Colleen McLoughlin ’15
Utility NavTop NavContentLeft NavSite SearchSite SearchSite Search

Colleen McLoughlin ’15

Colleen McLoughlin ’15

Like many new graduates, Colleen McLoughlin wanted to find a way to use her talents to help others: “I wasn't sure exactly what I wanted to do after graduation, but I knew I wanted to make a difference.” She’s making that difference by organizing for green energy and environmentally responsible transportation. Since August 2015, McLoughlin has been working with Impact, a project of Environment America and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG). When considering the position, McLoughlin writes, “I knew it was a good fit—coworkers equally passionate about important issues, a lot of autonomy and responsibility right off the bat, the chance to lobby elected officials, and the opportunity to truly make a difference in your community.”


For her first year, she worked in Atlanta on a solar energy campaign with Environment Georgia. While the cost of solar energy has dropped dramatically in recent years, not everyone is aware of it. Over the next nine months, McLoughlin helped change that. She worked to get the mayor of Athens, Georgia, to pass a renewable energy resolution and launched a “solarize” program to drastically reduce the cost of installing solar panels for homeowners. As a result, McLoughlin writes, “We tripled the amount of residential solar energy in Athens-Clarke County.”

Recalling her time at the University of Hartford, she remembers more than just classes, “One of my favorite things about the University of Hartford is the close relationship between faculty and students.” Taking an interest in her goals, “All of my professors made sure I knew about all of the opportunities available to me. Professors would send me e-mails about internships and job opportunities they knew coincided with my interests. In fact, it's how I found out about Impact.”

This past summer, McLoughlin managed 25 college students in petition campaigns, collecting signatures door-to-door before making a move to Colorado. Still with Impact, she is now working with Colorado PIRG to improve transportation in terms of both environmental and economic cost. That means working with local groups to organize and reach out to state decision makers and advocating for priorities in mass transit, as well as in bike- and pedestrian-friendly infrastructure.

What’s ahead for McLoughlin when her two-year commitment to Impact is over? She’d like to stay with the organization, helping to expand their programs in western states such as Nevada, Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming. “I can’t imagine a more fulfilling job—I’m challenged every day, I meet great people, and I’m making a difference on the issues I’m most passionate about.” But she’s up to those challenges, in part because of the support she received at UHart: “I got so much out of my A&S classes, but because the faculty took the time to make sure I had experiences outside of the classroom, I was eager to graduate and enter the real world."