The University of Virginia’s Environmental Institute has appointed Elizabeth Andrews, a longtime legal and policy expert in Virginia, as the inaugural Environmental Sustainability and Resilience Practitioner Fellow.
Andrews will collaborate with community groups to continue her work on climate resilience, connect with Indigenous peoples and communities, provide law and policy analysis on environmental matters, and collaborate with students and faculty at UVA.
“Elizabeth Andrews is a highly respected legal and policy analyst in the commonwealth of Virginia, and her expertise is sought after by government officials, nonprofits and environmental scholars,” said Karen McGlathery, director of UVA’s Environmental Institute. “We are honored to welcome her as our inaugural practitioner fellow. The Environmental Institute, UVA faculty, students and the people of the commonwealth will benefit greatly from her guidance and experience addressing the environmental challenges that impact us all.”
Andrews, whose term began in August, will serve as the Environmental Institute’s practitioner fellow for one year. The fellowship brings Andrews’ experience building community partnerships to UVA in a variety of ways, including working with faculty sponsor Tanya Denckla Cobb on the Resilience Adaptation Feasibility Tool, or RAFT.
The RAFT is a project directed by UVA’s Institute for Engagement and Negotiation and involves partners at Old Dominion University and Virginia Tech. It is an innovative “collective impact” collaborative approach to climate resilience.
The RAFT team works with communities to assess needs and develop a checklist of actions to increase their resilience in the face of climate challenges. The team also helps communities find resources to address their needs. The RAFT primarily has been engaged with coastal communities and Andrews will work to adapt this tool for other communities.
Andrews also brings her community engagement, policy and legal experience to UVA through partnerships with Virginia’s Indigenous tribes. She will seek to help increase their resilience and address environmental issues such as the preservation of culturally significant natural resources during development.
Andrews, who received her law degree from American University, is an accomplished environmental attorney who has worked with the state government, nonprofits and universities.
She has served as water policy manager for the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and as the senior assistant attorney general and section chief for the Environmental Section at the Office of the Virginia Attorney General. Most recently, Andrews was professor of practice and director of the Virginia Coastal Policy Center at William & Mary Law School.
“I am honored and excited to be appointed as the inaugural practitioner fellow for the Environmental Institute,” Andrews said. “The University of Virginia has an outstanding reputation as a flagship research university and a leader in community engagement. I look forward to working with faculty and students on researching effective adaptation policies to increase communities’ resilience to climate change impacts.”