Home Law School News Sustainability students present to Metropolitan Planning Organization

Sustainability students present to Metropolitan Planning Organization

Students in Professor Jonathan Rosenbloom’s Sustainability and the Law course will present class projects to committee members of the Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (DMAMPO). Presentations are open to the public and will occur on Tuesday, Dec. 2 from 12-3 p.m. at 420 Watson Powell, Suite 200, in Des Moines.

Sustainability and the Law is a course that focuses on the diverse and emerging area of sustainability by getting students out of the classroom and by engaging environmental experts, economic experts, and government officials. Students draft concrete proposals to change policy and advance issues relevant to sustainability. The course offers a unique opportunity to have a positive and real impact on the community.

“This class encourages us to critically examine the status quo of the Des Moines community in an effort to find ways to make it better,” says David Albrecht, a third-year law student at Drake. “We are then pushed to come up with creative but workable solutions to effectuate this change, with the hope that what we are working on in class today may be implemented in seeking a more promising tomorrow.”

Topics presented this year will include enhancing nutrition and locally-grown food in school meal programs, utilizing food trucks to provide more diverse and healthy foods, implementing an eco-district overlay, and incentivizing bike use.

“The students get out of the classroom and tackle some of the most pressing issues facing Central Iowa, including promotion of our health and economy. The projects have already been partially vetted, benefiting from numerous public and private sector experts and best practices from around the nation and globe,” says Rosenbloom, associate professor of law. “The projects represent a huge step toward implementing The Tomorrow Plan and continuing to improve the region, while providing a unique and invaluable learning opportunity.”

Metropolitan Planning Organization will have several committees represented for the presentations. Committees include the Technical Committee, the Policy Committee, and the Greater Des Moines Partnership’s Sustainability Committee.

“The Sustainability and Law course offers metro communities a unique opportunity to receive researched sustainability policies and how they were implemented into real world circumstances,” says Todd Ashby, executive director of the Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization. “This allows communities to see how these ideas might be integrated into local policy decisions.”

Each presentation will be followed by a Q&A. Comments and critiques are welcome in order for students to refine their proposals.

“The class is a unique opportunity for students to learn about the intersection of sustainability and the law, research best practices from other jurisdictions, and propose creative solutions for local challenges.,” says Andy Duffelmeyer, also a third-year law student. “It’s exciting to know the work we are doing will be considered by local leaders and could result in positive health, economic, and environmental impacts in the region.”

This is the fourth year that Drake Law students have developed and presented model ordinances to community organizations. With Drake Law’s emphasis on practical experience, Sustainability and the Law gives students a giant head start by working on real issues with community leaders.