The School of Public Affairs will launch a Center for Environmental Policy Wednesday for students who are interested in exploring local environmental issues through policymaking.
The center’s director, Dan Fiorino, said the purpose of the center is to sponsor lectures and programs, convene dialogue sessions and conduct research in regards to environmental issues. With the knowledge gained from such activities, the Center for Environmental Policy will improve local governance on the environment, Fiorino said.
“What they’re going to try to do is bring together private companies that are known for being green corporations and talk about how to further advance collaborative policy initiatives in the federal government, as well as state and local,” said Robert Durant, chairman of SPA’s department of Public Administration and Policy and a key player in founding the center.
Through this new center, Fiorino said he hopes to indirectly change environmental policy within the local government and nearby companies.
“We’re not a scientific research organization per se, although we are interested in how science is used, and we’re not an economics research organization per se, but we’re really focused in on the quality of governance and our ability to bring people together to resolve issues and to solve environmental problems,” said Fiorino, who is also SPA’s executive-in-residence.
The concept for the Center for Environmental Policy began when University Provost Scott Bass asked the various departments to brainstorm ideas for new centers on campus. Durant first approached Fiorino to start such a center since they both had an interest in environmental policy.
Durant said he strongly advocated for this center because he personally knew Fiorino since they participated in writing the books “Environmental Governance Reconsidered: Challenges, Choices, and Opportunities” and “Managing for the Environment” together. Furthermore, Durant knew of Fiorino’s work experience as the Environmental Protection Agency’s director of the National Environmental Performance Track.
With approval from Dean of SPA William LeoGrande last spring, Fiorino began organizing the foundation of the Center for Environmental Policy.
The Oct. 13 launch event is restricted to the faculty involved in environmental issues and students who are currently enrolled in environmental classes.
“This [launch night is] trying to reach out to the general environmental policy community, make people aware of our existence and what we’re doing,” Fiorino said.
Fiorino said he hopes to attract more students for future events, which will be open to the campus.