Bay Area Climate Justice Fellowships 2022: Climate Justice in East Palo Alto and Beyond: Community Engagement and Climate Impact Communication
About the organization
In the Bay Area, as throughout the world, under-resourced communities are disproportionately vulnerable to climate change impacts. Since 2016, Climate Resilient Communities (CRC) has been on the ground, learning the specific needs of residents in diverse, under-resourced communities in East Palo Alto, North Fair Oaks, and Belle Haven (Menlo Park). CRC’s outreach cultivates environmental awareness while giving local residents a voice in proactive resilience planning and adaptation. By building stronger alliances between residents, schools, local government programs and community-based organizations, this work creates resilience against climate-related stresses such as sea-level rise and economic instability.
CRC began as a program of the nonprofit Acterra, an organization with a 50-year history of building community-oriented solutions to environmental problems. In 2020, CRC branched off as its own organization, dedicated to working hand in hand with the Peninsula’s underrepresented communities. This transition allows CRC to expand its offerings and help provide community-based solutions that create material changes in the lives of residents.
CRC’s work is guided by residents and community leaders through their Climate Change Community Teams. CRC partners with other community based organizations, faith-based organizations, and residents to generate and meet community-identified needs, through programs like youth education and leadership development, assisting local residents in accessing home energy audits, weatherization, and subsidized solar panels, as well as other projects.
Through this internship, you will be part of an exciting and growing organization, and have the unique opportunity to meet and learn from experienced community leaders. You will directly contribute to building climate resilience in a way that empowers low-income residents and brings the material changes a just world requires.
About the Fellowship
CRC is seeking a fellow to develop a guide for equitable and accessible community engagement around environmental justice issues and/or to help create educational materials to help low-income residents respond to climate emergencies.
In your application, please indicate your interest in contributing in one or both of these areas:
CRC Community Engagement Guide (graduate-level student preferred):
The fellow will develop a replicable guide for just and equitable community engagement, based around CRC’s work in East Palo Alto (EPA). In EPA, CRC conducted a community vulnerability assessment, which involved convening focus groups, soliciting input from neighbors door-to-door, and educational workshops. This assessment has served as a blueprint for nature based solutions to climate change and community resilience, as well as enabling CRC to identify the East Palo Alto community’s main priorities. The guide created by the fellow would document this experience and highlight key steps and lessons learned, serving as a resource for CRC to implement this approach in other communities, and for other nonprofits looking to create community-based solutions to climate change impacts. Creating this guide would involve reviewing and synthesizing existing documents, drawing upon relevant literature on community engagement for climate adaptation, and interviews with community members and CRC staff.
Climate Impact Communication (undergraduate or graduate role):
The fellow will design, write, and create a series of tip sheets to inform low-income residents about the actions they can take when faced with climate disasters like extreme heat, flooding, wildfire smoke, or unseasonable cold. The project will require clear and effective environmental communication and, once completed, will be translated by CRC staff into Spanish, Tongan, Samoan, and other languages spoken often in our communities. The recommendations should be grounded in the best available research and be immediately actionable for use in acute dilemmas. The tip sheets will be laminated and distributed at food banks, churches, during community events, and be a staple of our educational programming moving forward. Creating these tip sheets will involve a review of relevant literature and best practices, writing for a diverse audience, and interactions with CRC staff, partners and community members to refine drafts. Students with graphic or visual design experience will have a chance to use these skills in designing compelling visuals.
All candidates should bring a passion and commitment for environmental justice and community-based work, strong writing and communication skills, excellent organizational skills, and demonstrated experience in communicating with diverse audiences.
Additional qualifications for the Community Engagement Guide role:
Graduate level student preferred, but advanced undergraduates with relevant background and experience will also be considered.
Past experience in conducting interviews with community leaders is a plus, but is not required.
Comfortable reading and synthesizing academic literature and other materials
Background in/experience in urban planning, community organizing, and/or climate adaptation preferred.
For the Climate Impact Communication role:
Knowledge of graphic or visual design is a plus, but is not required.
Knowledge of Spanish, Samoan, and/or Tongan languages in addition to English, would be useful but not required.
Undergraduate and graduate-level students are welcome to apply.
Undergraduate and coterm Cardinal Quarter Fellows receive a base stipend of $5,500 to support living expenses during the fellowship. Financial aid and supplemental funding may be available to students who qualify (learn more here).
Students in 2-year Masters program will receive a stipend of $7,500 and PhD students will receive up to $5000 for a part-time role.
This is a full-time, 9-week opportunity during Summer 2022, starting no later than July 5, 2022. Undergraduate, co-term, Masters and PhD students from all academic disciplines are encouraged to apply. Priority will be given to students who have completed fewer than two previous Cardinal Quarter opportunities. Graduating students are welcome to apply, but may receive lower priority. PhD students may apply for up to 50% time.
Please review our program policies for complete eligibility requirements.
Additional Fellowship Requirements
This opportunity is associated with Partnerships for Climate Justice in the Bay Area (PCJ in the Bay), an initiative to build equitable climate change solutions by supporting partnerships between Stanford students, faculty and Bay Area community leaders. Fellows are expected to participate in cohort activities with other PCJ in the Bay Fellows.
Additional requirements include:
Complete an online program orientation.
Complete Engaging in Ethical and Effective Service workshop or worksheet.
Design a personal learning plan and share the learning plan with site supervisor and academic mentor.
During the Summer 2022 fellowship:
Submit a brief preliminary report.
Submit a final report, complete a program evaluation, and correspond with fellowship donor(s) as requested by fellowships program staff.
Attend one or more PCJ in the Bay Fellows cohort sessions (more information will be shared about these events in spring quarter)
Participate in outreach activities to share the experience and help publicize the program