BERK Helps Students Understand Public Policy In Action


Communities often wonder: how can we act on our vision and put our aspirational ideals into practice? BERK specializes in helping communities do this work by setting actionable policies, working with community stakeholders, establishing plans and strategies, and building the tools necessary to get to implementation.

Professor Christopher Niedt, Associate Professor of Applied Social Research, invited me to talk with a group of undergraduate students at Hofstra University in New York about this type of work. Students in the Intro to Public Policy and Public Service class explore a variety of fields that work with public policy. They wanted to better understand how policy changes affect people and communities in real world situations. The class had several questions: How do we make our cities more resilient to natural disasters and climate change? How do we balance concerns about equity and affordability with new green technology? How do we bring together opposing stakeholders and make meaningful change? What is the role of state and federal grant programs in helping communities implement environmental work? What skills did you learn in school and which did you learn on the job?

I spoke about work I have done with environmental policy and implementation, including projects like the Bonney Lake Centers Plan (which was coordinated with their Watershed Plan) and work in the Renton Sunset Area, with The Nature Conservancy, and on several local Shoreline Master Programs. To find out more about BERK’s work with environmental policy implementation, you can contact me at

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