Trillium Student Research Initiative

Program Purpose

Duke University has committed to being carbon neutral by 2024 by taking actions that include ensuring climate neutrality and sustainability are a part of the educational experience of all students. To support this mission, Sustainable Duke has launched the Trillium Student Research Initiative (TSRI) to bring students and faculty together to incorporate sustainability learning outcomes into Duke's course offerings. Selected faculty are awarded with a fully funded student researcher for the summer to assist in the development of integrating sustainability into their existing or new courses. 

Program Structure

Application Timeline

  • Faculty and student applications are due February 16th
  • Sustainable Duke will review applications by February 21st and contact faculty and students for interviews
  • Final offers will be made between March 4-6th.

Student Expectations

  • Commit to 8-11 weeks (35 hours/week) during Summer 2020

  • Develop course materials per TSRI faculty vision

  • Meet with Sustainable Duke and TSRI Faculty to report on progress

Faculty Expectations

  • Provide vision and set expectations for course development during the internship

  • Meet with TSRI student at least once per week to discuss progress and provide necessary feedback (note: phone calls and videoconferencing are permissible)


Past Highlights


photo of Saskia Cornes
Saskia Cornes, TSRI 2018
In the summer of 2018, Dr. Saskia Cornes, assistant professor at the Duke Franklin Humanities Institute, collaborated with Bella LeTourneau (T ‘19) to develop a new course, Land and Literature. 

“This course had many moving pieces and Bella’s research support made a big difference. TSRI was a great opportunity to connect with and mentor a student, and to forward my own research and teaching goals.” - Saskia Cornes


Photo of Nicolette Cagle
Nicolette Cagle, TSRI 2019
In the summer of 2019, Dr. Nicolette Cagle, lecturer at the Nicholas School of the Environment, collaborated with Nadia Thompson (T ‘19) and Lauren Hadley (T ‘20)  in the development of an Undergraduate Diversity Pathway Strategic Plan for the Nicholas School of the Environment. 

“Working with the support of Sustainable Duke resulted in attaining and exceeding the original goals of my work and more effectively in launching new initiatives on campus.” - Nicolette Cagle




Below are applications for faculty and students. Please email all applications and questions about the program to

Faculty Application

Student Application