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An intern heads east to help 'Green the Capitol'

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Reid Haefer helped with sustainability projects in the U.S. Capitol complex.

As an intern in the U.S. Capitol, Reid Haefer (’10) became the eyes and ears of the House of Representatives’ Green the Capitol initiative.

Green the Capitol, a massive undertaking to reduce the carbon footprint of the nation’s largest legislative body, (See “Green House Master,” Spring 2009) is coordinated by the Chief Administrative Officer of the House of Representatives and the Capitol Architect. After graduating in June with a degree in Environmental Studies and a minor in Sustainable Design, Haefer interned in both offices for several months.

Western is only the second school in the country to send an intern to Washington, D.C., for Green the Capitol. The House’s former Chief Administrative Officer, Dan Beard (’66), chose WWU for the internship because of Huxley College of the Environment’s outstanding reputation.

Haefer helped with many sustainability initiatives, from boosting energy efficiency to promoting sustainable design. He also analyzed and clarified data for decision-makers in high-level meetings.

And Haefer was asked to “green” the office as a part-time intern for U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen of Washington state. While urging busy legislative aides to compost and recycle more, he also persuaded them to re-think their reliance on bottled water. “It would be just as easy to hook up to the D.C. tap water and use a filter,” Haefer says. “It reduces tons in transportation costs.”

After completing his internship in D.C., Haefer is working as an assistant to the director of a small, nonprofit renewable energy company in Colorado. He’s considering graduate school to study environmental planning.