Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Grand Rapids: America's Greenest City

Well, it's finally starting to feel like Spring semester and we're just halfway through our STEP-FAR Seminar Series. STEP FAR, which stands for Science Technology and Environmental Policy Feedback and Research, is a bi-weekly seminar designed for students, staff, faculty, and fellows to get together in an informal setting to discuss their projects, research-in-progress, opportunities, and a variety of other issues related to science, technology, environment, energy, and policy.

Last week, over 30 people came to hear Professor Kathy Quick discuss her research on how Grand Rapids has become a leader as a Green City. The City's Green Grand Rapids effort is intended to establish a green infrastructure. The initiative will "focus on quality of life and the physical development of community infrastructure as it relates to greening, connectivity, natural systems, the Grand River, recreation and public health."

Grand Rapids showcases the most LEED certified buildings in the country, and is working to restore the rapids to the Grand River, the City's namesake. These efforts have been undertaken collectively through citizen involvement with both the public and private sectors.

Professor Quick, who is also the co-academic adviser for the Center for Integrative Leadership, provided excellent detail on the planning process and challenges of the initiative.

Next up for the STEP FAR Series: Thursday, April 2nd, second year MS-STEP student Matt Prorok will be presenting on "The Greenhouse Gas Emissions Impacts of Electric Vehicle Utilization in Minnesota." And in two weeks on April 16th, MPP student Marta Monti will be sharing about her research on food waste, which lines up nicely with the debut of composting here at the Humphrey School. Please join us!

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