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Indiana University

SPEA MPA Student is Sustainability Intern at IU

June 19, 2009

A recent story in the Bloomington Herald-Times featured a graduate student from SPEA

Name: Andy Davis
Age: 31
Hometown: Bloomington
Education: Master of Public Affairs student in Indiana University's School of Public and Environmental Affairs, with dual concentrations in sustainable development and policy analysis.
Internship: Communication and outreach for IU's Office of Sustainability
Career goal: Amorphous, depending upon opportunities that come up and that he creates for himself, but with a focus on making Bloomington's economy more resilient in the face of an uncertain energy and environmental future. He sits on city's Commission on Sustainability.
Current goal: To encourage IU, Monroe County, the city of Bloomington, and all residents and students to work together on sustainability issues.
Example: Bike routes should extend from the city and IU campus out into the county to facilitate bike commuting by folks who live outside town. Planning for transportation alternatives must cross bureaucratic and governmental boundaries.

IU sustainability intern serious about making the world a better place

Andy Davis is a man on a mission. He wants to build bridges - bridges between individuals, agencies and governments, bridges that lead from where we are to a sustainabile society.

Davis is the 2009 Indiana University sustainability intern for Communication and Outreach. His mentor is IU's sustainability Director Bill Brown.

Davis grew up in Bloomington and graduated from Bloomington High School South. And he wants to not only stay in Bloomington after he finishes his master's degree, he wants to make Bloomington a more sustainable community, especially making sure its economy can handle an uncertain energy and environmental future.

Last summer, Davis and his then girlfriend, now wife, Melissa Henige traveled cross country to study how other individuals, communities and businesses were implementing sustainable practices. They planned their route to maximize their educational experiences. It started with an interest in green building, but quickly spread to all sorts of environmental topics.

They documented their trip with tons of photos and video interviews, all available at

For example, in Spring Green, Wis., they visited forester Jim Birkemeier, owner of Spring Green Timber Growers. He owns 300 acres of forest and cuts one tree per acre per year. But he doesn't pick the trees to cut based on board-feet of timber, but rather, culls the bent or sickly trees, leaving the biggest, healthiest trees growing. Then the mom and pop operation mills the lumber, dries it in a solar kiln, planes it into hardwood flooring and sells it directly to customers. The company captures the profit at every step, and see the true dollar value of a healthy, sustainable forest. See for more information on this profitable company.

Davis said his summer internship is both teaching him more about sustainability, and providing opportunities to help others make green decisions. For example, the 19 IU sustainability interns recently attended a charrette in Indianapolis to help "green" the city/county building. On Thursday, they met with local, state and federal government officials to discuss local and state cap and trade implementation ideas.

Reprinted courtesty of the Herald-Times