Widgets Magazine

Woods Institute for the Environment launches FUEL program to engage with undergrads

The Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment is launching a new pilot program, the Forum for Undergraduate Environmental Leadership (FUEL), in order to engage with a broader portion of campus and expose environmentally-minded students to various career pathways.

The program, which is open to current juniors, seniors and coterms, will begin spring quarter. According to the Woods Institute website, the forum will allow selected students to “meet and network with emerging leaders and seasoned professionals in both the private and public sectors.”

Brian Sharbono, the program’s coordinator, said that FUEL is modeled after the Woods Institute’s Rising Environmental Leaders Program (RELP) that targets graduate students. Like its graduate student equivalent, FUEL aims both to teach leadership skills as well as to grant exposure to top members of the field. However, while RELP is a year-round program kickstarted with a “bootcamp” in Washington, D.C., the plans for FUEL are more local.

Throughout the quarter, the Woods Institute will invite outside speakers onto campus in order to participate in a dinner series and meet with students afterward. The series will culminate with a trip to Sacramento, where students will have the opportunity to meet with policymakers, nonprofit workers and private sector representatives working in the capital.

While many classes may focus on a single approach to solving environmental problems, Sharbono hopes to introduce students to each field so that they can compare the different opportunities available to them. After the more formal meetings in Sacramento, the students will also participate in a reception with Stanford alumni working in the area.

Although FUEL is selective — the target size for the first cohort is 15 to 20 students — Sharbono emphasized that students from any major or background are welcome, as long as they have an interest in pursuing environmentally-oriented careers.

According to Sharbono, the Woods Institute hopes to excite undergrads in a different way than classes might.

“Courses sometimes bring in outside speakers, but our whole focus is on that high level of personal engagement,” said Sharbono. “We want to be more practical and more rooted in the actual career world.”


Contact Ada Throckmorton at adastat ‘at’ stanford.edu.

About Ada Statler

Ada Statler '18 is an earth systems major hailing from Kansas City (on the Kansas side, not Missouri). She's most passionate about environmental journalism, but cares about all things campus-related.