Undergraduate Leaders Program

Group of students seated conversing amiably

Sustainability Education’s Undergraduate Leaders Program helps emerging undergraduate leaders become real-world change makers committed to solutions-focused leadership. It encourages holistic thinking and respects the diverse skills and perspectives each leader brings to the table. All undergraduates are welcome to apply.

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Deadline for 2018-2019 Cohort:  Sept 18, 2018

IonE Undergraduate Leaders: Convergence of Ideas and Action

What is the Undergraduate Leaders Program?

  • Undergraduate Leaders seek to advance their own leadership skills through individual practices and a project of their choice to help create the future.
  • Undergraduate Leaders program provides a cohort of student leaders who collaborate and share ideas to make  changes in our community.
  • Undergraduate leaders reflect together and learn about:
    • how we use lenses of equity, reciprocity, justice and diversity to define and think about sustainability
    • how science, creativity, art and diverse ways of knowing can be brought together to make sustainability more interdisciplinary and inclusive
    • how different versions of sustainability fit into the big picture governance and policy frameworks

What do members receive?

  • Cohort of leaders reflecting together on making change in the world.
  • Workshops with sustainability and leadership content and thought-provoking speakers.
  • A collaborative network of peers to take action on sustainability ideas and projects.
  • Funding is available for sustainability projects.

What are the commitments to be a member?

  • Attend all Undergraduate Leaders Meetings.
  • Develop goals and action plans and reflect on your project/leadership practice and meet with mentor as a small group or individually to discuss progress periodically.
  • Work with a network of your peers to take action on a sustainability ideas and projects.
  • The estimated time commitment to work on your leadership project or practice is 4-6 hours to month.

Undergraduate Leaders provides an adaptive model for supporting emerging leaders.

Leadership Practice
IonE Undergraduate Leaders will choose an area of leadership practice that they want to develop through their participation in the program.  This may include an idea or project you want to take action on individually. This practice may also be a formal or informal leadership role in a student group or community which you hope to develop their own leadership skills.  Some Undergraduate Leaders collaborate as a group on projects.

Don’t have a specific idea at this time?
Don’t fret. We encourage you to apply and bring your passion for sustainability and an open mind to join collaborative projects or develop your own idea of leadership practice.

2018-2019 Cohort Timeline

Applications deadline: 9/18/18
Interviews: 9/24/18 to 10/03/18

Notification of Cohort: 10/08/18
Kick Off Event: 10/13/18 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM

Fall Meetings:
Monday Oct. 22nd, 6-8pm
Monday Nov. 12th, 6-8pm
Monday Dec. 3rd, 6-8pm

Mentor Meetings: Leaders also meet with the Cohort Mentor or another team mentor on periodic basis to receive individualized or small group coaching on their project and leadership goals.

Spring Semester Meeting times will be determined near the end of the fall semester


Please contact Fatima Tufail at tufai002@umn.edu.


We accept online applications at the start of each school year.

University of Minnesota Twin Cities undergraduate students from all disciplinary backgrounds with a passion for sustainability and desire to expand their leadership experiences are eligible to apply.

Yes! Leadership is a on-going practice. The workshops and leadership activities vary each year so participants won’t feel that the activities are redundant.  Each cohort has its own characteristics and returning IonE Undergrad Leaders are welcome to re-apply.

The program is from October to May each year. Program participants can expect to commit to one cohort collaborative meeting per month and one small group meeting as well as periodic progress meetings with the Cohort Mentor. There will also be a 4-hour Saturday kick-off event in the beginning of the program. Participants commit to spending time each month either working or reflecting on their leadership project or practice. This can include leadership activities that Leaders are already engaged in, new projects or ideas, or small group meetings.

Leadership practices or projects can be existing efforts that the Leaders are already doing and would like to focus their efforts on through their participation in the program. Many participants work with others in the cohort on a shared interest area, so you don’t need to have a solidified idea or project. Bring your enthusiasm to participate in the program.

The 2018 kickoff workshop will be held on Saturday, October 13. Monthly cohort meetings take place on Monday evening once each month.

No, applicants admitted to the program are expected to participate in all scheduled program events. Rare exceptions can be made.

We encourage you to apply and make a note of this in your application.  We will see if it is possible to move the meeting times to another day, but will need to verify with the cohort before being able to do so.