San Diego, CA, October 2, 2009 -- The nation’s first “green” intern in the U.S. Capitol has arrived from one of the country’s greenest universities, the University of California, San Diego.
UC San Diego senior Mark Galvan recently began working three days a week in the Office of the Architect of the Capitol and “Green the Capitol” offices, and two days a week in the office of Congresswoman Susan Davis (CA-53).
The multi-faceted internship is the first of its kind and a unique opportunity for Galvan, said Russ Thackston, UC San Diego’s assistant vice chancellor for Auxiliary and Plant Services, who supervised Galvan’s green projects on campus. “His scholarship and the quality of his work as an intern for us contributed to his selection,” Thackston said.
|Mark Galvan (center) stands with Congresswoman Susan Davis (CA-53) and the Capitol’s chief administrative officer, Dan Beard|
“I have been fortunate enough to have been involved in a number of high-profile projects at UC San Diego,” Galvan said. “The university has an abundance of resources which include excellent student organizations and internship opportunities. There have been so many students, faculty and staff who were all eager to help me learn and I’m incredibly excited and proud about this opportunity to represent UC San Diego in our nation’s capitol.”
The idea for such an internship stemmed from a visit to UC San Diego by Congresswoman Davis and the Capitol’s chief administrative officer, Dan Beard, who came to exchange ideas with the university and to describe the “Greening the Capitol” efforts Beard’s office is leading. Beard and Davis were impressed with the university’s leadership on energy and sustainability issues, and by the involvement and dedication of UC San Diego’s students in these programs.
Beard expressed interest in having the same student energy and enthusiasm at the Capitol, which resulted in the formation of a “green” internship designed especially for a UC San Diego student to help support the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer’s (CAO’s) ongoing sustainability efforts in Washington D.C.
“As public leaders, we should do everything we can to involve youth in protecting the environment and advancing policies that promote clean-energy technology and innovation,” Davis said.
Davis has co-sponsored legislation to protect wildlife, preserve wilderness, and safeguard natural resources, and is a member of the newly formed Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC), a focused, action-based caucus whose purpose is to advance policies that promote sustainability.
Galvan is working in Congresswoman Davis’s office for two days a week, where he is learning how a congressional office works from the ground up, assisting the legislative staff on projects and research, and managing traditional intern responsibilities.
The remainder of the week he works in the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) which oversees the “Green the Capitol” program. That office aims to improve the sustainability of the day-to-day operations at the U.S. House of Representatives. At the CAO, Galvan assists on various projects that range from analyzing data from studies on building energy usage for energy, gas, and water savings, to helping develop sustainable practices for congressional district offices. Galvan also is working with the Green the Capitol Office in conjunction with the Architect of the Capitol (AOC) office. The AOC serves as steward of Washington D.C.’s most iconic buildings and grounds and enhances sustainability practices in the Capitol.
“Since Congresswoman Davis has been so instrumental on sustainability issues, I'm really excited to have this opportunity to work directly in her office, in close collaboration with the CAO and the AOC,” Galvan said. “It is an amazing learning experience.”
The “Green the Capitol” program has made significant progress on its goals in everything from removing the coal from the Capitol Power Plant and converting it into a cleaner burning fuel, to introducing biodegradable products in Capitol restaurants and cafeterias. “I am truly impressed with how much has been completed in the first two years of the program being initiated,” Galvan said.
Galvan, a structural engineering major, has completed coursework on alternative energy, sustainable development, microeconomics, project management, and design. Galvan also was team captain and project manager on the UC San Diego Concrete Canoe Team. That team built a 20-foot long, 200-pound canoe and raced it in the annual American Society of Civil Engineers' regional collegiate conference and competition.
After graduation, Galvan hopes to work in the “green” job sector. “I want to do everything from managing projects involved in energy efficiency and renewable energy, to helping build businesses in sustainable products and services,” he said. “My hope is that this kind of work will help solve the biggest challenge we face: climate change.”