2017: Member - Phil Longenecker

2017 Minnesota GreenCorps member Phil LongeneckerAbout me. I grew up in the northern suburbs of Chicago, then went to Goshen College in Indiana for undergrad. I’ve always had a broad range of interests, which led me to finish with a degree in Biochemistry and minors in Environmental Studies and Economics. My liberal arts background instilled in me the value of interdisciplinary thought, which is why I began considering a future in urban planning. I moved from Indiana after hearing about Minnesota GreenCorps because it was a strong program that offered me many opportunities to work in areas that united some key interests of mine: cities, people, health and the environment.

About my service. I’m a member of the Green Transportation - Air Quality track serving with the city of Minneapolis. Most of my work is at the Minneapolis Health Department, but I also serve with the Transportation Planning and Programming team at Public Works. My projects focus on biking and walking issues in the city. I’m working with a public health specialist to conduct and evaluate walking audits around public housing high rises, campaigning to improve city employee biking needs and behaviors, and doing some community gardening on the side. For Public Works, I’m supporting existing conditions reporting for capital improvement projects, researching best practice policies for project evaluation programming, and helping with the city’s annual cyclist and pedestrian count data analysis. Biking, walking and transportation issues in general are very interdisciplinary by nature, and so it’s been very exciting to serve in a position that bridges two of the lenses cities use to view them: public health and transportation planning.

Why I serve. I grew up in a family and community that values service, and Goshen College’s motto is ‘a culture for service,’ so the idea of serving has been instilled in me for a long time. This program has been an awesome opportunity for me to serve in an area that I find both compelling and worthwhile.

My favorite place to visit in Minnesota. I took the Empire Builder train from St. Paul to Chicago, and for a while, the route takes you right along the Mississippi River and the views were stunning—it’s a trip I won’t soon forget.