’burg and Beyond

In Lewisburg and far afield, Bucknell’s students and staff make a positive and palpable difference.
Maggie McConnell and Taylor Lightman, director of the Lewisburg Neighborhoods nonprofit, standing in front of a river
Emily Paine
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Maggie McConnell ’22 worked with Taylor Lightman, director of the Lewisburg Neighborhoods nonprofit, to create a climate action plan for the borough.
" "Lewisburg, Pa.
There’s no catch-all solution to climate change, and its effects are as diverse as the people who feel its impacts. To help the residents of Lewisburg tackle their unique climate challenges, Maggie McConnell ’22 partnered with local constituents to draft the borough’s first climate action plan.

What She Did
McConnell began her work in fall 2021 by taking a meticulous look at Lewisburg’s greenhouse gas emissions, seeking to pinpoint the borough’s largest contributors.

“For a rural Pennsylvania town, transportation tends to be the biggest generator of greenhouse gas,” says McConnell, an environmental studies and political science double-major. “I actually analyzed origin and destination points using Google Maps and cell phone location data, which gave me a clearer image of local car transportation volume.”

She also created and deployed two community surveys to gauge residents’ top environmental concerns and identify the most vulnerable populations.

What’s Next
McConnell collaborated with a task force comprising Lewisburg citizens, infrastructure experts, government officials and community organizers — including a nonprofit called Lewisburg Neighborhoods.

“Real change happens through local community effort,” McConnell says. “The strategies that are created need to work for this specific community, so it was important to have as much representation as possible.

“It’s been great to amplify so many different voices, and to combine my interests and passions into something I’m proud of,” she adds.

Once completed, the climate action plan will go before the Lewisburg Borough Council for a vote.
— Brooke Thames