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Sustainability Matters at UMBC

Co Lab: Help tell the story of UMBC & Climate Action!

March 28, 2018 3:16 PM

Apply today to the UMBC CoLab Program to help tell the about UMBC's efforts to address climate change through video production!

Create an effective narrative about UMBC’s campus, communities, and lives with an interdisciplinary team of undergraduate students. 

  • $3000 stipend 
  • 3-credit internship 
  • 4 weeks, 30 hours/week 

 Application Deadline: March 30 

The UMBC Interdisciplinary CoLab program is a partnership between Summer/Winter Programs, the Dresher Center for the Humanities, and the Provost’s Interdisciplinary Activities Advisory Committee. For more information, visit

An excellent opportunity for students in STEM fields to learn to tell effective stories and for students in the social science and humanities to gain research and technical skills.

Title: UMBC Carbon Zero – Working Toward a Climate-Neutral Campus  

Project description:

The project aims to bring awareness to UMBC’s efforts toward reducing its carbon footprint and tackling the problem of climate change.  Using the theme of “Think Globally, Act Locally,” the student participants will: (1) examine how human activities have contributed to an increase in global mean temperatures, (2) recognize the observed changes to the Earth system and potential consequences of our failure to mitigate increases in global temperatures, and (3) explore the actions we as the UMBC community can take to reach climate neutrality.  As an end product, the participants will produce a digital story in the form of a series of videos based on the UMBC Climate Action Steering Committee’s four working groups involving waste reduction, energy, transportation, and research and education.

 Sponsor description

Comprised of faculty, staff, and students, the Climate Action Steering Committee is charged with advising President Hrabowski on strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions generated by the campus community, to engage the campus community in efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and to promote and support instruction and research on the impact of greenhouse gas emissions.

The Climate Action Steering Committee is tasked with developing and updating an inventory of all greenhouse gas emissions made by UMBC as well as an institutional Climate Action Plan, which provides guidance toward reaching climate neutrality as required by the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, signed by President Hrabowski in 2007.  The co-chairs of the Climate Action Steering Committee are Lynne Schaefer, Vice President for Finance and Administration and Dr. Matthew Baker, Professor Geography and Environmental Systems.

 Project goals and work plan

The goals of this project are to:

·        Develop a series of videos that can be used by the Climate Action Steering Committee to promote UMBC’s Climate Action Plan and the work being done to become climate-neutral.  If it is later determined that the four-week program does not allow enough time for production of a series of videos, then a single video can be developed that covers each of the proposed topics.  

·        Engage students in conversations about Earth’s changing climate and allow them to investigate strategies used to address climate change on global, national, state and local levels.  In doing so, they will gain a sense of personal responsibility and recognize their place in solving a global issue.

·        Host a special invited-speaker seminar on the topic of climate change and mitigation strategies.  This seminar will be open to the campus and provide context as to where the UMBC Climate Action Plan fits into solving the global problem of climate change.  

·        Provide an experience for students to gain skills necessary for research, reporting, video production, and effectively communicating a message to a large audience through the use of social media and digital storytelling.

   The work plan for the project is as follows:

·        Week 0: Prior to the start of the summer session, students selected for the project will be provided with a list of reading assignments to aid in becoming familiar with the topic   

·        Week 1: Introduction of topic, create video storyboard, host seminar on climate change

·        Week 2: Energy and Waste reduction interviews, video production

·        Week 3: Transportation and Research and Education interviews, video production

·        Week 4: Finalize video production, produce students’ personal reflection videos

 Public component

The target audience for the videos produced during the project is the UMBC community of students, staff, faculty, and the local community.  The videos will remain publicly available on the sustainability website ( and may be used in future climate action forums and residence-hall based events to communicate the Climate Action Plan.  The students will also be responsible for developing a social media strategy for sharing the videos more widely.

 Skills and resources required to complete the project

Video production skills are needed, but not a necessary requirement for all students participating in the project.  All applicants should have excellent research skills and an interest in climate change in one or more of the following areas: policy, science, sociology, economics, ethics.   

Project Leadership

Project Sponsor Point of Contact:

Tanvi Gadhia,

Environmental Sustainability Coordinator


Project Leader:

Dr. Jasper Lewis,

UMBC-JCET Assistant Research Scientist


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