Archive for global warming

A perspective about EE

I’ve gotten a bunch of questions from newly accepted students about the Energy and Environment concentration. First off, thank goodness you guys are coming! I have nothing but the utmost respect for my colleagues who are willing to dedicate their lives to the energy crisis or solving global warming, because both of those problems scare the heck out of me!  To answer your question, I turned to a braver soul- Risa Edelman, 2nd Year MPA Student and Program Assistant for the Energy and Environment Concentration: specifically in Environmental Policy and Management and Specializing in Applied Science.

Risa - March 2013


What were you doing before SIPA?

Right before SIPA I was working as a paralegal in international trade law, but I’ve been interested in the environment since I was 4 years old. I used to get in fights with my 4th grade teacher because I wanted write assignments on the empty side of old worksheets in order to save paper.  A friend recently told me she was in her kitchen and noticed she had started turning the water off while washing dishes and exclaimed “damnit Risa” because she knew this was due to my influence. SIPA was my way of making that loving annoyance a real career.


Besides the EE concentration how have been involved extracurricularly at SIPA?

I am the the former Finance Chair for the SIPA Environmental Coalition. I also do web development for the SIPA Energy Association. We put together a Brown Bag lunch series that included the Executive Director of the NRDC. We also helped plan high a impact career series with the Office of Career Services  to help students interested in transitioning into non-traditional energy and environment careers.


What do you do as the Energy and Environment Program Assistant?

Well first of, I planned this year’s fall retreat to Surprise Lake. I also organize happy hrs, faculty lunches, and resume workshops as well as extra curricular activities. As the weather gets nicer we are planning a hike and trip to baseball game. Basically my job is to figure out how we can continue to make this a good program and give a good experience to the students we’re serving. I love it. I feel like I get paid to talk to people I would want to talk to anyway.


What has been your favorite class in EE Concentration?

Sustainability Management with Steve Cohen.  It gives a really good overview of the field of sustainability and forced me to think about sustainability from different perspectives that I would not have otherwise.  I also got a practical skill out of it, policy memo writing.  Sustainability Management counts which is also a management core class, but doesn’t always get listed so make sure to ask!


What did you do this summer?

I worked for the Sierra Club in DC on their Beyond Oil Campaign. My job was getting students engaged in non-oil solutions and bringing alternative transportation to campuses. I helped students advocate for green transport alternatives recruited a new generation of student leaders. It was an unpaid internship, but I was able to get some funding from SIPA.


So tell me about this Earth Summit I’ve heard so much about.

Well since you asked, I am helping to organize the 2nd annual Columbia University Earth Summit.  I did the budgeting logistics last year, which was kind of our trial run. This year we hope to make it THE student run enviro event at Columbia. The main event one day conference with panels a discussion groups. It was important to us to plan an event that is solution focused. We didn’t want it to be a conference where people just talk and talk and nothing comes of it.  To help accomplish that goal, we’re hosting a social venture challenge run through the Resolution Project, a separate organization that awards funding and support to innovate student ventures. We’re also running a policy workshop  the day after the summit. Attendees will create a real policy recommendation  to submit to a legislative or deliberative body like the UN.  We’re not  just talking, creating action.


What are you most excited about?

Jeff Seabrite, the Chief Environmental Officer for CocaCola, is our closing plenary speaker.  I’m excited because it’s so important to work across sectors and to talk about how we can all come together to solve these problems in a sustainable way. Private sector needs to be a leader in that conversation, so I am particularly excited to hear what Mr. Seabrite has to say.


Do you need to be a SIPA student to attend?

Absolutely not! I would definitely encourage prospective students and anyone else interested to register for the conference here.  You can also volunteer to help at the event by emailing David MacDonald


What else should prospective EE students know?

I genuinely believe there is no better place to study these issues than at SIPA. Here, you able to get a exposure, not just people you agree with you or who care about these issues but even more importantly to debate and discuss with students who have different priorities. It’s a great time to come to SIPA because the we already run strong programs Energy and Environment, but the University has been investing in these programs at an unprecedented level so we new opportunities are arising and we are  expanding all the time.


Today at SIPA: Back-to-Back Events

At 4:00 P.M. today SIPA students will have the opportunity to hear from an expert in climate change and economics, and shortly thereafter from a Nobel Peace Prize winner.


A conversation with Sir Nicholas Stern, author of The Economics of Climate Change: The Stern Review and  Patel Professor of Economics and Government and Chair of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics.

4:00 pm
Room 1512, International Affairs Building
Sponsored by the School of International and Public Affairs


A conversation with Martti Ahtisaari, 2008 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and former president of Finland
6:00 pm
Kellogg Conference Center, 15th Floor, International Affairs Building
Sponsored by SIPA and the Center for International Conflict Resolution.


Photo Credit to Wikipedia

SIPA Energy Association Welcome Message

There are many student groups at SIPA that provide a place for discussion, debate, fun, networking, and friendship.  A full list of student groups can be found by clicking here.  One such group, the SIPA Energy Association, asked me to send out a message to incoming students that selected Energy and the Environment as a concentration.  However I thought it would be nice to post the message for all to view.  Orientation will feature a time to get to know representatives from other groups as well.

Dear Incoming International Energy Management and Policy (IEMP) Track Student,

On behalf of the SIPA Energy Association (SEA) Board, congratulations on your acceptance into the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) and on your choice to follow the IEMP Track.  The IEMP Track is one of the most prestigious energy programs in the world, and will equip you with the requisite skills to succeed in the dynamic international energy sector.

I would like to take this opportunity to briefly introduce you to SEA, a student-run organization whose efforts (with your involvement) will positively complement your academic achievements.  The primary missions of SEA are 1) to build a closely-knit community of students and practitioners of energy, 2) to enhance the energy curriculum by conducting a broad spectrum of activities outside the classroom, and 3) to act as the collective voice of energy students vis-a-vis the Center for Energy, Marine Transportation and Public Policy (CEMTPP), the body which administers the IEMP Track.

SEA works closely with CEMTPP’s director as well as the IEMP Program Assistant (PA), to schedule guest speakers, panels, site visits, energy-related international trips and much, much more.  Programming for the 2009-2010 academic year is already underway.  You can expect to attend the IEMP fall retreat, the Joint SIPA-SAIS Washington DC Energy Policy and Career Networking Trip, the Annual Alumni Dinner, the NYMEX trading competition, the Spring Energy Symposium and countless individual speakers, to name a few.  In addition, SEA releases a monthly student-run alumni newsletter, and plans to publish the first edition of a student-run SIPA Energy Journal this fall.  Finally, because SEA believes in building comradery amongst energy peers and establishing lasting relationships, we host countless happy hours throughout the year.

How can you get involved?  SEA strives to foster a culture of commitment to the energy program.  Thus, we believe the more you become engaged in SEA’s mission, the more you will gain personally and professionally during your time at SIPA.  In addition to attending general member events, all SEA members are invited to volunteer to assist with larger events, initiate and execute new projects (subject to the board’s approval), or compete for various assistant director or editorial positions.  Please mark your calendars for the First General Member SEA Meeting, scheduled for Thursday, September 10th from 7-9 pm in SIPA IAB room 1512.  At this meeting, you will have the opportunity to meet SEA Board members and learn details about membership and involvement, dues, and perhaps most importantly, be entered into the listserv as well as into the SEA peer networking database to assist you in your career building activities.

Until then, please feel free to contact one of the following SEA Board members (according to the first letter of your last name) with any questions about SEA, the IEMP Track and energy curriculum, CEMTPP, SIPA or regarding any other general issues.:

Last name A-I contact JP Yorro (President): jpy2103 [at]
Last name J-R contact Meaghan Casey (Vice President): mec2175 [at]
Last name S-Z contact Jeffrey Klug (Director of Communications): jjk2162 [at]

Again, congratulations on your acceptance into the program.  We look forward to meeting you all in September!


JP Yorro
President, SEA

"The most global public policy school, where an international community of students and faculty address world challenges."

—Merit E. Janow, Dean, SIPA, Professor of Practice, International and Economic Law and International Affairs

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