Clinton School graduates Karen Zuccardi (’19) and Wes Prewett (’19) are serving on the Little Rock Sustainability Commission, a task force created to study sustainability and provide policy and program advice to the governing body of the City of Little Rock.
Zuccardi is serving as Chair of the commission, which executes the mission of developing strategies and innovations to promote environmental and economic health and prosperity within the city without creating unnecessary competition between various aspects of development.
“The city is now very engaged in sustainability initiatives, from energy conservation, to waste reduction, to improving forms of transportation in the city, to even educating the citizens about sustainability and the importance of adopting sustainable practices,” Zuccardi said. “The city is committed to making Little Rock a more sustainable city.”
Zuccardi, who is currently taking classes in project management through the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was originally elected to serve as Chair in 2020 and was reelected to serve a second term in February 2021. As a Clinton School student, both her International Public Service Project and Capstone project dealt directly with sustainability.
“One of the things that I loved about the Clinton School is that it allows you to shape your studies based on your passions,” Zuccardi said. “My passions are sustainability and social entrepreneurship.”
A native of Bogotá, Colombia, Zuccardi is the first Latina elected as Chair of the Little Rock Sustainability Commission.
“That’s something I’m also very proud of,” Zuccardi said of being the first Latina to lead the Sustainability Commission. “As Chair, I lead a team of 15 citizens, and the commission has five working teams. We work closely with the Mayor’s Office and the City Directors.”
Serving on the commission with Zuccardi is one of her classmates, Prewett, who joined the commission in February 2021 and serves on the transportation committee.
“I have been following along with Mayor Scott's administration since I moved back to Little Rock in 2019 and have been trying to find the right space to engage with the City since then,” said Prewett, who returned to Little Rock from Washington D.C. after working with Enclude. “I started volunteering with CALS' Safe Routes to Schools project building pop-up bike lanes at War Memorial and was connected with the transportation subcommittee of the Sustainability Commission through that project.”
Prewett said that he loves living in Little Rock but believes that the city’s infrastructure and built environment need to be improved.
“I joined the Sustainability Commission so that I could help push the city to invest in its infrastructure in a way that promotes equity, participation, and environmental sustainability,” he said.
Long-term, Zuccardi said one the commission’s goals is to see Mayor Frank Scott implement an energy-reduction plan for the city. Currently, the commission is working on facilitating town halls to better understand how life has changed for Little Rock citizens since the start of the pandemic.
“We are helping the city envision and implement goals and sustainability initiatives, but it is our belief that, because of the pandemic, maybe priorities have shifted,” Zuccardi said. “We understand how those priorities have shifted, and we want to incorporate that into the goals and the plan that the city is building in regard to sustainability.”
The Clinton School Speaker Series not only enhances the education of Clinton School students, but also provides a venue for the public to engage in intellectual discussions on the issues of the day.