This summer, 40 McKinney Climate Fellows—Indiana University undergraduate and graduate students interested in climate, sustainability, and resilience career experiences—are embedding themselves within organizations across Indiana to advance planet-positive goals.
Part of the IU Environmental Resilience Institute’s McKinney Midwest Climate Project, McKinney Climate Fellows (MCF) connects IU students with local governments, businesses, and nonprofits in need of sustainability support. Entering its seventh year, the program has resulted in more than 200 student fellowships and upwards of 64,000 hours of service to the state.
This year, fellows will be leading a wide range of projects, including community climate resilience planning, habitat restoration, and clean energy adoption.
“From the student point of view, MCF is a formal, impactful way for young folks to use their knowledge and talents to make a difference in the world right here and right now,” said MCF Program Manager Elspeth Hayden. “From the other side, host organizations benefit from increased capacity on critical climate projects. ERI staff are honored to facilitate this win-win scenario.”
Before embarking on their summer experiences, fellows representing 4 IU campuses and 11 schools gathered in-person and virtually the week of May 22 for climate camp. The camp included training on communication, environmental justice, professional writing, avoiding burnout, and more. The fellows also were introduced to digital tools, such as GIS and data visualization software that may be of use to them during their placement.
“Fellows join the program from a variety of backgrounds in education level, previous professional experiences, and sector-specific training,” Hayden said. “In just a few days, climate camp levels the playing field so that all our fellows start their summer work experience on the same foot.”