Graham Sustainability Institute

Open exclusively to top-performing undergraduate students from across U-M, the Graham Sustainability Scholars program engages participants in collaborative, co-curricular activities that foster systems thinking skills and leadership development.

Become part of an interdisciplinary sustainability leadership program and receive special access to and funding for field-based experiences. Learn more about this unique program including requirements, field experiences, co-curricular activities, and how you can get involved.

Taking the Next Step In Their Leadership Journey

U-M Sophomores: Become A Scholar

Through the Graham Scholars program, support for a field-based course is often the highlight of the program, in addition to the fall retreat, seminars, and discussion. Read what scholars have to say about their field-based study experiences:

  • “This study abroad program exposes you to a wide array of perspectives, cultures, climates, people, food, and experiences, giving you a better understanding of the global system, the diversity of approaches to environmental management, and the varying perspectives and responses to climate change.”
  • “… the academic coursework often consisted of synthesizing these experiences in relation to the concepts we'd learned in the classroom. The opportunity to design and conduct an independent public health research study was incredibly valuable, and in my experience is a rarity in the course of undergraduate education. I feel capable of designing and carrying out independent research, which I could not have said before this program.”
  • “You're interacting with and learning from local people all of the time, whether that's through a guest speaker, community event, or informal interaction at the Mercantile. You learn about why people choose to live in the valley, why they love it, it's deep cultural and homesteading history, the challenges and joys of living among so much wildlife.”

Scholars Events & Activities Overview

Participation in courses and co-curricular activities provides an opportunity for scholars to further develop leadership skills and foster a sense of identity in and among cohorts, see the events and activities overview below. A critical component of the nine (9) credit course of study and co-curricular activities, each scholar is eligible to receive support to pursue a field-based experience.


  • Welcome dinner for new scholars.
  • Celebration dinner for graduating scholars.


  • Fall Retreat for new scholars, a 2-day event off campus the last week (Tuesday and Wednesday) of August.
  • Senior Scholars facilitate discussion and coordinate activities (vegetarian dinner cook-off competition).


  • Scholars Seminars (only offered Fall term): UC 327 Scholars Seminar (Juniors), and UC 427 Scholars Seminars (Seniors).
  • Juniors and Seniors: After completing your field-based course, submit the Graham Undergraduate Scholars - Field-based Experience Form to share your reflections with current and future Scholars.

October – November

  • Select a Field-based Course (typically involves travel during summer of Junior year).
  • See: Field Experiences


Learn More - Sustainability at U-M