The experiences listed below are pre-approved for the Distinction in Sustainability and can be completed at any time after you have signed up for the River Hawk Experience Distinction (RHED) program.

  • C-ROADS or En-ROADS: Run a simulation using the Climate Interactive role-playing activities C-ROADS or En-ROADS with a school group or civic organization. This is to include the pre-and post- surveys and an evaluation of the surveys to be presented at the student research symposium or Climate Change Initiative (CCI) meeting.
  • United Nations (UN) Conference of Parties: Represent UMass Lowell (UML) as a student observer at a UN Conference of Parties (COP). After the return to UMass Lowell (UML) from the meeting, students should present to the Climate Change Initiative regarding their experience, observations, and how this reflects their views regarding future action on climate change
  • Rist Institute: Submit and win a Rist Institute Climate Mitigation Prize (10,000 lbs. CO2 reduction)
  • S.E.E.D. Grant: Submit and be awarded a Sustainability Engagement & Enrichment Development (S.E.E.D.) grant.
  • Sustainability Volunteer: Work as a volunteer for a semester-long project with a sustainability-related local organization such as Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI), MassPIRG, Mill City Grows, the Lowell Parks and Conservation Trust, the National Historical Park, or the Lowell Litter Krewe. Present a summary of your experience to the Climate Change Initiative or at the Student Research Symposium.
  • Campus Greenhouse: Work with the Office of Sustainability in the campus greenhouse or green roof projects over a semester or summer. Present a summary of your experience to the Climate Change Initiative or at the Student Research Symposium.
  • AmeriCorps member: Programs that improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering.
  • Coalition for a Better Acre: "Taste the Acre" intern in collaboration with the UMass Lowell Sustainability Office.
  • Mill City Grows: Work with Mill City Grows, an urban food justice organization in Lowell, MA that creates gardens, markets, and educational opportunities for all Lowell residents.
  • Class Project: An individual or group project specifically related to the Distinction completed during a UMass Lowell class ( that is NOT being used as a course requirement for the Distinction)
  • Faculty-led Thesis Research: Complete your project/paper/experience as part of a team, with a partner, or as a solo endeavor with the support of your mentor or faculty member.

Option: Students may propose a custom-designed experience

  • Submitted by student to reflect their individual experience
  • Must meet at least half of the Distinction's learning outcomes
  • Individual request approval is managed by the RHED committee members