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Hanley Sustainability Institute

Sustainability Leaders Program at a glance

The Sustainability Leaders Program is an experiential learning and professional development program open to all University of Dayton undergraduate students passionate about making our campus community more sustainable. Student Sustainability Leaders develop and lead a variety of programs and initiatives through collaboration with student groups, offices and community partners. 

Student Leaders are split into a variety of teams expanding accross Sustainability topics. These include Food and Growing, Zero Waste, Sustainable Systems and Education and Engagement. Each team is responsible for maintaining a campus program(s) that supports campus sustainability efforts. Throughout a student’s time in the program, each leader is responsible to add to an existing project or program to improve or enhance the work of the team through a formal project proposal, implementation, and sustainment plan.

Program Benefits

  • Hourly Pay: Starting at $10.10 an hour, program participants are compensated for their time working on hands-on projects related to their area of interest.
  • Professional Mentorship: Each program participant is paired with a sustainability professional in the region. Mentor pairs meet once a month to cover professional development topics for a future in the sustainability workforce or other related fields.
  • Network of Resources and Opportunities: Program participants join a robust network of interdisciplinary sustainability experts and practitioners on and off campus; giving access to even more educational opportunities and job networks.
  • Hands-on Experience: Students are given the opportunity to take classroom knowledge and passion and make a direct impact on campus and in the greater community.

Application Process

Application are open once a year during the fall semester and are due before Thanksgiving Break. Please check back for more information regarding the Fall 2023 application process.

Meet the Student Leaders

Alex Zawacki is pursuing a degree in Sustainability with a concentration in Energy and is expected to graduate in May 2024. Originally from Channahon, Ill., Alex has gained interest in sustainability after first being a Health Science major and is continuing to finish his college career as a sustainability major. Alex has gained much experience in his field, including studying in Berlin for a month-long semester in the Summer 2022. He also plans to focus his career on renewable clean energy and implementing alternative energy systems. He is currently a student leader for the Sustainability Activation Program and plays as a libero for the men’s club volleyball team while being a social media officer. He is also is a practice player for the university’s women’s volleyball team. As a student education leader for the Hanley Sustainability Institute, Alex plans to use his knowledge of energy conservation to inform other students and emphasize the significance of utilizing alternative energy sources to improve the condition of our environment in the coming years.

Cat is graduating in May 2024 with majors in Marketing and Entrepreneurship and a minor in Sustainability. Finding her passion for sustainability at the end of high school, Cat sought to be involved in campus sustainability initiatives as a freshman at UD. After joining the Sustainability Activation Program (SAP) in 2021, Cat was hired to lead the program through the Education and Engagement Team. Working for HSI not only enriched Cat's experience at the university, but also provided her with an opportunity to pursue her passions and gain valuable experience. In addition to her role at HSI, Cat also started a pop-up thrift store, dives with UD Dive Club, participates in the sales fraternity Pi Sigma Epsilon and leads a weekly bible study through Cru. After graduating, Cat hopes to leverage her knowledge of business and the environment to open a sustainability consulting agency.

Christy is pursuing a degree in Pre-Dentistry with a minor in Fine Arts and plans on graduating in May 2026. Born and raised in the Dayton area, Christy has always had a deep appreciation for the natural world and a passion for health sciences. The field of sustainability motivates her to adore her environment and deepen her love for the community. Outside of her academic pursuits, Christy enjoys expressing herself through various mediums. With HSI’s support, she believes that the intersection of science and art is a powerful way for her to inspire change and promote sustainable practices for Dayton’s campus community.

Colleen Stumbris is currently studying chemical engineering with goals to continue education within renewable energy and environmental justice within graduate and law studies. Originally from Chicago, Colleen developed a passion for sustainability through her waste initiatives in high school. Joining the program in January 2023, she hopes to continue work within sustainable practices, such as zero waste initiatives and sustainable systems. Additionally, Colleen is a Division I athlete as member of the women’s rowing team and is the treasurer for UDayton Votes, a nonpartisan organization that encourages young people to vote.

Elizabeth Miles-Flynn is an undergraduate student pursuing a B.S. in Environmental Biology with Sustainability and Theology minors. Her hometown is Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. Because she grew up in the arid desert climate, Elizabeth treasures every opportunity to be outside. Her passion for service and environmental advocacy grew after volunteering for Jane Goodall’s Roots and Shoots. Elizabeth is Vice President of the Sustainability Club and a member of the 2025 Cohort River Stewards. She joined the Hanley Sustainability Institute Student Leaders team in the spring of 2023. At the University of Dayton, Elizabeth is looking forward to cultivating deeper connections between nature and students on campus.

Emily, a Biology major with a minor in Sustainability, is expected to graduate in May  2024. She is from a small suburb of the Dayton area called Bellbrook, Ohio, and grew up watching the UD volleyball and soccer games throughout her childhood. Emily first gained an interest in sustainability through her love for nutrition, sustainable food systems and helping those dealing with food insecurity. She is a member of the Phi Sigma Rho Gamma Chapter, sustainability club and oStem. Emily loves volunteering for local non-profit Mission of Mary, works for the University of Dayton Office of Student Accounts and joined the HSI Student Leader Program in Spring 2023. Some of Emily’s favorite hobbies include hiking, puzzles, cooking and reading poetry. 

Emme is currently pursuing a degree in Sustainability with a concentration in Urban Sustainability. Emme has been a part of the Zero Waste Team within the student leaders program since spring 2021. Some work she has done through the Student Leaders program includes collecting and sustaining UD’s Student Neighborhood Composting Program, aiding in hosting Zero Waste Events on campus and creating a sustainability plan for Flyer Enterprise. 

Grace is currently studying Sustainability, concentrating in Sustainable Watersheds with a minor in Geology, graduating May 2024. Originally from Farmingdale, N.Y., Grace will be relocating to Cleveland after graduating. During her time at UD, she has joined and gained several leadership roles: Vice President Recruitment and Director of Social Events for Pi Beta Phi, Co-President of Sustainability Club and Dayton Civic Scholars. Grace loves volunteering weekly with Girl Scouts of Western Ohio as a Series Facilitator, won the Emerging Leader Award in April 2022 and traveled to California over the summer with the Moral Courage Project to document the housing crisis through a traveling exhibit. As a student leader, Grace’s goal is to educate the student body on sustainable practices that will follow them after their UD career. 

Izzy is a junior sustainability major with an urban concentration. They are from Troy, Ohio, where they grew up surrounded by the great outdoors, sparking a love for the environment. They decided to go to the University of Dayton because of the environmental values that the campus holds. Izzy believes we all have an obligation to take care of our planet and encourages everyone to practice sustainability in their everyday lives. Izzy joined the Sustainability Leaders Program in winter 2023 after being involved in all things sustainability on campus. Their passions include sustainable urban development and social sustainability. Izzy’s dream is to create and live in a walkable city.

Kathleen is a mechanical engineering student at University of Dayton with a concentration in human movement biomechanics planning to graduate in December 2023. She currently works on the Sustainable Systems Team for Hanley Sustainability Institute, hoping to create a more sustainable campus through energy conservation. She has worked for Ethicon Endo Surgery for two terms, holding a research and development position within Endomechanical Surgical Devices. Additionally, she is team lead for RE-volv, a non-profit working to place solar panels on nonprofits in Dayton. In the future, she hopes to work in a position where she could create a more sustainable medical device field or promote clean energy access for all. 

Lily is a first-year Environmental Biology student who plans to pursue a career in animal rescue and rehabilitation. Her dream is to one day own a farm sanctuary and hopes to gain knowledge from the HSI program to make her farm as sustainable as possible. Lily is originally from New Jersey and loves to spend her time on the beach and in the ocean. Her passion for the environment came from rescuing beached horseshoe crabs and doing other environmental service projects throughout high school.

Maddie, class of 2024, is completing her Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in Sustainability with a concentration in Urban Studies. From Marion, Ohio, she first found interest in sustainability through a passion for conservation, which she fostered by working at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium’s Zoo-Aide Program. Maddie is a member of several student groups on campus including Sustainability Club, the Pride of Dayton Marching Band and the Earthfest Planning Committee of 2022 and 2023. She joined the Student Leaders Program in spring 2023, and is excited to help campus make great progress on their sustainable vision. She believes in a future where all Flyers are passionate about the planet and go out into the world wanting to make it a more environmentally conscious place. 

Megan is currently pursuing a degree in Civil Engineering with a concentration in Environmental Engineering and a minor in Sustainability. Megan’s passion for sustainability education and bringing awareness to environmental issues led her to join the Sustainability Activation Program led by the Education Team Student Leaders in spring 2021. She hopes to engender sustainable systems into society through her career and make others more aware of the role sustainability can play in their own lives.  

Megan is an Environmental Biology Major and is hoping to pursue a career in ecological restoration. She is originally from Youngstown, Ohio. Megan’s interests in sustainability started when she started volunteering at the age of 9 at her local metropark where she taught kids about composting and how to garden. This is where Megan found her love for the environment and working outside. She joined the Sustainability Leader program in spring 2023. She hopes to make UD’s campus more sustainable and to educate others about sustainability. 

William is pursuing a degree in Environmental Geosciences and a minor in Sustainability, Energy, and Environment, graduating in May 2024. William is from Easton, Conn., and is very interested in the energy sector of the environment and wants to focus his career on renewable clean energy and alternative energy resources. He is a part of the social fraternity Phi Kappa Psi and a member of Alpha Phi Omega Service Fraternity, holding leadership positions as the Social and Recruitment Chair for Phi Kappa Psi. As a student leader, William wants to revamp the energy program and stress the importance of alternative energy resources for the betterment of our future environment. 

Student Directors

The Student Directors Initiative is an opportunity for students to develop their leadership skills in a concentrated area. Student Directors not only concentrate on a specialty but work together to develop and facilitate meeting content for the Student Leader Mini-Course: Leaders Leading Leaders.

Impact reporting

The Student Director of Impact Reporting guides student leader projects to support the variety of commitments and agreements made by the University. This position is responsible for supporting fellow student leaders in developing key metrics and tools for measuring success across all teams. Additionally, they are responsible for initiating and ensuring the longevity of the Student Sustainability Leadership Council a platform in which increases communication, enhances collaboration, quantifies achievements, and identifies gaps among the five core student run sustainability organizations.

Elizabeth is a double major in International Studies with a concentration in Global Health and Environment, and Sustainability with a concentration in Urban Sustainability. She also has a minor in Spanish and will be graduating in May 2024. From the Dayton area, Elizabeth has been heavily involved on campus. Elizabeth is the current president of Sustainability Club, vice president of community outreach for the Multicultural Programming Council and an academic success ambassador for the Multi-Ethnic Engagement and Education Center. Elizabeth is on the Sustainable Systems team and is also the Student Director of Impact Reporting. In the future, Elizabeth hopes to work with large corporations to make their business operations more sustainable, but Elizabeth is also interested in environmental racism and climate justice. In her free time, Elizabeth enjoys listening to music and going on runs.

Communication and Outreach 

The Student Director(s) of Communication and Outreach works to effectively communicate and increase the visibility of the HSI Sustainability Leader Program’s work. This position works collaboratively with fellow student leaders in developing and implementing communication material throughout the UD network of email, social media, website and other various communication outlets.

Caitlin is pursuing a degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering with a focus in Environmental Engineering and a minor in Sustainability with plans to graduate in December 2023. She joined HSI in fall 2020 as a member of the Zero-Waste Team. While as a member of the Zero-Waste Team, Caitlin has worked to expand the student neighborhood composting program from 20 houses to over 70, and is piloting the first centralized compost drop off locations in the student neighborhood. Outside of her passion for sustainability, Caitlin is involved in Kappa Delta Sorority and the Christmas on Campus Committee. She hopes to apply all her amazing experiences at UD into a career centered around making a positive impact on the world.

Libby is a sophomore Environmental Biology student who wants to be involved in sustainability and environmental restoration after college. After moving from Colorado, she was super excited to get involved on campus and started by joining HSI as one of the Student Leaders for the Food and Growing Team. Currently, she holds the role of Student Director of Outreach and Communication. 

Peer-to-Peer Engagement

The Student Director of Peer-to-Peer Engagement is to support fellow student leaders to develop strong peer engagement programming to sustain campus projects. This position is responsible for supporting fellow student leaders in engaging with the great campus community around sustainability and the specific work each respective team is leading.

Emma is pursuing a degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering with a focus on Environmental Engineering and a minor in Sustainability. Emma’s experience with HSI started in 2019 when she joined the Sustainability Activation Program (SAP), a program she was later hired to run as an Education and Engagement Team Student Leader at HSI. In this role, she has initiated partnerships with other campus peer education groups and introduced dialogue training for the SAP volunteers, in partnership with the Dialogue Zone. Most recently, she was promoted to the Peer-to-Peer Engagement Student Director position, a role she is harnessing to facilitate DEI dialogues at HSI. In addition to her work at HSI, Emma is also on the Sustainability Club executive board and the SGA Sustainability Committee. Outside of sustainability, she is involved with the Rivers Institute, Ebony Heritage Singers, Society of Women Engineers, Dialogue Zone and Women’s Leadership Immersion. After graduating in May 2023, Emma will stay in Dayton as a Civil Engineer at the Miami Conservancy District and hopes to use this role to promote environmental justice in the Great Miami watershed.

Local Policy and Progress

The Student Director(s) of Local Policy and Progress connect the Student Leader Program to the greater Dayton Sustainability Community. This position is responsible for supporting fellow student leaders in understanding local sustainability initiatives, connecting them with sustainability resources in the Dayton area, and helping them engage with the Dayton community beyond campus. 

Jamie is pursuing a degree in Chemical Engineering. She is originally from Van Wert, Ohio, and comes from an agricultural background, which originally sparked her interest in sustainability. Her passions include food justice and ethical sourcing. Jamie joined the HSI food and growing team in Fall 2022, and has contributed to the newly reinstated Food Recovery Network, Flyer Farmer’s Market student committee, Earth Fest planning committee and local business spotlights. She is also currently a student director for Local Policy and Progress. On campus, Jamie is also involved in symphonic wind ensemble, Society of Women Engineers, Omega Chi Epsilon, women’s ultimate frisbee and Chaminade Scholars. 

Kiara DiLoreto is a fifth-year Civil Engineering student minoring in English and Sustainability. She is from Dayton and first discovered her love for sustainability through many childhood summers spent at Aullwood Audubon Center and Farm. After graduating this May, Kiara will be entering the Transportation Engineering industry and hopes to design sustainable, resilient and equitable transportation systems. Kiara is an HSI Student Leader for the Education and Engagement Team and a Local Policy and Progress Student Director. 

Professional mentorship

Mentors Initiative 

At the beginning of the Fall Semester, each Student Leader is paired with a local Sustainability Professional. The field of sustainability is vast and dynamic, through this program, students are able to ask questions that will help them in their vocational development through the program:

  • Where did you work prior to your current job?
  • What obstacles did you encounter when looking for your first job out of college?
  • How do you balance your personal and professional life?
  • What skills do you look for in a colleague?

With access to the mentorship handbook, suggested meeting objectives and reflection questions mentors should feel well equipped in taking on a student mentee while being granted the flexibility to cater the program to their personal schedule and commitments.

Interested in becoming a mentor for our next generation of sustainability leaders?

Contact Program Coordinator Sarah Richard


Hanley Sustainability Institute

Fitz Hall
300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 2950
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