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Winter Term Sustainability Solutions Lab Intern

Sustainability Solutions Lab Internship for Winter Term 2018: Moving Toward a 100% Renewable Energy, Net Zero Campus 

The Sustainability Solutions Lab (SSL) is a new program developed by the Office of Sustainability Integration (OSI). The SSL will support students in designing and applying solutions to campus sustainability challenges. Its purpose is to create change that has positive impacts socially, environmentally, and economically. The OSI is offering up to 16 internship positions for Winter Term in which teams of students will work to develop a detailed plan for how the college can transform its energy system to be 100% renewable, highly efficient and to produce as much of its own energy as possible. This plan will form the basis for the College’s next big steps going beyond carbon neutrality. 

To prepare students to take on this task, the SSL winter term internships will include training and workshops about: Problem definition, Design thinking, Systems mapping, Project management, Communication, How Middlebury works: Decision-making, Process, Stakeholders, Access to resources 

The internship challenges students to find solutions to sustainability problems and needs relevant to the college energy system and to develop a plan for implementing their solutions. Following the internship the SSL will provide support and resources for interns who choose to work on implementing specific solutions over the spring term, and beyond if necessary.  

Work on this challenge by interns will be incorporated into recommendations for the President to discuss with the college trustees in February. Preliminary work on the topic is currently being conducted by the Environmental Council (EC) and will be passed on to the SSL for further work in January. The interns may also work with the EC in the Spring together toward implementation of their recommendations. 

This year’s sustainability challenge is: Moving toward a net zero energy campus: strategies, projects, and pathways to an efficient, 100% renewable energy campus that also produces as much energy as possible with intrinsic benefits for the greater community. 

Interns will:become familiar with the current energy system in Vermont and on the Middlebury campus; establish a baseline of current efficiency and energy status; map out campus energy systems and subsystems;manipulate historical campus data for energy usage and carbon emissions; examine the Vermont Energy Plan and relevance to future campus energy planning; assess attitudes and behaviors toward energy usage on campus; explore existing and emerging energy technologies for their relevance to a net zero energy campus;refine the framework for moving toward a net zero energy campus developed by the Environmental Council and create a portfolio of projects that would move Middlebury closer to becoming a net zero energy campus including an assessment of the social, environmental, and economic costs and benefits of possible projects. 

Up to 16 internships are available. Interns will work in teams of 3 to 4 on different aspects of the project under an overall framework. Support and training will be provided throughout the winter term by the Office of Sustainability Integration and various consultants and experts through workshops and hands-on learn by doing sessions. Interns will also work on developing a strategy and recommendations report to be presented to the Environmental Council and President Patton for discussion by the trustees at their meeting in February, 2018. 

Additionally, interns will have the option of choosing to pursue an independent project of their own, either in teams or individually, that they will implement over Spring term and beyond with support from the SSL. These projects will demonstrate steps that can be taken toward the bigger vision of a net zero energy campus. 

The internship will take place on the Middlebury Campus during Winter Term based at the Franklin Environmental Center. It requires 25 hours per week, which will consist of training sessions, project planning and research, development of a portfolio of projects that could help move the college toward this new energy future, and a final presentation of the recommendations of the internship teams to a panel of exports for further feedback and improvement of the final product.  We are looking for an intern pool with a broad range of interests and backgrounds: science, humanities, arts, etc. to fill out the group of interns who will take on this Winter Term challenge.  It is a multi-dimensional problem requiring solutions that address the social, economic, and environmental consequences of recommended actions.

Once selected for this experience, students will then submit an Application for Winter Term Internship Credit to CCI and the Curriculum Committee. One Winter Term credit will be awarded for satisfactory completion of the internship. This will be based on the level of participation, quality of individual contribution to the team, the depth and thoroughness of completed assignments and the performance of each team and individual in presenting their final products.

Deadline to apply for this internship: November 8

To apply, please submit (via Handshake) a resume and a cover letter. In your cover letter please explain why you are applying for this internship and why it excites you. Please also tell us what qualities and skills you have to contribute and what you hope to gain from this experience. Please cite any readings, courses, movies, or other media that have influenced your understanding and views about energy production and use by individuals or institutions.

All students applying for the Sustainability Solutions Lab must register for an alternate Winter Term class during Winter Term registration in case you are not selected. 

Intern Supervisor: Jack Byrne, Director of Office of Sustainability Integration

 Academic Advisor: Steve Trombulak, Prof of Environmental & Biosphere Studies; Director of Sciences