Wisconsin Sustainability Intern Program
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Wisconsin Sustainability Intern Program

The Wisconsin Sustainability Intern Program is no longer available. 

The University of Wisconsin Extension's Solid and Hazardous Waste Education Center (SHWEC) supports University of Wisconsin students to work in Wisconsin facilities to research solutions for specific waste-related problems to foster sustainability and profitability. In 2013 there were six interns assigned to public and private facilities throughout the state of Wisconsin.

Everyone benefits
  • Host facilities gain well-developed options for improved efficiency, cost savings, reduced waste and reduced regulatory burden.
  • Students gain hands-on experience in a real-world setting and an understanding of the environmental and financial impact of implementing pollution prevention and sustainability strategies.
  • SHWEC gains success stories of businesses and institutions that have used pollution prevention strategies to solve waste problems.
  • Other facilities benefit by learning about pollution prevention strategies that work.
How the program works
  • Host facilities identify their primary waste concerns and propose intern projects to address them.
  • SHWEC works with the host facilities to develop projects with good cost-saving potential.
  • SHWEC evaluates all of the project proposals using a weighted-scoring process that considers multiple aspects of a project, such as application to similar facilities and management support.
  • SHWEC recruits upper level University of Wisconsin system students with strong technical backgrounds. The interns work full-time at a host facility for three months in the summer to research waste reduction options. SHWEC pays the intern salaries, and bills the host facility at the end of the summer for the cost share.
  • Working with SHWEC staff, each host facility supervises its intern and directs the project within the scope of the agreed upon project.
  • At the end of the 12 weeks, you get suggestions to help save money by reducing or eliminating waste and move forward with your sustainability efforts. SHWEC shares this information with similar facilities in Wisconsin. Students have an excellent job experience to put on their resumes.

At the conclusion of a project, the host facility receives a report of the intern's findings. This report outlines the student's suggestions and provides a cost analysis for them. The student presents findings in a detailed presentation to the host facility.

Intern project agreement

Each project requires a SHWEC Intern Project Agreement. The agreement outlines the project, sets the scope of work, and defines the research and deliverables. It highlights the roles and responsibilities of the people involved.

A project's summary and description vary with every project. The roles and responsibilities of the host facility, SHWEC and the student intern for completing the projects are standard. These are detailed in the student intern program agreement (pdf). A project's outline is generally built from the following framework:

  1. Determine how waste is currently produced in host facility processes. Gather data from reports and running tests.
  2. Identify what similar facilities are doing. Contact vendors about best available technologies. Research and evaluate options for reducing waste.
  3. Work with the host facility's management and employees to determine feasibility of different waste reduction options. Develop a cost comparison between the use of existing procedures and the new ones.
  4. Implement approved changes.
  5. Enter data related to the project (e.g., amounts of waste avoided, cost savings, pollutants reduced) in an electronic spreadsheet.
  6. Summarize findings in a detailed report, including recommended procedures and system configuration along with an economic analysis and justification of any changes.
  7. Present findings to the host facility and SHWEC staff.

Students work full time at the host facility for the summer, for a maximum of 480 hours (12 weeks). The host facility appoints one person to act as the intern's supervisor at the host facility. SHWEC appoints one faculty member to oversee the project and guide its technical aspects. SHWEC bills the facility for its cost share at the end of the summer.

Contact Marlene Jaglinski by e-mail at marlene.jaglinski@ces.uwex.edu or at 414-227-3371 with questions related to SHWEC's student intern program.

UW-Extension provides equal opportunities in employment and programming including Title IX and ADA.


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