Students in “Assessing Sustainability: Project Experience” (ENR/AEDE 4567) received hands-on training this semester on preparing and presenting research to policymakers. The class, co-taught by Gregory Hitzhusen and Neil Drobny, with additional contributions by other EEDS faculty and community partners, recently presented research findings to the City of Columbus’ Mayor’s Green Team. The work conducted by the students will contribute to the implementation of the Green Team’s “Green Memo III” which is the city’s five-year plan for sustainability that the Mayor unveiled in January 2015.
The Mayor’s Green Team is comprised of an advisory group of city staff and community, business and environmental experts. The team is further supported by working groups that focus on topics such as transportation, growth and development, education and engagement, energy, business, as well as green spaces and green building.
As their capstone project, the students spent the Spring 2015 semester working in teams to collect data, research best practices, and develop recommendations regarding strategies for the City of Columbus related to the nine sections of Green Memo III: Climate Change; Energy; Transportation; Waste Reduction; Ecological Systems; Water; Local Food; Built Environment and Community Engagement. Erin Miller, the environmental steward for the City of Columbus, worked closely with the students. About the project, she said: “the work of the EEDS capstone students will help us prioritize implementation strategies and determine the cost-benefits of the actions evaluated.”
Ali Clunk, a graduating senior working on an Onsite Renewable Energy team said this about her experience: "By working on this project I felt like I got one of the best experiences here at Ohio State. I was able to help the city by doing research that I was very interested in.” The teams’ final reports will be available online through the Ohio State University’s Knowledge Bank Campus as a Living Laboratory archive collection .
ENR/AEDE 4567 is offered through the Ohio State Environment, Economy, Development and Sustainability (EEDS) undergraduate major. The EEDS major is a multi-disciplinary degree program offered jointly by the School of Environment and Natural Resources (SENR) and the Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics (AEDE).
EEDS focuses on the human, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainability. The program provides the core knowledge and skills students need to launch a career in sustainability in the private, public or non-profit sectors. Students in the program can choose to specialize in one of four areas: sustainability and business, environmental economics and policy analysis, community development, or international development.