Sustainability Service-Learning Liaison

Executive Summary:

The Carlson Leadership & Public Service Center is actively working to develop service-learning opportunities related to sustainability and environmental stewardship on and off campus, particularly for students in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines. The Center is applying for $3588 to fund a graduate or advanced undergraduate student to work as the sustainability service-learning liaison during Summer 2011. Please note, our letter of intent indicated a request for $3100.00. The slight increase is due to the increased number of weeks of funding needed to fund a student throughout the summer.

The current student service-learning liaison has seen success in the past two quarters, developing seven new partnerships with sustainability focused organizations, as well as starting a collaborative relationships with the Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability Office and the UW Farm. Funding from the CSF would enable the Carlson Center to keep the current momentum that has developed this academic year towards sustainability focused service-learning opportunities. The student will take a leadership role in implementing three concurrent goals that will build the Carlson Center’s capacity to offer service-learning opportunities to students in the STEM disciplines:

Goal 1. Develop and expand partnerships with local non-profit organizations that address sustainability issues. The Carlson Center already has long-standing relationships with numerous environmentally focused organizations. In order to support an increased number of students involved in service-learning, it is important to develop opportunties at local organizations that will offer students diverse opportunities to volunteer in the community. It is our hope that students in the STEM disciplines will be able to bring different skill sets to the organizations than traditional service-learners have previously. The student will serve as a way for local environmentally focused organizations to connect with the University and for them to be aware of the sustainability efforts happening at UW currently.

Goal 2. Identify outreach and community engagement activities already occuring on campus, particularly in the STEM fields. Many programs on campus offer outreach to K-12 students in the form of assemblies, field trips, or more extensive summer programs. In order to better understand what types of programs are being offered to the community by UW, we plan to reach out to faculty members running these programs. We also plan to discuss the possibility of incorporating service-learning into the programs or related courses taught by the faculty members.

Goal 3. Build relationships with on campus entities that are dedicated to improving environmental awareness and sustainable practices at UW. Among the many groups working to improve campus sustainability, we have identified the Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability Office and the Campus Sustainability Fund campus groups that are crafting a campus culture that is environmentally conscious. We hope to partner with these and other student groups across campus to provide students participating in service-learning opportunities to make a positive impact on campus sustainability.

Goal 4. Improve outreach efforts to sustainability focused Registered Student Organizations (RSO’s). Student groups across campus are demonstrating dedication to diverse issues in sustainability. We already have partnerships with various student groups, such as WashPIRG and the UW Farm. By connecting with more student groups, we hope to develop additional on-campus service-learning and volunteer opportunities and also link these groups with the environmental organizations in the broader Seattle community.

The new student liaison will address the goals listed above using the following strategies during Summer 2011:

Strategy 1: Develop Partnerships. The new student liaison will reach out to the organizations listed by the current liaison as organizations that would be suitable for service-learning partnerships, as well as research other potential organizations. This will involve site visits to organizations across Seattle to discuss the goals of the organizations and ways that students could provide support through service- learning. Specific organizations to reach out to include Sustainable Seattle, Sustainable Northeast Seattle, and Environment Washington.

Strategy 2: Identify Campus Activities. The current liaison has developed a list of summer outreach programs conducted by faculty in the STEM disciplines. Over the summer, the new student liaison will contact the leaders in these programs to learn more about what they offer to students in Seattle and also determine if service-learners could participate in the program during the academic year.

Strategy 3: Build Relationships with Campus Offices. The Carlson Center hopes to host a service-learning round table event during the Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability Office’s “Sustainability Summit” held in the fall. At this event we plan to bring together faculty, some who have participated in service-learning and some who are interested in service- learning but have not used it in the classroom, and representatives from community environmental organizations who are familiar with service-learning to facilitate discussions about service-learning opportunities. The student liaison would take part in much of the planning of the event during the summer in order for it to occur in October.

Strategy 4: Build Relationships with Student Groups. The Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability Office has already identified a list of Environmental RSO’s at UW. We plan to contact these groups during the early summer and late summer in order to talk about ways to provide support to them, as well as collaborate with them in the fall and throughout the year. We would also like to invite representatives of these groups to the round table event in the fall to discuss ways to incorporate on-campus service-learning and volunteer positions into the organizations.

Student Involvement:

The project will heavily involve the work of one student in the role of sustainability service-learning liaison. The work that this student does will impact the number of students, particularly those in the STEM disciplines and those focused on environmental issues, who will participate in service-learning both on and off campus.

Education & Outreach:

As outlined above, the student liaison will reach out to on campus student groups, offices, and faculty members that may be interested in service-learning. Each quarter, when service-learning courses have been decided, the liaison will go to the classrooms to present general information about service-learning and more specific information about the positions available at both local sustainability focused organizations and within on campus offices, groups, and centers. The Center will also help to publicize the Sustainability Summit event through the Carlson Center website and list serve.

Environmental Impact:
  • Environmental Justice
Project Longevity:

Environmental Problem:

The Climate Action Plan cites outreach and engagement as a strategy to increase academic engagement in climate change. The work of the student liaison will help to achieve the Plan’s goals of fostering awareness, positive attitudes, and positive action and will improve sustainability practices at UW. The outreach by the liaison will significantly impact the number of service-learning opportunities available for students, in turn leading to more environmental impacts by UW students. The Carlson Center will also be able to cultivate relationships between students in RSO’s and local community organizations, enabling students within those groups to engage in the off campus community in addition to their on campus work. Student work will range from habitat restoration and trail building in the Puget Sound Region to work in local community gardens, the UW Farm, campus energy audits, campus behavior change campaigns, and many others. Students who have the opportunity to engage in service-learning off campus will bring fresh ideas back to campus to encourage more sustainable practices at the University.

Additionally, this project will engage and involve students in better understanding University of Washington sustainability focused mandates and Washington state law through critical reflection on both their on campus and off campus service. The outreach and collaboration fostered by the Sustainability Service-Learning Liaison, coupled with sound principles of service-learning, will lead students and the UW campus to better understand their sustainability involvement in the context of institutional, local, state, and federal mandates regarding sustainable practices.

Explain how the impacts will be measured:

Total amount requested from the CSF: $3,588
This funding request is a: Grant
If this is a loan, what is the estimated payback period?:


ItemCost per ItemQuantityTotal Cost
Hourly wage advanced undergraduate or graduate Student Sustainability Service-Learning Liaison$15/hr15 hrs/week x 14 weeks3150
Benefits Student Sustainability Service-Learning Liason13.9% of total wages1438.00

Non-CSF Sources:

Project Completion Total:


TaskTimeframeEstimated Completion Date
Begin outreach to community organizations, faculty, on campus offices, and RSOs15 weeks (June 30 - September 30)Summer outreach will conclude September 30th, but outreach will continue through the academic year
First installment of the CSF grantJune 30, 2011
Last installment of the CSF grantSeptember 30, 2011
Sustainability Summit Service-Learning Round Table EventTBD (same day as ESS event)
Final Project Report SubmissionOctober 30, 2011

Project Approval Forms: