By Adam Allen, Presidential Scholar in the Honors College
My Maymester trip through Europe was an absolute life-long dream come true. The journey was everything I thought it would be and so much more. As a student in Public Policy with a concentration in planning and economic development, I have long been interested in the countries we visited for their progressive approaches to planning issues. The image I’ve had of European planning has been completely validated. Public transportation networks are extensive and logical, former downtown districts that would have long sat dormant in the U.S. are alive and vital, and greenspace is beautifully preserved and valued.
The lectures involving planning, transportation, and green building fell directly in line with my future career goals. The lecture at the Chateau given by the representative from the city of Stasbourg basically documented everything I would like to do with my career: building an extensive public transport network, preserving greenspace and farmland, building dense and mixed-use new developments, and making more energy-efficient buildings while preserving those that already exist. The lecture by the representative in Freiburg also directly involved my career goals, focusing on sustainable planning and development.
The ultimate goal in my career is to implement more European-style planning in the development and management of US cities, so this trip has been and will continue to be an invaluable resource. For my main policy paper, I advocated that a U.S. city adopt more sustainable and progressive approaches to planning, including expanding transit, encouraging mixed-use development, and limiting energy consumption. For my company profile, I further explored SMART car, specifically their seeming dedidation to employee well-being. This trip was one of the most important things I have done in my life and I will value this opportunity, afforded through my scholarship, for the rest of my life.