Education News

Confidence Returning to the Green Job Market Through the All Ivy Environmental and Sustainable Development Career Fair


On March 6, 2009, students from all eight Ivy League schools explored a variety of career opportunities in the environmental and sustainable development fields at the sixth annual All Ivy Environmental and Sustainable Development Career Fair hosted by the Earth Institute at Columbia University in historic Low Memorial Library.

More than 70 organizations attended the fair: city, state and federal governments, service organizations, advocacy groups, consulting firms and nonprofit organizations, including but not limited to firms like EnerNOC and AECOM, the Peace Corps, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Millennium Promise, Green Careers Center, and agencies from the City of New York. Representatives from these organizations met with students to discuss available opportunities at their organizations, interview students, and advise students on their environmental and sustainable development careers.  Several organizations were represented by alumni who once attended the fair as students-such as Lauren Grochmal of Green Careers Center.

"The fair is a great opportunity for students from the Ivy League schools to discover more about organizations that they may not have been familiar with in the past. The amount of networking that an opportunity such as this provides has been very beneficial for our students in their job search," says Louise Rosen, director of the Earth Institute's Office of Academic and Research Programs.  "Recruiters have the unique opportunity to meet some of the top students studying environmental and sustainable development, and that has helped address a number of these organizations' needs for interns and employees."

The nearly 800 undergraduate and graduate students who attended are currently enrolled in environmental and sustainable development programs at all eight Ivy League schools with a focus on environmental policy; civil, biological, environmental, mechanical, chemical and agricultural engineering and science; forest science and management; city, regional and environmental planning and design; and international development.

"The All Ivy Environmental and Sustainable Development Career Fair really stood out to me for a couple of reasons," remarked Grant Goodrich, a graduate student in Columbia University's M.P.A. in Environmental Science and Policy and a staffer for the event.  "First, I was really impressed to see how many students from the other Ivy schools are studying the environment.  It really gives me a sense of hope that the rising generation is serious about addressing the environmental challenges facing the world.  I was also really impressed by the positive attitude of the recruiters at the fair.  They seemed genuinely excited to be at Columbia and to be part of a career fair where the environmental community took center stage.  The last thing that stood out in my mind is that the students really seemed to appreciate the broad opportunities which were presented to them at the fair, from city government agencies to big environmental consulting firms.  Several of my classmates commented afterwards that they were exposed to opportunities that they wouldn't have otherwise considered, if they had not been at the fair.  All those things really contributed to a great event."

Graduate program representatives from several universities also attended, providing information on professional, graduate and summer studies as well as academic careers. These included Columbia's M.P.A. program in Environmental Science and Policy, M.P.A. in Development Practice and M.A. program in Climate and Society; the J.D. program at Vermont Law School; the M.A. and Ph.D. programs at Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies; the M.E.S.M. and Ph.D. programs at the Donald Bren School of Environmental Sciences and Management at UC Santa Barbara; and the M.A. and Ph.D. programs at the Duke University Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences.

The event was co-sponsored by the Brown Career Development Center, Columbia University's M.P.A. in Environmental Science and Policy, Cornell Career Services, Dartmouth Career Services and Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College, Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences Career Services, University of Pennsylvania Career Services, Princeton University Career Services, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and the Office of Academic and Research Programs at the Earth Institute.

About the Earth Institute

The Earth Institute at Columbia University is the world's leading academic center for the integrated study of Earth, its environment and society. The Earth Institute builds upon excellence in the core disciplines - earth sciences, biological sciences, engineering, social sciences and health sciences - and stresses cross-disciplinary approaches to complex problems. Through research, training and global partnerships, it mobilizes science and technology to advance sustainable development, while placing special emphasis on the needs of the world's poor. For more information, please visit