UA Blog

Where Are They Now Wednesday: Will Heegaard

Will Heegaard from University of California, Berkeley was Highly Commended in the Politics and International Relations Category in 2013.


Will was highly commended for his paper "Military Security and Environmental Degradation: Challenges and Opportunities" in which he assessed the ecological impact of the U.S. Armed Forces, arguing that the focus on military combat on foreign soil has " created environmental threats more dangerous and pressing than our human foes."

Since participating in the Undergraduate Awards in 2013, Will has been involved in numerous exciting and rewarding projects that have given him the opportunity to travel abroad. Will has trained clinicians as a Programme Manager in West Africa during the Ebola outbreak and responded with Team Rubicon after disasters in Louisiana and Minnesota. Team Rubicon is an international NGO, formed in 2010 following the earthquake in Haiti, that unites skilled veterans with first responders to swiftly deploy emergency response units in disaster situations.

Will is currently based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He splits his time working as a Paramedic while launching  his start-up Footprint GBC, which provides sustainability consulting for disaster response agencies. Footprints modus operandi "combines sustainability consulting with clean energy deployment so every humanitarian organization can fulfill their commitment to first do no harm, and every affected community can develop through disaster."

 Will recently deployed a solar micro-grid to offset diesel use at Black Rock City’s Rampart Medical Clinic, and is now working with a community in Puerto Rico to power their recovery with clean energy.

"I'm fascinated by the connection between public health, environmental science and humanitarian crisis, and love projects that connect emergency response with sustainable development."

When he’s not on an ambulance or in the field, he likes to cook, write, travel and tinker on his off-grid tiny house!

Read Will's Highly Commended Paper on The Undergraduate Awards Library

If you would like to find out how to submit to this year's Undergraduate Awards click here.