The Smart Growth Club provides a venue for future leaders to come together and address critical issues affecting the livability of our region. Balancing the long-term impacts and short-term outcomes of sustainable and equitable growth requires an integrated understanding of social and environmental factors, economic development, and public policy. The ability to analyze information and build partnerships across these areas is critical for success in both public and private spheres, and is what we aim to promote among members of the Heinz College community.
The mission of the Heinz College Smart Growth Club is to help students explore the intricacies of and interconnections between three key fields and their practitioners: community and economic development, environmental policy, and state and local government.
The Smart Growth Club formed in the spring of 2009 as members of the State and Local Government Club, the Economic Development Club and the Environmental Policy Group saw a unique opportunity for collaboration. The three clubs evolved into committees that jointly address Smart Growth issues in the Pittsburgh region and beyond.
The CED Committee seeks to connect students with public agencies and nonprofit organizations dedicated to community and economic development, including local governments, nonprofit organizations, community development corporations and financial intermediaries. We encourage members to pursue relevant professional development opportunities beyond the classroom to broaden their perspectives on current policies and practices that guide economic growth. In addition to promoting conference attendance and neighborhood and community visits, the CED Committee has successfully engaged local practitioners in dialogue on the Heinz College campus. In April 2011, the CED Committee hosted a panel discussion entitled, “Re-envisioning Smart Growth through Community and Economic Development,” which explored the intersection of economic prosperity and social equity in planning and development.
Environmental Policy: Our committee plans campus events to engage the Heinz community in assessing the environmental impacts of industry, development, and our personal behavior. In the past, we have organized discussion panels on climate and energy, developed sustainable procurement guides for staff and students, facilitated zero-waste events, and held informal movie screenings and discussions. All members are given an opportunity to lead a project or event and draw upon the resources of the team.
Local, State, and Federal Government: We look to increase interest and engagement in government institutions, specifically at the state and local level. Focusing on development topics that appeal to students and the community, our committee emphasizes the role that politics plays in regards to how development happens within communities.
Amy Silbermann, MSPPM 2013: President
Amy is originally from Rochester, NY. She graduated in '08 from Denison University where she majored in Biology and Environmental Studies, then went on to Teach High School Science with Teach for America in the District of Columbia for three years before coming to CMU. She is interested in sustainable community and economic development.
Nikolas Smart, MSPPM 2013: Secretary, Treasurer & Marketing Executive
Nikolas graduated from Oberlin College in 2006 with a degree in East Asian Studies. After living in Japan for several years and experiencing how convenient public transportation can be, he has returned to the States to pursue a career in Transit-Oriented Development.
Naman Chaurasia, MSPPM 2013: State & Local Government Committee Chair
Naman is an Electrical and Electronics Engineer who left the tech field because of spiked interest in Economic and Policy matters. Interested in matters related to nature and environment and their politics. He is a hardcore believer in Zero-Waste and all such small but smart and sustainable steps.
Riley Ohlson MSPPM 2013: CED Committee Chair (Spring 2011)
Riley graduated from University of New Hampshire a "few eons ago" and spent the past 5 years working in health care policy and politics for the Massachusetts Nurses Association. He comes to Smart Growth with an interest in transportation policy and sustainable economic development.
Deependra Chaudhry, MSPPM 2013: CED Committee Chair (Fall 2012)
Deependra is a 1st year MSPPM and Econ major. He worked on policy analysis at a major consulting firm and a non-profit before deciding to tough it out in grad school. His interests include infrastructure development, transportation policy and "random stuff."
David Birie, MSPPM December 2012, Environmental Policy Committee Chair
David graduated the United States Military Academy at West Point in 2001; then spent 10 years in the Army Infantry including 44 months in Iraq where he helped
to develop the Iraqi Army and local services and economy in Muqdadiyah.