As sustainability and its technologies evolve, some urban communities are getting left behind. Urban Energy Garden, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit, is giving college students the opportunity to bring sustainability to communities.
Urban Energy Garden launched in 2017 after its founder and president Taylor Weaver finished a research project with his Georgetown Law School professor.
“A lot of people at the margins of the poverty line or who are right below it don’t have the same access to sustainable resources that other communities do,” Weaver said.
Weaver’s research showed that black and Latino populations are disproportionately affected by pollution because their communities are not regulated, which can lead to community health issues like asthma and lung cancer. He also found that there was a very low minority representation in regulatory sectors and wanted to change that.
Urban Energy Gardens is combatting this trend by providing internships and scholarships for college students pursuing sustainability-focused careers by partnering with government agencies like the U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency.
The non-profit’s most recent cohort of interns are continuing their education at Stanford, UC Berkeley, University of Michigan and Georgetown. Weaver said he hopes to expand UEG’s reach to other colleges around the country.
Urban Energy Garden Founder and President Taylor Weaver got the idea for the non-profit during his time at Georgetown Law School while working on a research project that identified minority college students majoring in science or technology lacked career opportunities and the resources.
Weaver said that funding for each student in the Environmental Internship program costs about $20,000. Interns use coding, data mining and robotics at their respective agencies.
Urban Energy Garden currently has offices other offices in Colorado and California. Weaver said he hopes to grow UEG to provide more internships and scholarships.