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Connecting Classroom to Workplace

Industry wants graduates who have practical, hands-on experience so that they can contribute immediately upon hire. At the same time, today’s students want meaningful jobs with employers that are actively managing their impacts. We believe it is our responsibility to listen to industry’s needs, design effective development programs, and prepare students to secure positions in an increasingly competitive job market.

Our mission is to:
  • Partner with and learn from a range of industry experts to understand what they need from graduates
  • Develop a “sustainability lens” for problem solving that can be applied in any position
  • Cultivate leaders who know how to contribute immediately to the workforce
  • Provide applied learning experiences through workshops, projects, and mentoring
  • Directly connect students to internships, entry-level positions, and employers
  • Equip students with skills to differentiate and compete in today’s global economy
How we will prepare students:

10 Day Intensive Boot-Camp Trainings

The program has 60+ hours of workshops that include problem solving case studies, skills based training, interactive WebEx panels, and an in-person industry assessment. The condensed, off-season training format offered during the winter and summer sessions allow for increased student focus and maximized scheduling flexibility.

“Sustainability Lens” Problem Solving

We are gathering content on real-world implementation challenges from sustainability managers in the field and are framing them into problem-solving case studies for students. By teaching systems thinking and an interdisciplinary problem-solving strategy, our goal is to cultivate a “sustainability lens” so students better understand the questions to ask and factors to consider when making decisions in the workplace.

Skills-Based Workshops

Being an effective sustainability professional requires certain hard and soft skill sets. The skills that we focus on align with The Sustainability Professional: 2010 Competency Survey Report, published by the International Society of Sustainability Professionals (ISSP), and include systems thinking, strategic planning, problem solving, project management, and communication.

Perspectives Panels

Panels of current sustainability professionals who introduce themselves, their backgrounds, their roles in their organizations, what types of projects they work on, and their key pieces of advice will expose students to the numerous career paths they can pursue in the private, nonprofit, and government sectors.

Approaches Seminars

The goal of these seminars is to have industry leaders outline the how of sustainability integration. Exposure to the varied internal approaches in different industries — such as guiding frameworks, key performance metrics, assessment and reporting strategies, and biggest challenges — will enable students to better assess an employer’s program and talk knowledgably about opportunities for improvement.

Assessment Practicum

After completing seven days of intensive training, students will have the opportunity to apply their new “sustainability lens” in a real-world setting. During the three-day travel practicum, students will complete three four-hour assessment sessions with companies and will network with key Virginia sustainability leaders.

One-on-One Mentoring

Active mentoring and career coaching are critical to transition undergraduate students into young professionals. All students who complete the 10-day training will be paired with a mentor for the following semester. Mentors will help students set goals, share advice and resources, and assist in making new connections to build the student’s professional network. Mentors are current sustainability professionals with at least five years of experience who participate virtually on a volunteer basis. If you are interested in being a mentor, email Angie De Soto at adesoto@vt.edu.

Co-Internship Projects

Top performing students from each training will be selected to work in paid, interdisciplinary project teams to take on real projects with partner organizations during the fall and spring semesters. Projects will be highly structured with clear expectations and milestones for completion.


25th Anniversary

Celebrating 25 Years

    1992 through 2017, 25 years

Join us Sept. 15-16 to visit campus and reconnect with alumni, faculty, staff, and friends.

Celebrate with Us

Read the Summer Newsmagazine

    CNRE Newsmagazine Spring 2017


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We have 11 majors for you to choose from with over 10 options to specialize in. Select yours now and join us in bringing the future to nature.