Smart Growth Club

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.


Emily Rentschler- President

Sunny Lin- Vice President

Rhea Acuna – Secretary/Treasurer

Ian Everhart  Marketing Director

Rebecca Kiernan – Zero Waste Coordinator