Marshall Conferences hero image

Hayes Barnard Sustainability Fellowship

The Hayes Barnard Sustainability Fellowship is a student and industry-focused program where exceptional students deepen their journey into the field of sustainability.  Our goal is to broaden the students' knowledge about and engage in the work of sustainability, which will prepare them to apply sustainable practices in their specific careers.

The Hayes Barnard Sustainability Fellowship experience is a transformational two years.  Students will enroll in program-tailored courses for all four semesters of the fellowship, with monthly sustainability community guest speakers to discuss sustainability issues as well.  In the final semester of the program, students will have a 15-week practicum experience, performing hands on sustainability work. By graduation, students will take their deepened appreciation for sustainability into their future endeavors, moving organizations towards more sustainable practices.  We want our students to thrive as sustainability champions in any and all fields and positions.  With sustainability becoming a vital part of the professional world, the Hayes Barnard Sustainability Fellowship experience will provide the competitive advantage needed for our students to thrive in their future endeavors.


Eligibility and Application Process

The Fellowship invites applications from:

  • Current USC undergraduates who are second-semester sophomores in majors from all university departments, divisions, and schools
  • Students with at least a 3.2 cumulative GPA

While academic achievement is important, Hayes Barnard Sustainability Fellows ultimately will be selected based upon their investment towards a better, more sustainable future.  Fellows are expected to be actively working towards sustainable endeavors, and to show high moral character as future leaders.  The program is intended for students who display cross-discipline interests outside of their field of study, and who are willing to engage in endeavors which require risk, growth, and the development of new skills.

Fellows must commit to taking an active part in all formal group activities, most of which will be offered on Friday afternoons.  Other activities will require some travel outside of normal school hours. 


The Hayes Barnard Sustainability Fellows Experience

The Hayes Barnard Sustainability Fellows will have a variety of developmental activities intended to prepare students for sustainability roles in whatever professional fields they choose to enter.

These activities will include:

Participation in four courses (three one-unit courses, and one four-unit course)

The academic curriculum will be four courses over a two-year period.  These courses will be taught by faculty from across the disciplines, and may include experts from the sustainability community as well.  The capstone course will be a class experience combined with a community-based externship, where the fellow will be expected to commit to at least eight hours a week of direct engagement with a specific organization or firm.  Over the four semesters, students read a variety of books, articles, and multi-media tools all focused on sustainability and sustainable leadership.  These courses will broadly focus on studying leaders in the field of sustainability, learning about the science of sustainability, a focus on green entrepreneurship, and other potential sustainability topics.

Guest lecturer conversations and networking opportunities

Fellows are expected to attend monthly cohort meetings where sustainability topics will be covered.  Guest lecturers will be invited to discuss their sustainability efforts, and students will get a chance to have conversations with these members of the community.

Coaching and mentoring around sustainability

Fellows receive individualized mentoring and coaching around their own leadership development.  Fellows will be expected to focus on a specific vision of their own sustainability goals, engage in behaviors which lead toward achieving these goals, and mark their own progress as a part of these mentorship relationships. 

Sustainability-focused excursions

While the externship is an important part of learning about sustainability, other out of classroom experiences will provide opportunities for students to learn in a variety of contexts.  Fellows will participate in formal and informal gatherings off-campus to facilitate community development and build relationships with their cohort.


Interested in Applying?

Online Application

All candidates must complete the on-line application.


Your application must include a one-page list of academic, leadership, and sustainability related activities.  Please be sure to include a ‘Sustainability’ section, where you review your own sustainability experiences.  Activities from high school may also be included.

Four Essays

The application will have you answer four essay questions.  Please see these questions below:

  • There are many ways individuals approach being sustainable in their lives. Which of the Sustainable Development Goals is important to you and why? What efforts have you made around this specific SDG?
  • Talk about a time you helped make the world more sustainable. Please be specific.
  • Where do you see your professional career in 25 years, and how will you be contributing to sustainability?
  • Where does your commitment or desire to make a sustainability difference come from? In other words, tell us about what influence or experience has inspired you to be more sustainable.

Link to Application


Students:  Please select a recommender, preferably a USC professor or administrator, who can speak to your interest in sustainability.  If you do not have a professor or administrator who can speak to your interest in sustainability, please ask an individual who has seen you in a professional or sustainability-related endeavor.  An internship supervisor, club advisor, or former leader will all be appropriate.  Recommendation letters will not be accepted from current students.  Once you have filled out your application, please add your recommender and send them a request for recommendation email.  Recommenders will be asked to answer a series of short-answer questions rather than submit a letter of support.

Recommenders:  The Hayes Barnard Sustainability Fellowship is seeking students who display a passion around sustainability efforts, and are looking for future leaders in the sustainability endeavor.  You should receive an email once the student sends you the recommend email.  The recommendation will consist of a series of brief questions; a formal letter of recommendation is not required. 

Have any further questions?  Please see our FAQ