Climate Leaders Fellowship

The Climate Leaders Fellowship is a transformative program connecting passionate high school students worldwide to address climate change. Through research, planning, and community projects, fellows develop leadership, organization, and communication skills, making a positive impact on local issues while learning from a global network of peers and advisors.

The Fellowship is provided by collaboration between the Stanford University Deliberative Democracy Lab, the Rustic Pathways Foundation and Rustic Pathways.

Dates: October 11 – December 9, 2024
Deadline to apply:  September 23, 2024
Cost: Pay What You Want

Accepted Fellows will:

  • Design and implement a volunteer project in your community aimed to reduce the impact and harms of climate change.
  • Join a cohort of like-minded high school students from across the world working on the same project. This means you’ll get to collaborate with other Fellows in your cohort while retaining the ability to customize and personalize your individual project based on your local community’s needs.
  • Get support from cohort facilitators who will provide guidance, answer questions, and coordinate virtual collaboration opportunities via Zoom meetings, email, and/or messaging.

[The program was] a transformative and invaluable experience for me

Julia Masuda | Yokohama, Japan

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I really loved that I got to interact with students from different parts of the world and learn from them

Pichamon Pongnonthachai | Thailand

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[The program] was an eye-opening experience … to create positive change

Julienne Adams | Ashland, Oregon

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In Their Own Words

“It was amazing. I was an introvert, but I got to communicate with people from other countries. It got me out of my comfort zone, and the other students had a bunch of good ideas.”

Sanjay Kumar | Johor, Malaysia

“You don’t have to know much about climate change and activism to join. If you are just starting, it’s a great introduction, but if you are already involved, it’s also a great way to motivate you. It’s inspirational hearing other people’s ideas and see them doing their best… I would definitely recommend it to everyone who wants to help.”

Ella Perin | Durham, North Carolina

Program Details

There will be a live weekly Zoom event each week, with half of the events required, and half optional. Outside of Zoom events, Fellows will be expected to plan and implement their projects. All told, we expect the Fellowship to take on average 2-3 hours per week.

Dates: October 11 – December 9, 2024
Deadline to apply:  September 23, 2024
Cost: Pay What You Want – Join for no cost, and at the end of the program, you decide how valuable this program was for you.

The Rustic Pathways Climate Leaders Fellowship is an exciting opportunity for students to take the drivers seat within education for advocating awareness of climate change. The students ran a very successful campaign and really developed a wide range of skills throughout this which adds so much value to their skills set which can be used in or outside the classroom.

Quote by: Helen Maisey Geography Teacher, Tenby International School (Malaysia)

Individuals who complete the Fellowship will:

  • Receive a certificate of volunteer hours from Rustic Pathways and the Stanford Deliberative Democracy Lab for hours they committed to the fellowship. For Fellows who are based in the US, all hours spent on the Fellowship will also count toward the Presidential Volunteer Service Award. Past participants have earned an average of 20 volunteer hours.
  • Have a specific story of community impact that showcases their leadership abilities to inspire others and highlight for other college, job, and/or scholarship applications.
  • Be invited to highlight their project and story on Rustic Pathways’ social media and/or website.

About the President's Volunteer Service Award

Rustic Pathways is certified to grant the President’s Volunteer Service Award (PVSA). The U.S. President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation created the award in 2003. The PVSA honors volunteers and their important role to the nation.

Volunteers can earn a bronze, silver or gold President’s Volunteer Service Award award and a certificate and letter from the President of the United States. The level of the honor varies based on a student’s age and the number of service hours earned during a 12-month period.

Gold PVSA award, 100+ hours of volunteer service

Varin Sikka, California: Program co-director Fall 2023 & Spring 2024. Recognized for organizing and leading multiple food drives.

Silver PVSA award, 75-99 hours of volunteer service

Malaika Singh, New York: Recognized for launching a fundraiser to buy several hundred pairs of sustainably produced socks for the local unhoused community.

Bronze PVSA award, 50-74 hours of volunteer service

Charlotte Patty, Texas: Recognized for implementing a high school recycling program, offsetting the community’s emissions by over 1,400 pounds.

Marin Peale, Virginia: Recognized for creating a composting system at a local middle school and launching a coat drive, saving coats from landfills for underserved people.

Alex Pool, Florida: Recognized for coordinating forest restoration and invasive plant removal incorporated into school environmental science curriculum.

Aryan Tuteja, Colorado: Recognized for designing a waste management project and fundraising to support the local waste management facility.

Kate Ragatz, California: Recognized for a solution to provide a sustainable energy source through hydropower while also supplying clean drinking water.

Climate Leaders Fellowship Logo

Bronze award recipients not pictured Sophie Berman, Michael Doyle, Krish Matai and Thaniha Mohan.

What Past Fellows Say