By Sydney MaHan, Student Correspondent
As a new semester begins at William & Mary so too does the work at the Virginia Coastal Policy Center (VCPC).
Formerly the Virginia Coastal Policy Clinic, the VCPC was renamed last spring in light of its success in providing up-to-date legal and policy analyses of coastal issues to stakeholders. Although under a new name, the Center will once again be assisting government agencies and nonprofits in their efforts to better respond to the challenges that face Virginia’s coastal and marine resources.
“Each semester offers its own unique experience,” says Roy Hoagland, Director of VCPC. “This semester, for example, we will be having the students spend some time learning about the legal and policy challenges of rural governments on the Eastern Shore.”
This semester features the largest class size in the Center’s history— 10 students, who will work in teams of two, guided by Hoagland and Toren Elsen and Garrett Gee, former VCPC students who have returned as Practicum II students to mentor the new class.
Many of this year’s projects involve researching and drafting adaptation options for rural areas facing sea level rise. Students will be working with new and previous VCPC partners, including the Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission and the Choose Clean Water Coalition.
By providing students the opportunity to apply their legal knowledge to real-world issues, Hoagland hopes students gain a realistic view of the intersection between law and environmental policy.
“The great thing about policy is that it’s never the same,” says Hoagland. “You never know what ingredients you’ll need for what you’re cooking.”
An extension partner of Virginia Sea Grant, VCPC at William & Mary Law School provides policy and legal analysis to its partners on coastal resource and community issues in its mission to educate and train the future lawyers and leaders of tomorrow.