Published: Feb. 17, 2023

Today is the day that the University of Colorado Boulder Masters of the Environment (MENV) graduate students get their Capstone Project assignments! 

The Capstone Project is a hallmark of our program. Since 2017, MENV and community partners from far and wide have teamed up to bring hands-on environmental/sustainability opportunities to our students. As a professional degree program, we find it pertinent that our students get the tools, skills, and experiences they need to move into the environmental sector after graduation. 

THE PROCESSStudent's talking with potential Capstone Partners at the Capstone Networking Event.
Starting in mid-summer, our faculty and staff make calls for proposals from new and returning Capstone Partners. These Partners work in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors and operate at the local, state, national, or global scale. In the Fall, MENV administration collects Partner proposals and makes final cuts based on academic rigor, professional development opportunities, etc. During the Fall, our new cohort arrives and begins Capstone Innovation Lab 1 (CIL 1). During winter break, the faculty provides a list of all the proposed Projects to the first-year cohort. In Spring, the cohort begins Capstone Innovation Lab 2 (CIL 2). While enrolled in this CIL 2 several things occur: 1. MENV invites potential Partners to campus for the Capstone Networking Event where they meet with students. 2. the Capstone Selection Committee collects students' professional packets, which consist of personal success metrics, rankings of proposals, a resume, and a cover letter. The packet helps the Committee pair up teams based on rankings, skills, interests, and professional goals. 3. MENV administration announces the teams in mid-February, which is today! From here, MENV assigns each team a Capstone Advisor who helps them jumpstart their projects. Teams create a Team Charter, a Scope of Work, and a workshop presentation to present to their peers by the end of the Spring semester. 

Over the summer, each student spends 300 hours working on their project. Students spend this time in various ways: fieldwork, data collection, community engagement events, traveling, etc. By the end of the summer, teams are ready to synthesize and analyze their work to produce their deliverables. 

In their Fall semester, teams create Capstone Posters and Project briefs. Before Fall Break, MENV hosts the Capstone Symposium. During this event, student teams deliver 20-minute presentations about their work. After Fall Break, student teams submit their final deliverables, and their Capstone Projects are complete! 

Pie Chart showing that 45% of Capstone partners are from the private sector, 38% from nonprofit, and 17% from public. CAPSTONE STATS FOR 2023
This year we have a total of 29 projects! Of those 29, 73% of them are paid through stipends or hourly wages. Several other projects are also offering free gear, produce, and other related items. 

Our Capstone Partners come from various sectors. This year 45% of Partners are from the private sector, 38% from the non-profit sector, and 17% from the public sector. 

Here’s a list of the partners and the projects they are working on: 



Applied Ecological Institute

Improving & Refining the Biodiversity Module of The Regenerative Standard as part of Go-To-Market Strategy


Business Sustainability in Action: Metrics Reporting, Employee Engagement and 2024 B-Corp preparation

Boulder County Housing Authority

Superior Transit-Oriented Development Site: Imagining the urban future of Boulder County

Boulder Watershed Collective

City of Boulder Wildfire Ambassador Collaboration


Defining the CSR & Sustainability Positioning for a new Outdoor & Lifestyle Brand

CAP Management

Creation of a "Certified Green HOA"  Program


Extreme Heat and Health in Colorado

City of Arvada

City of Arvada Park Equity and Climate Resilience Assessment

CO Public Utilities Commission

Heat Beneath Our Feet: Exploring the potential of geothermal energy in Colorado and the opportunities and challenges of deploying at scale

Colorado Parks & Wildlife + OREC

Growing Colorado's Outdoor Regional Partnerships


Crocs Neutralization Strategy, A Journey to Net Zero


Exploring and Strengthening Government-Delivered Environmental Benefits

Dharma's Garden

Urban Farm Stewardship

E Source

How utilities are innovating customer programs for a low-carbon, equitable future in energy

Exxel Outdoors

Next steps towards reducing emissions and climate impact in the Exxel supply chain

Fremont Adventures Rec

Fremont County Socio-Economic Impact Study of Public Trail Systems

Growing Gardens

Farm to Food Access: Supply, Demand, and Stakeholders Assessment and Recommendations


Creating Equity and Climate Change Adaptation Guidance for Local Governments

Inland Ocean Coalition

Deep Sea Mining - the implications on the ocean environment and our future


SPP Transmission Development Optimization

Metro Caring

Local Food Procurement Supply Analysis

Next 100 Coalition

Equity and Representation: Environmental Boards and Commissions

OneEnergy Renewables

Analysis of Transportation Electrification Opportunities for Utility-Scale Solar Development

Rocky Mountain Conservancy

Conservation Planning of Rocky Mountain National Park

Seeds Collaborative

Collaborative delivery in providing Feasibility Analysis/Planning/Design for retrofitting a 70-year-old building to its highest and best use for Net Zero Energy Building Performance and Community Economic Development

Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership

Reducing Universal Barriers to Accessing Federal and State Funds to Reduce Risks to Climate Change Using Nature-Based Solutions in Colorado and New Mexico

Traditional Medicinals

Climate Strategy Materiality Assessment: Carbon, Biodiversity, & Water

University of CO Boulder

Compost: Challenge and Opportunity


Global Renewable Energy Attribute Market Research

Prospective students often ask us if they can vocalize the types of organizations they're interested in. In short, yes. While we can't guarantee we fulfill these requests, we try our best to listen to feedback from our students to bring a diverse pool of proposals forward each year. If you are an external partner interested in partnering with us in the future, feel free to reach out to Taber Ward at