Building Peer Connections Through Sustainability Internships
ARC’s Sustainable Connections Internship Program is designed to connect university students in the Atlanta region who are interested in careers in sustainability with local governments and nonprofits in need of sustainability programming assistance.
The internship program is designed to:
- Engage students in meaningful work with communities while providing hands-on experience and build relationships with local government, nonprofit and sustainability professionals.
- Connect students working toward sustainability careers with a network of peers for sharing experiences, knowledge and insights.
- Help communities implement sustainability initiatives that they may not have the time or resources to complete on their own.
The student application and community proposal period is open from February – May of 2020.
The program helps participants build connections with peers and industry professionals through events held throughout the academic year where students network, discuss readings and studies and hear from key regional sustainability leaders.
A Sustainable Connections Symposium is held at the end of the program, allowing interns to present their work to their colleagues, academic and sustainability advisors and members of the ARC Board and staff.
These events offer the interns valuable opportunities to share insights and lessons learned during the program within their respective communities and fields of study.
Projects proposed by local governments and nonprofits should have a clear sustainability focus. This may include waste reduction and recycling, green building, energy efficiency, water conservation, air quality and transportation, land use, trees and greenspace, and employee and community education.
Projects undertaken by past Sustainable Connections interns include:
- Conducting an inventory of sustainability initiatives
- Assisting with development of a green infrastructure plan
- Monitoring stream health
- Educating young people about clean water
- Aiding implementation of a new greenway
- Developing a social media strategy for a local non-profit
- Assisting with implementation of a new recycling program
Sustainable Connections Internship Program Guidelines:
Frequently Asked Questions
For Potential Internship Sponsors:
Q: Does ARC provide funding to cover internship salaries?
A: Not at this time, although we are always on the lookout for funding to do so. It is the responsibility of the internship sponsor to provide the salary.
Q: What if funding for an intern is not in our budget? Can we still submit a proposal for an unpaid intern?
A: You may submit a proposal and every attempt will be made to match an intern with you. Communities are encouraged to pay interns if possible, as compensation results in a much higher rate of intern attainment.
Q: Do we get to select the intern or does ARC?
A: Well-qualified students are invited for a first-round, in-person interview with ARC staff. Three frontrunners for each available intern position are invited for a final interview with their prospective local government/nonprofit match. The community sponsoring the internship then decides which intern candidate it would like to hire.
Q: Who is responsible for supervising interns once they are selected?
A: Once SCIP interns are selected, ARC hands off hiring, onboarding, and supervisory responsibilities to the sponsoring organizations. ARC staff remains involved as a resource for both the students and organizations, as needed.
For Potential Interns:
Q: Which majors can apply?
A: Students from any major with an interest in environmental sustainability, local government operations, and public service are encouraged to apply.
Q: I am graduating in December. Can I still apply?
A: No. Students must be enrolled through the end of the academic year (typically May) and commit to working the full academic year.
Q: I do not have a car. Can I still apply?
A: Yes. We will make every effort to match you with a community that is accessible by transit or car share, or with which you can work remotely for part of the time. However, since we cover a 10-county area, a car may be needed for some internship locations. Students are responsible for all transportation costs.
Q: Will I be paid for this internship?
A: Participants will not receive a stipend, but many of the internships will be paid at a rate of $12/hour (undergraduate) and $14/hour (graduate/PhD). If paid, students will be expected to work at least 10 hours each week for 13 weeks each semester (fall 2020 and spring 2021). If unpaid, students will be expected to register for course credit and meet the internship work hour requirements for those credits.
Q: If I receive need-based financial aid or have a Graduate Research Assistantship (GRA), am I eligible to apply?
A: If you receive need-based financial aid or are a Graduate Research Assistant, please talk to a representative at your institution’s financial aid office to determine how and if a paid internship will impact your aid package or ability to keep your GRA.