By Grey Lee

I'm Maria Vietz, the new Advocacy Fellow at the USGBC MA Chapter. I'm excited to meet and collaborate with all of you over the next few months, to boost USGBC's advocacy capacity, increase Chapter involvement, and spread awareness of our target issues to stakeholders.

A bit about me: I'm originally from Scranton, PA (Yes, the hometown of “The Office.” No, I haven't met Steve Carell). This May, I graduated from Boston University's Pardee School with a Masters in International Affairs & Political Economy. At BU, I assisted in teaching a few environmental courses for undergrads, and worked with some of my classmates to host an intercollegiate graduate conference.

Before grad school, I went to the University of Pittsburgh to get my B.Phil. in International Relations, with a focus on Sustainable Development. While at Pitt, I had the amazing opportunity to comparatively study sustainability in Argentina, the Czech Republic, and China. Being exposed to environmental and energy policies across the globe solidified my interest in advancing sustainability, and contextualized a lot of US environmental issues.

I'm planning to use my degrees to address global development issues–of which environmental policy and energy use are, of course, vital components. From both my academic research and professional experience, I've found that one of the most effective–but underutilized–ways of advancing development is through more collaboration between the public and private sectors. 

The USGBC is especially remarkable to me because it functions so effectively right at that intersection of the public and private spheres. This framework seems highly translatable for making progress on other development goals, so I'm really looking forward to learning how the USGBC is able to make such great strides promoting green buildings. I hope my background in policy and our shared passion for sustainable development will make the next few months fun and productive.

Hoping to meet many of you next Thursday at the Showcase!

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