Post-graduate Engagement

Post-graduate Engagement

A central component of cultivating youth within NWF is to continue to engage our Campus Ecology alumni in a meaningful way. 

The Emerging Leaders Initiative (ELI) is National Wildlife Federation’s premier young professional leadership program for post-graduates between the ages of 21—35 that’s engaging, empowering and expanding a network of young professional leaders who support the work and mission of NWF, our state affiliates and the conservation movement.

Building off the success of NWF’s Campus Ecology program, ELI is ensuring there is a strong young professional-focused leadership pipeline for post-graduates interested in strengthening the conservation movement in future years.

Visit our Emerging Leaders Initiative page to learn more!

Connect with the Emerging Leaders Initiative on Facebook and our Linked In Group

Request to join our Emerging Leaders Initiative listserv by emailing campus@nwf.org


Campus Ecology Alumni Spotlight


Jessian Choy, 2001 Fellow, University of California, Santa Cruz

Project: Jessian received the NWF Campus Ecology Fellowship and national David Brower Award for starting the Student Environmental Center (SEC) that:
• Led University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC) students to vote for campus commitment to the Kyoto Protocol.
• Launched an annual green strategic planning summit with 55 students, faculty and administrators.
Thanks to support from NWF, SEC grew to over 70 students leading 10 campaigns in 2009, 300 people attending the Campus Earth Summit in 2008 and over $120,000 in funding per year.

What is she doing now?

Want people to listen or change or funny ways to go green?  Jessian Choy has been researching that. For fun. Since 1999.  She also spends weekends finding toxic products to ban from her house.  She understands everyone isn’t as obsessive-compulsive. Yet. She also leads Negotiation and Role Play Trainings To Prevent Good Ideas From Dying With Bad Storytelling and Hecklers. At San Francisco Dept. of Environment, she led the creation of SFApproved.org to make it easier for you to buy over 1,000 green products.  (It was in the NY Times).  And she uses fun scavenger hunts to engage 28,000 City staff with draconian laws to buy green.  She makes online surveys that instantly show staff their Buy Green Score so they’re motivated to be greener before they submit it.  She also works on green contracts the City has with vendors.  

See her Fun, Draconian Tips to “Make” People Happy, Healthy or Green on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube.  Watch her keynote at the Hawai’i Build and Buy Green Conference.  Or learn more on LinkedIn

Jessian on her Fellowship:

Many thanks to NWF for taking a risk.  Instead of greening one aspect of the campus, NWF invested in my idea to create an organization to green everything on campus: food, purchasing, transportation, zero waste, etc. As a result, we brought together over 55 students, faculty and alumni to create a strategic plan to save money and protect our health and environment.  And we laid the groundwork for a new student fee that eventually funded a full-time program manager to make sure momentum won't be lost after students graduated.  Thanks, too, to the University of Colorado Boulder Environmental Center for being a role model and resource.


Emma Mullaney


Emma Mullaney, 2005 Campus Ecology Fellow, Sarah Lawrence College, New York

Project: Emma organized town hall forums to discuss the local effects of energy practices and global warming, engaged campus and community members from the Hudson River corridor and emphasized social and environmental justice. Sarah Lawrence continues its dedication to sustainability through the College’s Sustainability Committee.

What is she doing now?

In March 2012, Emma lead a delegation of U.S. youth to the 2012 United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), held in New York, NY. The delegation represented the sustainable  development and youth advocacy organization SustainUS, which works to increase youth participation in UN negotiations. At the CSW, Emma presented a research paper entitled "Countertopographies of Agriculture: Toward a Reframing of Gender, Food Production, and Development in a Globalizing World". This paper won first   place in the Citizen Science Graduate Paper competition and will be published in the May 2012 issue of the  development journal Consilience. 


Emma has also served previously as a SustainUS Policy Advisor and Delegate to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) 10th Conference of the Parties, held in 2010 in Nagoya, Japan. There, she and fellow youth representative Hirotaka Matsui (of Japan’s Eco League) delivered the Youth Opening Statement to the CBD Plenary Session. Emma has been invited to serve as Lead Delegate to the 2012 UN CBD Convention, to be held in October 2012 in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India, where she looks forward to continuing work with an international coalition of youth activists.

Emma is currently based in the Central Highland region of Mexico conducting eleven months of ethnographic fieldwork on maize diversity, livelihood struggles, and contested agricultural development while studying the indigenous Nahuatl language with support of a Boren Graduate Fellowship.

Emma on her Fellowship:
This experience gave me the support I needed in order to accomplish my vision of a more sustainable campus and in doing so, strengthened my belief in a sustainable future.


Phil Aroneau

Philip Aroneau, 2004 Campus Ecology Fellow, Middlebury College, Vermont

Project: Phil established a vermicomposting system in a pre-existing college greenhouse producing fertilizer from campus dining hall waste for campus and community organic gardening. The project was fully integrated into the campus's organic garden and the worms are now under the care of two paid garden interns and other student volunteers.

What is he doing now? 

Phil graduated from Middlebury College in 2007 and now serves as one of the founding coordinators of 350.org, an international campaign that's building a movement to unite the world around solutions to the climate crisis. This past year, 350.org organized what CNN called the "most widespread political day of action in history." On October 24, 2009, they helped coordinate over 5,000 actions in more than 170 countries. Phil's many roles include leading new media projects, youth programs and the Africa/Middle East organizing push. He has also been leading many of 350.org's leadership workshops and attended the international climate negotiations in Copenhagen in December 2009.

Phil on his Fellowship:
The NWF Campus Ecology program is like a Petri dish for innovative projects run by youth leaders. It provides them a springboard to reach for the game-changing solutions that our ecological crises require.