The Institute on the Environment is shaping the next generation of environmental leaders by providing undergraduate, graduate, professional and postdoctoral students from a wide range of backgrounds and disciplines with skills in communications, media relations, entrepreneurship, systems thinking and more.


Acara gives emerging University of Minnesota student entrepreneurs a chance to envision and launch impact ventures aimed at solving grand social and environmental challenges through its five courses, Acara Challenge competition, and Acara Venture Awards and Fellowships.

Boreas Leadership Program

The Boreas Leadership Program offers University of Minnesota graduate and professional students and postdoctoral fellows co-curricular leadership development opportunities that build on the strengths of graduate education to create effective change agents.

Undergraduate Leaders Program

The Undergraduate Leaders Program helps University students develop into world changers. These students take part in a combination of workshops, cohort activities and mentorship opportunities to gain leadership skills and build professional networks.

Sustainability Education

Sustainability Education programs help shape sustainability leaders capable of working across disciplinary and sectoral boundaries. IonE provides administrative support for sustainability undergraduate and graduate education across the University of Minnesota.

Dow SISCA Challenge

The Dow Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge Award — a competitive program supported by IonE and Dow Chemical Company, rewards students for interdisciplinary innovation and research that advances sustainable solutions to pressing social, economic and environmental problems.

Grand Challenge Courses

IonE is a supporting partner of the University’s Grand Challenge Curriculum, which offers a variety of 3-credit courses focusing on global grand challenges and solutions to those challenges.