesdays from June 6-August 12).

Application Process: 

  • First, students must have a project advisor to coach/mentor the project. Preferably a UMN faculty member.
  • Projects should be well-planned and of reasonable scope for the time allotted.
  • Click here to preview the application questions.
  • Complete the online application form by March 1, 2022.

Ecolab Scholars will attend Ecolab Scholars cohort programming throughout the 2022-23 school year.


Questions about any of these scholarships can be sent to

See responses to common questions on the FAQ page.

I have been interested in working to promote sustainability for several years, and have attempted to incorporate this desire into everything I do at the University of Minnesota because I believe that this is extremely relevant to our future.

Clara Holder