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Student Leaders Program

Hands-on Learning Key to Student Leaders


The sustainability leaders program is an experiential learning and professional development program open to all UD undergraduate students. The UD campus and community benefit with expanded capacity in the work of making our campus and community more sustainable. Our sustainability leaders benefit with greater opportunity to develop professional skills in the very diverse field of sustainability and valuable mentorship in exploring their vocation while at UD.

Anyone interested in applying for a student leader position can visit our Handshake page. Anyone interested in volunteering or getting more information can email the teams directly.

Zero Waste Team: 

Education Team: 

Campus Energy Team: 

Food & Growing Team:


The HSI education team is led by three sustainability leaders who work with a group of about 20 student volunteers to offer a series of sustainability education events and programming for their fellow students and the broader campus and community. Their work includes: Sustainability Activation Program (SAP) - A series of events focused on conservation, sustainable food and consumer choices and social justice issues offered as part of the Housing and Residence Life (HRL) AVIATE program to offer PATH points. Events include the Flyers Go Green lesson and small-group conscious living and energy chats. SAP was recognized by AASHE as a finalist in 2018 for their Student Sustainability Leadership Award; Dakota Center afterschool program - The team is working with the Dakota Center, located in Dayton’s McFarlane neighborhood, to develop and offer an after-school program focused on sustainability topics; Student Sustainability Leadership Council - Members of the education team co-leads, with SGA, a group of student leaders from across campus who coordinate and collaborate on sustainability and social justice projects and discussions.

The campus energy team is led by three sustainability leaders and a GA supported through Facilities Management (FM). This team works in collaboration with FM and other campus partners on projects to reduce campus energy use and educate students about energy conservation and energy justice. Their work includes: Energy GPA – This collaboration with FM, HRL and mechanical engineering is led by HSI students who work with faculty and staff to reduce carbon emissions from university residential energy use; Students in the UD student neighborhood receive monthly updates on their household energy use through the Energy GPA dashboard, where they can not only see their energy use, but also how well they did as compared to average households (with a
grade) and the rest of the neighborhood. Energy GPA was recognized in 2018 in the AASHE Campus Index; Office Ecology - In late 2019, HSI graduate assistants Tess Isemann and Lauren Wolford worked with the Center for Leadership on a pilot project to increase awareness of everyday habits in UD work spaces. They examined procurement, catering and food habits including the use of paper plates or one-time plastic bags/utensils, office plants, transportation to work and using power strips that get turned off at the end of the work day. During the spring of 2020 (both in-person and remotely) the office ecology team also worked with student leaders from all of the project teams on a collaborative audit of the UD president’s house and presented their results and shared ideas with Dr. Spina and his wife, Karen; Building energy audits and energy efficiency projects - The campus energy team regularly works with FM staff to support work to reduce energy in our campus facilities, including deployment of smart thermostats in junior and senior residential houses and buildings, and development of systems monitoring and information methods; Empowered Energy Consumers PATH point events - Members of our campus energy team created three new peer education events focused on energy justice, renewable energy and residential energy use. Each module was completed by more than 500 students; Building Energy Education Program (BEEP) mini-course - The eight-week course covered how energy is used in buildings, how to monitor energy use, and how to propose various energy savings
recommendations. Topics covered included building energy groupings, lighting, plug-loads, mechanical equipment, variable frequency drives, water and HVAC systems

The food and growing team is led by two sustainability leaders and a joint environmental biology-HSI graduate student. The team works very closely with staff in Facilities Management (FM) to develop, maintain and educate around projects related to all things that grow. Their work includes: Members of the team worked with FM to plan, implement and maintain the Curran Place solar prairie. This area of native prairie plants is located under and around a 1.3 MW solar array in front of Curran Place. Planted in 2018, the project now includes day-to-day maintenance support from team members, education events and programming and engagement with volunteers; In addition to the Curran Place solar prairie, the team also works with facilities management to support the planning and implementation of several more native planting areas on campus including the Merkle grounds facility, ArtStreet bioswale and radio tower hill by Stuart Hall. The team regularly works with volunteers from the environmental biology program; Tree map of main campus - The food and growing team worked with landscaping and grounds staff during the past few years to map trees over our entire campus. So far the team has completed the main campus and mapped more than 1,600 trees and 75 types. Our goal is to catalog the size and tree type and provide a mobile tool for staff to use to note tree condition and location of memorial trees; Pilot vegetable garden at Old River Park -The team is working with facilities management and dining services on a vegetable garden to explore growing at Old River Park for use by dining services and our on-campus catering chefs as well as to support student learning and engagement; Kennedy Union patio green roof - HSI worked with facilities management, faculty in the departments of biology and geology, and the KU staff in the fall of 2017 to install UD’s first green roof. The food and growing team continues to support maintenance of the roof and the temperature sensor

The campus zero waste team is led by three sustainability leaders and an HSI GA. The team supports the campus community in working towards a zero waste campus through reduction of our waste, increase in our recycling, and increase in composting organic waste. The team also is working towards increased student involvement in their efforts, with increased volunteer and student orgs engagement. Their work includes: Student neighborhood composting program - The zero waste team leads this compost collection program for residences in a section of the UD student neighborhood. This program has been offered since the fall of 2018 and now has grown to serve up to 80 student residences. Students collect organic waste in 5-gallon buckets, which are then picked up and exchanged by our team once a week, with about 350 pounds of waste collected each week. The team then works with facilities management to compost this waste on-campus for eventual use in our vegetable garden; Office and Flyer Enterprises compost program - The zero waste team also supports composting (bucket exchange) for offices and coffee locations on-campus. This program started at the same time as our neighborhood composting program and was serving 15-20 locations on-campus. The team looks forward to re-starting this program, which had to stop during remote work this past year; Zero waste education and events - In 2018-19 the team began supporting large campus events with the goal of zero waste. These include partnerships with dining services, senior week, family weekend, the MBA program, campus recreation and reunion weekend. The team’s efforts led to a typical diversion rate of 90-95 percent.

Student leaders

ImageZero waste team; graduate student; Civil and Environmental Engineering

Claire (she/her), a former student leader, is now taking on the role of a sustainability coordinator at HSI. She is mentoring the zero waste team, making toolkits for zero waste events, coordinating alumni outreach, and mentoring the undergraduate students.


Food & Growing team; senior; Health Science major and Psychology minor

Marc (he/him) tends to produce in the garden at Old River Park and harvests produce to go to Dining services and the new Farmer's Market.


Education team; junior; Civil and Environmental Engineering

Emma (she/her) is part of the education team, which partners with AVIATE to facilitate presentations and conversations about sustainability with UD students. To accomplish this goal, the education team organizes volunteer peer educators in the Sustainability Activation Program (SAP).


Zero Waste team; senior; Civil and Environmental Engineering

Diana (she/her) is a member of the zero waste team and helps with the student neighborhood compost program as well as other zero waste events.

Food and growing team; senior; Environmental Biology

Olivia (she/her) is part of the food and growing team. She is working to help manage the solar prairie and other growing areas.


Education team; sophomore; Marketing major and Sustainability minor

Cat (she/her) is a part of the education team where she co-leads the Sustainability Activation Program (SAP). Through AVIATE and weekly meetings, SAP is committed to educating UD students on topics surrounding sustainability. Cat also acts as a point of contact for those wanting to learn more about the Hanley Sustainability Institute.

Campus energy team; senior; Sustainability, Business Administration minor

Caroline (she/her) is a part of the campus energy team and has collaborated on a series of energy education materials. Three topics covered in the modules included residential energy, renewable energy and energy justice.

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world” - Mahatma Gandhi


Zero Waste team; sophomore; Sustainability

Emme (she/her) is a member of the zero waste team, which works on the student neighborhood composting program and various waste events on campus.

"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not" -The Lorax

Campus energy team; senior; Mechanical engineering, Sustainability minor

Sean (he/him) is part of the campus energy team and works with HSI and facilities management to audit campus buildings and create an asset database towards reducing campus energy usage.


Food & Growing team; senior; Sociology major and Sustainability and Human Rights minors

Aileen (she/her) is a new member of the food and growing team. She has helped tend to the garden at Old River Park and is working with fellow members to start new projects around campus and in Dayton. The team seeks to spread knowledge about sustainable food and consumption practices to UD students and establish more green spaces and native plant areas.

Campus mapping; senior; Environmental Biology, Geology minor

Izzy is part of the food and growing team. She works in the garden at Old River Park and in the field to collect data for use with GIS.

“You are going somewhere. Every day. Every experience you get. You’re moving forward” - Jimmy Chin



Zero waste team; junior; Civil and Environmental Engineering

Caitlin (she/her) is a member of the zero waste team and works on the student neighborhood composting program as well as facilitating zero waste events on campus.


Hanley Sustainability Institute

Fitz Hall
300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 2950