Community Engagement

Putting what you know about sustainability into practice is an important part of this certificate. In addition to taking courses, you need to engage in a sustainability-related project either on campus or in the wider community. Here are possible ways to meet this requirement for the sustainability certificate.

For these, think in terms of the Wisconsin Experience: “Together, we create and apply learning inside and outside the classroom to make the world a better place.”

Students declaring the sustainability certificate in fall 2022 or later will enroll in 1 credit of ENVIR ST 398: Independent Study: Sustainability Community Engagement while completing their community engagement project. Students in the Community Environmental Scholars Program (CESP) can use two credits of ENVIR ST 317: Community Environmental Scholars Program Seminar, instead of ENVIR ST 398, to satisfy the certificate’s community engagement requirement.

Option 1: Badger Volunteers

This program is run by the Morgridge Center for Public Service and lists over a dozen sustainability-related volunteer sites off campus. Select a site under “sustainability” focus and contribute your skills for a semester. Your selection must be from the “sustainability” offerings.

Option 2: Create Your Own Adventure

Design a project either on campus or in the wider community that meets the intent and learning goals for this certificate. To use this option, make sure what you propose isn’t already offered elsewhere. Your adventure requires about 25 hours of your time. Prior to embarking on your adventure, you need to secure approval for your plan from the certificate’s advisor, Nick Horan (

Both options involve a two-step process; all certificate students need to fulfill these two steps in order for their engagement to be counted toward the certificate.

Step 1

Prior to commencing your engagement, submit the Community Engagement Proposal Form to Nick Horan. This form requires you to provide some basic information if you pursue option 1, and more detailed information if you pursue option 2 (create your own adventure).

Step 2

For students declaring the sustainability certificate in fall 2022 or later: Once your form has been reviewed, you will receive information on enrolling in ENVIR ST 398 (1 credit). Upon completing your community engagement and ENVIR ST 398, you will have satisfied the community engagement requirement.

For students declared in the sustainability certificate prior to fall 2022: Upon completing your community engagement project, submit the Community Engagement Completion Form to Nick Horan. This form asks a series of questions for you to reflect upon what you have taken away from your community engagement.

Please note the requirement cannot be met by a paid position.

Why Community Engagement?

One of the learning goals for this certificate is for you to “develop the capacity for an engaged life in which theory, practice, and reflection are integrated in the pursuit of a more sustainable world.” What better way to accomplish this than to engage in a sustainability-related project in our community?

Engaging with those who are striving to accomplish sustainability-related goals can help ground your knowledge in experience and provide opportunities for you to develop skills that are likely to prove useful no matter which career path you follow.