With Maine's economy one of the most energy-intensive in the country, finding ways to reduce the state's energy consumption and create a more sustainable environmental and economic landscape is an issue of utmost importance, and one that Community Planning & Development student Greg Williams takes seriously. It's one of the reasons why he enrolled full-time in the CPD program at the Muskie School in the fall of 2007.
"I chose Muskie because of its strong commitment to a sustainable Maine and because of its connections to those shaping policy. As a Muskie student, I have been offered valuable opportunities to learn and contribute where I can." One such opportunity came this past spring when Williams served as a research intern for the Governor's Office of Energy Independence & Security.
As an intern, Williams studied current policies regarding land-use and transportation in the state while also looking elsewhere in the country for successful models to provide strategies for a more energy efficient and sustainable Maine. Williams will also be working with Clean Air-Cool Planet (CA-CP) as a Community Climate Fellow, gathering municipal consumption data for oil, natural gas, water, and electricity.
Apart from his research with CA-CP and the Governor's office, Williams has been exploring successful models for a regional curbside organic waste program, which he would like to see offered in the Greater Portland area. It is something he began studying last fall as part of his Economics for Public Policy & Management class. Research continued through the spring semester in his Sustainable Communities course. In May, Williams presented the idea to the City of Portland's Energy & Environmental Sustainability Committee. He is now considering it for his capstone topic.
"Such a program is of interest to me because it addresses issues of environmental and economic sustainability, while offering many opportunities for community collaboration and creativity."
Community collaboration, creativity and sustainability seem to be at the root of Williams' focus within the CPD program, and are indicative of an outlook that is broader than just the classroom. "Many of the issues we study at Muskie are issues that we as everyday citizens must be aware of and be willing and prepared to address. Having the opportunity to delve deeply into them with the intention of finding solutions and sharing them with others is very exciting to me."