Environmental Leadership Program


Now Accepting Applications for Environmental Leadership Program (ELP) Project Leaders

Do you have a passion for the environment or social justice cause? Would you like to turn that passion into action, while building your professional, leadership skills and networking with community leaders? We are looking for you! The deadline to apply is February 12, 2018. Click here for the application.


The Community-Identified Need

The Environmental Leadership Program (ELP) was created in response to a shared concern among our community partners that there are too few young people in the environmental leadership pipeline. As the "silver tsunami" of environmental leaders grows, the pool of our next generation of environmental leaders is stagnating - not because there is a lack of desire or passion from the Millennial Generation and Gen Z, but because there are few opportunities that can shepherd students in directing and focusing their environmental passion in their chosen career paths. To address this shared concern, the ELP was designed to specifically:

  • Identify undergraduate students who are passionate about the environment and want to cultivate a more just and sustainable community.
  • Provide students "real-world" experiences through collaborating and partnering with community organizations and professionals, from the "creation-to-implementation" of their projects.
  • Create pathways for the students to ensure they succeed, academically, professionally and personally.


The Student "Project Leader" Experience

Our program focuses on recruiting primarily freshmen and sophomores so they can be fully immersed in the ELP throughout their college tenure. By engaging project leaders early, it gives them time to create, develop and implement community projects that address environmental issues and supports the missions of the ELP and the community partners. Also, the "real-world" experiences will develop strong professional relationships with the community and the project leaders. 

Project leaders will develop interpersonal skills such as: 

  • Time management
  • Budgeting
  • Grant writing
  • Organizing events/volunteers 
  • Team building


Professional Leadership Training

The ELP includes leadership development in areas of: 

  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Developing "Servant-Leadership" skills 
  • Principles of "The Learning Organization"  

Workshops, in-house training, professional leadership facilitators and memberships in related organizations are all part of the leadership development component. 


Upon completion of the ELP, project leaders will receive an Award of Achievement and letters of recommendation from the community partners. Upon graduation, they will receive a green cord to wear at commencement. They will also have a project portfolio which will showcase their community project. 



Program Funding Sources

In 2015, a pilot of the ELP was launched through the generous donation of The Cummer Family Foundation. The early successes of the pilot determined to fully launch the ELP in 2016. Currently, we are seeking grants, donations and sponsorships from public/private foundations, organizations and individuals. For more information about how you can support the ELP, please contact Lee Anderson, Director of Development - (904) 620- 5213 or lee.anderson@unf.edu.  


We now have 12 project leaders and it is anticipated the program will greatly expand throughout 2016. We invite you to meet our project leaders and learn more about how they are applying their environmental passion and leadership skills in their community.     




Offer a robust, multi-disciplinary, community-based immersion program that will:
  • Create the next generation of environmental leaders who are passionate about cultivating a more just and sustainable environment.   
  • Enhance students’ undergraduate experience by providing an abundance of tools and pathways to succeed academically, professionally and personally. 
  • Incorporate guiding principles of the “servant-leadership” philosophy, including vision, values and virtues. 



Increasing pressure on our environment and our natural resources demands we have leaders who:

  • Focus on the preservation, protection and sustainability of those resources.
  • Make wise choices, both politically and philosophically.
  • Ensure a thriving environment for now and future generations. 



  • Build a firm understanding of environmental issues among ELP undergraduate students by connecting them with community partners and leaders (public/private sectors). The project leaders will work collaboratively on community-embedded projects focused on these identified environmental challenges.
  • Provide “real-world” experiences for the project leaders by working with community professionals in creating, developing and implementing solutions to identified environmental challenges.  
  • Create “teams” comprised of a project leader, a UNF faculty member and a community partner(s). Augment the teams with other students by offering volunteer opportunities related to the project. 
  • Provide professional development opportunities for the project leaders. 
  • Create career pathways through exposure to external networks. 
  • Complete a personalized portfolio validating the experiences and measurables of the project.