University of Vermont

Snowy Day

Becoming a Senior Fellow in the Environmental Leadership Program

by Mieko A. Ozeki, M.S., A.L.M, Sustainability Projects Coordinator

In October 2011, I completed my final professional retreat/training with the Environmental Leadership Program and became a Senior Fellow, joining the ranks of over 500+ environmental professionals who have gone through this special program. 

The Environmental Leadership Program started in 1997 with a group of forty emerging and veteran environmental leaders. They spent three years putting together a curriculum and funding to start the program. In 2000, they selected 22 individuals from across the country to be the inaugural class of Fellows. Eleven years later, ELP has trained numerous environmental leaders who work in wide range of fields including academia, non-profits, NGOs, government, business, and the campus sustainability field. 

This has been a great opportunity to develop new skills, share and reflect on experiences with colleagues, and take the time to write my Professional Leadership Plan (PLP). A PLP is a document that maps out goals, intentions, and milestones for balancing one's professional and personal life. This is a helpful tool for focusing and putting my goals into perspective within a specific time frame. The PLP is substantiated with an accountability and support structure called a POD. The POD is composed of 2-3 fellows, who act as sound boards as one composes and acts on their PLP.

ELP has been a great opportunity to meet new people as well as get to know some of my campus sustainability colleagues. In the 2011 class, there were two other ELP fellows: Amber Garrard (former Sustainability Coordinator at Green Mountain College and now Education & Outreach Coordinator at Yale's Office of Sustainability) and Riley Neugebauer (Sustainability Coordinator at Skidmore College). It was also a year where I got to interact with lots of senior fellows from the 2011 AASHE Conference in Pittsburgh to ELP's All-Community Retreat at the AMC Highland Center. Jesse Pyles, Sustainability Coordinator at Unity College and ELP Senior Fellow, coordinated a lunch meet up at the AASHE conference for ELP fellows and campus sustainability officers interested in the program. He put together this video below, interviewing a few of us on the benefits of ELP to campus sustainability leaders. 

I am excited in further involvement with ELP and connecting this network with the UVM community.

If you are interested in the program, check out ELP's website at: www.elpnet.org.