Corwin (MPP/SEAS '25) increases residential participation in energy efficiency programs

November 1, 2023

Bridget Corwin (MPP/SEAS ‘25) was chosen to be one of nine 2023 Catalyst Leadership Circle Fellows, an annual program that provides Michigan communities statewide the resources needed to be able to tackle environmentally focused projects they otherwise wouldn’t be able to do. This summer, Corwin was assigned to work with Traverse City Light and Power (TCLP)—the city’s municipal utility— to help increase residential participation in programs that support home electrification and energy efficiency. 

“Over a third of the energy we use in our homes goes to waste,” Corwin shared with the Michigan Department of Environment Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE). “That’s a lot! Programs like TCLP’s are essential in helping residents save money, support their health, and protect the environment.”

She worked with TCLP and the GreenHome Institute to plan new community engagement strategies that highlighted the health, economic, and environmental benefits of sustainable energy practices. She helped create a guide to organizing an interactive energy fair and a timeline regarding how to engage Traverse City youth in sustainability initiatives in the community. 

Corwin chose to pursue a dual degree from SEAS and the Ford School because she views “policy as an incredible tool to bring groups together across differences to create equitable and sustainable solutions to environmental problems.” By pursuing both degrees, Corwin “wanted to gain the skills and knowledge necessary to be an effective scientist AND policymaker.” Her hope after graduating is to work in the public sector supporting an equitable renewable energy transition. 

She explained that she “used to assume that the most important environmental work was being done at the state or national level, but this fellowship really opened my eyes to the amazing sustainability initiatives of local governments across Michigan!” 

Based on her experience, Corwin is now more interested in pursuing a career in local government. She learned that “meaningful engagement with residents is critical to creating positive environmental change in communities.” 

About the fellowship

Catalyst Leadership Circle Fellowship is funded by the Michigan Department of Environment Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) and administered by the University of Michigan’s Graham Sustainability Institute in collaboration with Michigan Green Communities. Read more about the fellowship.