Will Lutterman is a sophomore studying Economics, Environmental Studies and Statistics at St Olaf College. In his first year at St Olaf, Will wanted to pursue his passion for public policy through opportunities that would give him practical experience. He explains, “I see my college education going hand in hand with community development work. They are equally valuable to me.” In exploring his options, he was connected to a city councilwoman who opened the door for him to get involved in many projects throughout the community. Among the many projects Will was heavily involved in were Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE), Northfield Downtown Development Corporation (NDDC), Northfield Marriage Amendment Opposition, Northfield Anaerobic Digester, and an independent study on job creation in Northfield. Will says, “[Public policy] is exactly what I want to do when I graduate. I’m using this to build a repertoire of passion, strengths, skills, and experience in order to tackle the larger world head on.”
Through all of his community involvement Will has taken on an incredible amount of leadership roles and pursued many impressive opportunities for civic engagement. For example, through PACE Will was able to research and present a new style of energy retrofitting program. He even wrote the Northfield’s documentation and designed the entire program. Through NDDC Will built a database of local businesses, crunched data on the town’s industry profile and is now working to provide and analysis of the local economy to promote economic development. He provided the City Council with information about the proposed Marriage Amendment and testified in opposition, which brought the council to approve a resolution to publicly oppose the amendment. This fall, Will began to do research for an initial feasibility study of a proposed anaerobic digester near Northfield. Currently, he is preparing for a J-Term independent study for which he plans to do a comprehensive job creation analysis of Northfield based on his previous work through NDDC. This will ultimately serve an academic purpose as well as advise the city in regards to economic development.
Will has found that after only one year at St Olaf his civic engagement service has connected him with the community on a very intimate level. He says, “I grew up in the Twin Cities, but Northfield is my real home. After living here only a year, I find joy coming back and I want to make a real and serious commitment to a place where I see people coming together and living their lives in the best ways possible.”