Schwarzenegger to teach environmental policy class

Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger speaks at a 2009 USC commencement ceremony. (Daily Trojan file photo)

The USC Schwarzenegger Institute will debut a class on environmental policy next semester taught by former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Christian Grose, an associate professor of political science and public policy. The course, titled Environmental Policy from Idea to Passage, will teach students how state environmental law is proposed, developed and implemented in the United States’ legislative systems.

The course focuses on California law and the efforts previous politicians put into enforcing environmental regulations, according to Grose. Specifically, it is meant to provide insight into the machinations of the Global Solutions Act 32, a bill enacted by Schwarzenegger during his governorship that aimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the state.

“We thought it’d be a great idea to offer a class to look at the landmark bill to teach students about environmental public policy specifically,” said Grose, the academic director of the Schwarzenegger Institute. “We want to teach students about the theories and ideas around policymaking and the politics of the policy making process.”

Schwarzenegger emphasized the importance of teaching students about environmental policies, in a statement to the Daily Trojan.

“I am incredibly excited to team up with Senator Fran Pavley and professor Christian Grose to teach a course on the policy and politics of the landmark Global Warming Solutions Act,” he wrote. “The law established California as an environmental leader and showed the world that sub-national governments have the power to act when national governments refused to do so.”

The spring class was developed by Schwarzenegger and Conyers Davis, the director of the Schwarzenegger Institute. According to Davis, the class is a culmination of previous outreach efforts and partnerships with politicians like Schwarzenegger and former California State Senator Fran Pavley, who will be a guest speaker.

“Arnold runs the Schwarzenegger Institute, so he’s going to be one of the lead professors, and he was instrumental in the policy and the politics that brought it into fruition the Global Solutions Act 32,” Davis said. “The Environmental Policy Director Senator Fran Pavley was the author of the legislation. So it seemed kind of like a no-brainer to us, if we have these two amazing policymakers affiliated with the University, that we wouldn’t tap them to teach a course.”

The class will also feature guest speakers.

“When we discuss the legislative process, we’re going to have multiple legislators who participated in the bill making,” Grose said. “We’ll invite a few people who were national leaders, international leaders … and there could be a panel of two or three people on a particular topic.”

Davis said the class is important given California’s current climate issues, especially with concerns surrounding the state’s handling of environmental disasters like the Camp Fire. He and Grose hope this class can inspire students to be active in the lawmaking process.

“This class is going to basically be kind of a history of this bill and help create a guidepost for how you might make policy in the future,” Grose said. “We’re hoping students will also be engaged with ways that they can seek to make changes themselves.”

Schwarzenegger said he is enthusiastic about the future of this course, hoping that the students who take it will become inspired to promote change.

“I think this is an important lesson for all future policymakers to learn and I think it is fantastic that the Schwarzenegger Institute is offering this course,” he said. “I look forward to being back into the classroom and meeting the next generation of leaders.”