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Program Specialist - Sustainable Food Program

Ann Arbor, MI - Posted on: Wednesday 07/27/16


Job Summary

The University of Michigan Sustainable Food Program (UMSFP) is a student-driven initiative formed in 2012 that focuses on promoting education, building community, and producing sustainable food. Its mission is to foster collaborative leadership that empowers students to create a sustainable food system at the University of Michigan while becoming change agents for a vibrant planet. UMSFP builds on a long history of interest in and work on food sustainability issues on campus. Faculty members and student groups were working on food issues for nearly a decade before the foundation of UMSFP. This program, however, fills various needs that existed in 2011 and continue today, including a need for central organization for this work and the lack of a campus farm to serve as a space for experiential education, hands-on community building experiences, and on-campus food production. UMSFP is spearheaded by a student Leadership Team, with guidance from an Advisory Board, but the core work of UMSFP is carried out by its 12 student organization Member Groups which carry out their individual missions within the broader mission of the program. Students have laid the groundwork for growth of this program, with an operating manual, business plan, and standard operating procedures, and have developed a network of stakeholders across campus and the community. The Program Manager joined the UMSFP team in 2014 to support student initiatives and serve as a stable point of contact within that stakeholder network.

The Program Specialist supports the student-driven nature of this program by directing the administration and management of student development, programming, and budgetary aspects of UMSFP. This includes, but is not limited to, working closely with UMSFP student Leadership Team to coordinate programming; mentoring student leaders in navigating the university and creating lasting change; overseeing the trajectory of UMSFP and the Campus Farm; operating the program budget in partnership with student leaders; working with student leaders to document procedures for creating and maintaining on-campus gardens; serving as point of contact for key university departments such as Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum (MBGNA), Graham Sustainability Institute, Occupational Safety and Environmental Health (OSEH), Office of Campus Sustainability (OCS), and various academic departments, and acting as liaison between student leaders and campus and off-campus entities.


Student Supervision and Mentorship (25%)

    • Provide support and guide the UMSFP student Leadership Team, Campus Farm interns, and Member Group Council by facilitating efficient communication and acting as a point of contact within the Ann Arbor area community and serving as an expert in navigating within the University

Campus and Community Relations (25%)

    • Promote a positive relationship with all internal and external stakeholders, especially students

    • Champion efforts for diversity, equity and inclusion within UMSFP and the campus community

    • Meet regularly with U-M stakeholders to cultivate relationships and strategically guide the growth of the program

    • Serve as a constant contact point at U-M for both external groups (unaffiliated with U-M) and internally (OSEH, Student Life, MBGNA, Graham Institute, OCS, faculty, staff, students and others) to facilitate communication between the annual Leadership Team, Member Groups, the University, and community partners

    • Join students in representing UMSFP at pertinent events to create visibility and cultivate community and University relationships (on and off campus fairs like Earth Fest, Festifall, Local Food Summit, Harvest Festival, etc.)

Campus Farm Operations (15%)

    • Assist Campus Farm interns and work with MBGNA Campus Farm Manager in distributing produce through on-campus outlets such as Student Food Co and Maize and Blue Cupboard

    • Collaborate with Campus Farm Manager to connect the Campus Farm with student groups, activities, events, and projects

    • Partner with Campus Farm Manager to orient summer interns and work-study students with Campus Farm and Cultivating Community

    • Collaborate with Campus Farm staff and students to compile and streamline the use of summer volunteering lists

    • Create a bridge between Michigan Dining and Campus Farm in providing high quality produce to food service outlets across campus such as U-go’s and Fields Cafe

    • Partner with Campus Farm students and staff to establish practices and messaging regarding a high standard of safety and quality with food production, harvesting, processing, and distribution

Programming (20%)

    • Provide logistical support for student-driven programming that integrates a diversity of interests around campus (e.g., UMSFP Harvest Festival and other educational events)

    • Coordinate with Leadership Team and Campus Farm staff if necessary in developing program ideas originating from outside UMSFP (e.g. Telluride summer course visits to Campus Farm, CSP Summer Bridge Scholars Program, General Electric leadership development day, Local Food Summit)

    • Assist student farm staff and UMSFP Leadership Team, with guidance from MBGNA and UMSFP Advisory Board, in meeting goals of UMSFP Business Plan and adjust goals accordingly

    • Support students in developing inclusive programming

Development (5%)

    • Serve as the PIC for student-driven fundraising activities

    • Help identify and secure U-M and other sources of funds that are inaccessible to students acting alone (e.g.,: Transforming Learning for a Third Century funds)

    • Work closely with fundraising staff in Student Life, the Graham Institute, and Matthaei Botanical Gardens to identify and apply for pertinent funding opportunities to support staff, including student interns, and projects

Budgeting (5%)

    • Manage the program budget in consultation with the Leadership Team and MBGNA

    • Provide the necessary credentials to authorize spending for UMSFP and the Campus Farm

Strategic Planning and Visioning (5%)

  • Steward a long-term vision for the program based upon experience with the Leadership Team and Member Group Council each year


Required Qualifications*

Demonstrated ability to work in a collaborative and professional manner

Ability to work in a matrix organization with multiple lines of accountability

Experience organizing people to consensus

Experience in leadership development and mentoring of others

Strong work ethic and positive attitude

Willingness to work a flexible schedule with seasonality of workload demands

Strong written and verbal communication skills

Bachelor’s Degree with 1-2 years relevant experience

Energy, passion, and patience to support and grow the sustainable food community on campus

Desired Qualifications*

Experience working in a university setting as staff or student organizer

Experience with small-scale farming, ideally with working knowledge of permaculture or strong willingness to learn

Experience working with multiple stakeholders including, faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community partners

Experience managing budgets

Experience in grant writing or business development

Degree in education, leadership, environmental science, and/or sustainable agriculture

Master’s Degree or comparable experience

U-M EEO/AA Statement

The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.

To Apply:

Please visit http://umjobs.org/job_detail/128551/program_specialist_-_sustainable_food_program