Partner with UW to Tackle Your Environmental Challenges

Do you have an idea for an environmental project at your organization?

The University of Washington has a unique program for businesses and other community organizations to partner with a faculty-led team of graduate students to conduct a 6-month long environmentally-related project. Project teams are comprised of business, public affairs, urban planning, science and engineering students, who, along with their faculty mentor, have the brainpower to address your real-world environmental challenges.

The UW Program on the Environment is currently seeking organizations interested in hosting projects.

For more information about how to get involved as a partnering organization, please contact Anne DeMelle, Graduate Program Coordinator, UW Program on the Environment at: or  (206) 221-6129.


The Environmental Management (EM) Graduate Certificate Program is designed to bring together students from across campus to solve real-world environmental problems. To earn the EM certificate students take courses in Environmental Policy, Business, and Science application. In addition, all students must complete a Keystone project.

What is a Keystone Project?

Keystone projects are transformative experiences, in which students and faculty actively engage with a community partner to design solutions to contemporary environmental issues. Examples of past projects include a sustainability plan for the Woodland Park Zoo Society and an emissions reduction plan for the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma.

Keystone Project Details

  • Teams are composed of 4-8 students and a faculty advisor
  • Projects span about 6 months (two quarters)

Community Partner Responsibility

Over the course of a project, community partners can expect to develop a strong relationship with their Keystone team. Community partners offer guidance and feedback to the students, and work with the team to define project goals.

Community Partner Requirements

  • Provide $10,000 program fee to cover a portion of the total cost of a Keystone Project (estimated at $25,000)
  • Attend regularly scheduled meetings with students

Hosting a Keystone Project

The EM program is continually seeking community partners to host Keystone projects. If you are interested in sponsoring a team, please contact:

Environmental Management Certificate Program, PoE
Graduate Program Coordinator
Wallace Hall, Box 355679
University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195-2802
Phone: (206) 221-6129

2010 Keystone Project Spotlight
Keystone Project: Penn Cove Water Quality Analysis
Community Partner: Island County Marine Resource Committee (MRC)
Preserving the environment for future generations is a top priority for the Penn Cove community. In 2010, the Island County Marine Resource Committee commissioned a group of EM students to analyze the water quality of Penn Cove and determine the effects of septic and stormwater contaminants. Professor of Marine Affairs, Terrie Klinger, led the Keystone team as they researched the impacts of human activity on the marine and nearshore environments. Island County MRC Executive Director, Rex Porter, saw this opportunity to partner with UW students as a classic win-win project.

“We’re amazed by the continued partnership with UW’s Keytone Program. We get real-life, useable deliverables from the team which impact local water quality policy and investment decision-making. The University builds stronger community ties and the students have another proven element for their CVs. For a small local investment of time and money we bring back 10 times the value in UW Keystone services!”

Ultimately, the student’s efforts helped the Island County MRC determine where to focus its limited resources for the next year’s EPA grant submissions. Without the Keystone deliverables Rex said his team would be “one year behind in our marine resource protection efforts.”