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. Participants learn:

  • how we use lenses of equity, reciprocity, justice and diversity to define and think about sustainability
  • how science, creativity, art, healing practices 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.

The application period for the program is in September each year. The 2017-2018 Undergraduate Leaders Program cohort has kicked-off this year!  If you would like more information or are interested in supporting the next generation of environmental change-makers, please contact Frank Wagner at wagn0686@umn.edu.

Undergraduate Leaders: Convergence of Ideas and Action

What is Undergraduate Leaders

  • Undergraduate Leaders is a place to bring your project and leadership ideas in sustainability to life
  • Undergraduate Leaders program provides a platform to collaborate with fellow students to make a change in your community

What do members Receive?

  • 1:1 career coaching opportunity
  • Workshops with sustainability content and thought leaders
  • A collaborative network of peers to take action on sustainability ideas and projects
  • Funding is available for sustainability projects

What are the requirements to be a member?

  • Attend all Undergraduate Leaders Meetings (schedule below)
  • Work with a network of your peers to take action on a sustainability ideas and projects
  • Develop goals and benchmarks for sustainability project ideas and projects

Undergraduate Leaders provides an adaptive model with 3 options

Art/Science Practice
This option allows you to work intensively in the confluences of art, justice and sustainability on a project with Doctoral Student and Undergraduate Leaders Mentor Kate Flick.  Meetings for this track are every other Tuesday starting Oct. 10th. Note: Students in this practice area are welcome to join Monday monthly meetings, but are not required to.

Individual Leadership Practice
This option encourages leaders who have an idea or project they want to take action on individually.  Meetings for this track are monthly on Mondays (see schedule below).

Group Leadership Practice
This option encourages leaders who have an idea or project they want to take action on collaboratively as a group. Meetings for this track are monthly on Mondays (see schedule below).

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.

Meeting Times and Places

All Undergraduate Leaders Meetings will include start with a 1 hour Undergraduate Leaders-specific meeting time to collaborate, receive training and conduct group business.  The second hour of the gathering will be a workshop on a specific topic from a content leader or student leader in Sustainability.  This portion of the workshop will be open to all interested students at the University of Minnesota.  Food will be provided.  The fall schedule is as follows:

  • Art-Science Track only: Kick-off Tuesday, Oct. 10th
  • Monday Oct. 16th, 6-8pm, Nicholson Hall Room 315
  • Monday Nov. 6th, 6-8pm, Nicholson Hall Room 315
  • Monday Dec. 4th, 6-8pm, Nicholson Hall Room 315
  • Spring Semester Meeting times will be determined near the end of the fall semester


Please contact Frank Wagner at wagn0686@umn.edu

Generously funded by the C. Charles Jackson Foundation


We accept online applications at the start of each school year. The application period for our 2016–17 program is now closed.  Please check back again next fall!  Please contact Beth Mercer-Taylor with questions.

University of Minnesota undergraduate students from all disciplinary backgrounds with a passion for sustainability and experience in leadership are eligible to apply.

The program is year-long. Program participants can expect to commit to one meeting per month as well as various events, symposium, and field trips throughout the year. There will also be a full-day Saturday kick off in the beginning of the program. You can find a more detailed program flow and timeline here.

The 2016 kickoff workshop will be held Saturday, October 1, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monthly cohort meetings take place in the evening, finding an evening and location that works for most members (e.g., third Wednesday of each month).

No, applicants admitted to the program must attend all scheduled program events. Rare exceptions can be made.