Campus Reform | CU-Boulder looks to pay 'underrepresented' students up to $20/hr for 'eco-social justice' jobs

CU-Boulder looks to pay 'underrepresented' students up to $20/hr for 'eco-social justice' jobs

The Environmental Center seeks applicants that are “underrepresented.”

The University of Colorado Boulder Environmental Center is looking to hire students to help organize events around environmental justice and sustainability starting the fall of 2020.

The Environmental Center at the University of Colorado-Boulder is hiring for “Eco-Social Justice Events Coordinators” for the fall semester.

This position falls under the job title “Student Assistant II,” and pays students $12- $20 per hour, according to the university’s student employment site.  According to the job description, “Eco-Social Justice Events Coordinators” are responsible for developing program initiatives that “center on the equity and justice connections with climate and sustainability,” by focusing on health, justice, and sustainable practices.

CU Boulder External Student Body President Isaiah Chavous told Campus Reform that “providing a paid opportunity for students to fill leadership roles that align with the most relevant and pressing topics of our time is amazing." 

With a focus on equity and justice, Chavous said that the position is an innovative way to create community engagement amongst students, especially during COVID-19, saying "it will take a creative group of students in order for this role to flourish."

Mike Jennings, a sophomore at CU Boulder and former "EcoRep" told Campus Reform that he also thinks this is a positive initiative for students looking to get involved in creating educational opportunities and programs for their peers on environmental sustainability.

"The real world practicing of these programs will be much different this year due to the pandemic," Jennings said. "It will be interesting to see how students in this position use their creativity to carry out these programs safely."

[RELATED: CU-Boulder teaches students about ‘eco-social justice’]

Coordinators will host virtual events that include small group training and workshops, as well as feature a “weekly eco-social solutions series.” By doing so, it will provide students with “applied learning opportunities” and insight from community leaders. 

The Environmental Center notes that it specifically seeks out applicants from “underrepresented” student populations, such as “students of color, first-generation students, students with disabilities, LGBTQI students, low-income students, and non-traditional students.”

Chavous told Campus Reform that the Environmental Center seeking applications from underrepresented students shows accountability to support a diverse group of student needs, increase diversity, create new opportunities, and take action to "focus on students who otherwise may not be favored."

Similarly, Jennings told Campus Reform that having a leadership position that is led by an underrepresented student can offer great insight into what actions need to take place to help communities impacted the most. 

"Environmental issues impact marginalized communities far more than predominantly white communities in this country," said Jennings.

In addition to student employment opportunities through the Environmental Center, CU Boulder also offers additional programs and involvement opportunities that focus on “environmental justice,” such as the “Eco-Social Justice Team” (EJT). According to the team landing page, the EJT strives to “advance the knowledge of environmental justice issues as well as connect students with community partners working to alleviate environmental justice burdens.” 

The CU Boulder School of Education also offers the “INVST Community Leadership Program,” a two-year academic program that challenges CU students “through the interdisciplinary exploration of social and environmental change.”

The program fosters “community-based learning for eco-social transformation,” admitting up to 18 students each year. By upholding an “anti-oppressive” educational framework, the program aims to center the voices of underrepresented students and challenge “dominant ideologies,” according to the program application.

[RELATED: UC Boulder ‘eco-feminism’ program draws dozens of students]

The eco-social justice events coordinator position is one of seven open jobs at the Environmental Center. 

The center is also looking for bike mechanics, students to conduct residential outreach, a graphic designer, a social media and events communication coordinator, peer mentors, and a videographer.

Applications submitted after the August 10 deadline will be subject to consideration upon the availability of open positions. Online interviews were scheduled to take place August 17-28.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @melinanernst