Presidential Fellow helps residents protect the environment

July 22, 2021

Student fellow sitting at his desk working on projects

Jeremy Gustafson ‘22, is working for the public works department in North Haven, Connecticut this summer through Quinnipiac University’s public service fellowship program.

Through this fellowship, Gustafson has been tasked with a wide range of projects, from marking storm drains and helping educate the public on proper ways to dispose of waste to protecting the environment and going through decades old files to compile a data set of all households in North Haven that have septic tanks.

“Throughout my college experience, I have gained many skills that have greatly prepared me for this fellowship,” he said. “The economic and political science courses I have taken throughout my three years at Quinnipiac have taught me important lessons about bureaucracy and ways to ensure the government is operating efficiently.”

Gustafson is involved in many on-campus organizations, groups and clubs. He is the vice president for inclusion, diversity, and engagement for the Student Government Association, the director of event-planning for the Indigenous Student Union, and a student board member for the Academic Integrity Committee.

“My time spent on the Student Government Association has helped me become a better orator and has taught me how to conduct myself in a professional manner during formal meetings,” he said.

Gustafson is looking forward to learning more about environmental regulations surrounding storm drains, waste management and sustainability. He is also eager to gain a more holistic understanding of how North Haven functions as a municipality.

After he graduates, Gustafson said he hopes to attend law school where he would like to earn a J.D. as well as a masters in environmental law and policy. He said he hopes to eventually practice in the fields of municipality or environmental law.

“Working in public service is a very rewarding — and, at some points, stressful — profession,” he said. “No matter the task, I am able to make a positive impact on people’s lives, while also improving the overall quality of North Haven.”

This experience has reinforced Gustafson’s positive opinion on local government. He said he strongly believes that the most important level of government is local government, since they oversee projects that affect people on a daily basis.

Within the first week of his fellowship, Gustafson had already learned so much about how public works functions and how much falls under the department.

“The people who work in public works are dedicated to providing excellent customer service to the people of North Haven, and ensure that the town’s roadways, sewage and septic systems, and recent developments are running safely and smoothly,” he said.

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