Summer Institute for Sustainability Leadership (SISL)

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In 2013, The Global Sustainability Resource Center (GSRC), in collaboration with UCI Student Affairs and The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF), hosted the first annual Summer Institute for Sustainability Leadership (SISL, pronounced Sizzle). 

SISL is a three-day residential sustainability leadership immersion program.  It offers select incoming first-year and transfer students a chance to meet fellow student leaders and start building leadership skills while learning about sustainability on campus and around the world. SISL empowers undergraduate students with the skills, tools, and relationships to become the next generation of sustainability leaders at UCI. The Institute includes workshops on sustainability, leadership and action-oriented projects that engage students in fun team building activities and community service.

The goal of SISL is to catalyze a culture of sustainability by training the next generation of sustainability leaders as they come to UCI.  UCI is the first campus in the University of California system to offer this kind of sustainability leadership immersion program for incoming college students. 

SISL 2013

SISL took place July 21 to July 23, 2013.  We had more than 60 applicants for the 20 SISL participant spots, and more than 30 applications for the six mentor positions.  Highlights of the program included: a trip to Ecology Center in San Juan Capistrano, an informal Q&A with global leaders from the Empowering Sustainability Conference, a conversation with UCI Chancellor Michael Drake, and a Real Food Reception, sponsored by Hospitality & Dining, where students presented and networked with campus administrators, faculty, and global leaders who work on issues of sustainability.

Read the UCI feature story on SISL.  Download the SISL slide show made by students (see below).

Hear what the 2013 SISL-ers had to say about their experience:

We surveyed participants and mentors anonymously to assess the impact of SISL on participants and identify ways to improve the program.  Here are some of their comments:

“With my participation of SISL, I really feel like I have a clearer view of the possible things I want to do in the future and how I can use my studies and experience from being at UCI [to shape] what I will pursue in my future. SISL helped me feel connected to the staff and faculty at Irvine, and made me feel like anything is possible with their help, as well as the other fellow SISL-ers. I am happy that the global leaders and student leaders shared their wisdom and inspired me in many ways for my potential as a student and a global leader ” – Anonymous

“I learned that there is a huge community on the campus that is working towards the same goals. It is very uplifting to know of all the help we can get from other students.” – Anonymous

 “I very much enjoyed this program.  It is definitely something that needs to be continued since we are the generation that must make the change to a sustainable world and the conference brought inspiration to start something that could impact the whole world.” – Anonymous

“I feel like I have already joined a family that is there to support each other along our new journey at Irvine.” – Anonymous

“What I learned most is that there are numerous ways one can be involved in sustainability. From lawyers to engineers or students to faculty! It made me realize that if we continue to grow this sustainability community, BIG improvements can be made.” –Anonymous

“I learned how to appreciate different aspects of sustainability and how to approach sustainability. I learned about my strengths and utilize my own and others to create a better example and become a better leader.” –Anonymous.

The full report containing these and other SISL assessments will be available to download shortly.

2013 Mentors

We are proud to introduce our six mentors and our project assistant:

    • Al Anoud (Ally) Baddour, Sophomore, Biological Science
    • Audra Bylund, Senior, Social Ecology
    • Katherine Chin, Senior, Earth System Science
    • Melissa Lewis, Senior, Social Ecology
    • Vivi Sanchez, Junior, Civil Engineering
    • Kenny Teeter, Senior, Civil Engineering
    • Jaimie Wan, Senior, Urban Studies – SISL Project Assistant

Read their bios to learn more about them and why they are serving as mentors.  

Interested in being a SISL mentor in 2014? Email us at 


We would like to thank Student Affairs Auxiliary Services, especially The Hill and Hospitality and Dining Services, for their generous support.  We give additional thanks to Administrative and Business Services,Cross Cultural Center, the Division of Undergraduate Education, and Student Housing.

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