Nine UNE students receive prestigious Millennium Fellowship

UNE is the sole Maine recipient of the 2023 fellowship, which supports student-led projects that advance the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. At UNE, it will back nine students as they develop an on-campus thrift store to minimize waste.

Four students who have received the Millennium Fellowship pose with Alethea Cariddi, associate director of sustainability at UNE, on a campus deck. The campus quad and commons are visible at back.
Four of the nine 2023 Millennium Fellows — Paige-Marie Merrill, Melody Swartz, Alyssa Wallingford, and Miranda Carrabba — pose with Alethea Cariddi, associate director of sustainability at UNE (center).

The University of New England is a proud recipient of the prestigious Millennium Fellowship, reflecting its commitment to educating the next generation of globally conscientious community leaders.

A joint initiative of the United Nations Academic Impact and the Millennium Campus Network, the Millennium Fellowship recognizes and supports student-led projects that contribute to the advancement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The semester-long leadership development program provides a unique platform for students to connect, collaborate, and create meaningful, sustainable impact in their communities and beyond.

Only 9% of applying universities were awarded the fellowship this year. Nine UNE students were named to the Millennium Fellowship Class of 2023 — just over 4,000 students were chosen from a pool of 44,000 applicants. UNE is the only Maine college or university receive this year’s fellowship this year.

“It is a tremendous honor to receive the Millennium Fellowship,” said UNE President James Herbert. “This competitive honor reflects our University’s unwavering dedication to fostering global citizenship and empowering students to tackle the most pressing challenges of our rapidly changing world. We are excited to join an illustrious network of colleges and universities whose students, like ours, are working to make the world a better place.”

As part of the Millennium Fellowship program, the nine students from UNE will join a cohort of talented and passionate young leaders from around the globe. Over the course of the fellowship, they will participate in training, networking, and mentorship opportunities aimed at promoting thoughtful, tangible solutions to worldwide sustainability challenges.

The fellowship will support development of UNE SWAP (Surplus With a Purpose), a thrift shop for and by students that will open this fall on the University’s Biddeford Campus.

The shop — which will accept items like clothing, dorm furniture, small appliances, and school supplies — is a grassroots effort to reduce landfill waste produced by the annual springtime student move-out process.

“The UNE SWAP is one of many campus initiatives that will allow us to continue building upon our sustainable resource base and effect positive change in our community,” said Alethea Cariddi, M.S.Ed., associate director of sustainability at UNE. “Our students are known for being globally responsible citizens. This undertaking reflects our shared commitment to addressing immediate sustainability challenges while preparing students to think critically about our future.”