Alumni Profiles

Jason Rich '96

Assistant General Counsel, SunEdison

Home states: New York, New Hampshire, and Maine jrich
Graduate program: Environmental law and renewable energy, JD, Pace University School of Law
Senior project: Human Ecology and a Hand-Built Bicycle
Internships: Assistant Program Leader, Summer Field Studies, COA Natural History Museum, Bar Harbor, ME

Jason has worked as assistant general counsel at SunEdison since 2007 where he is responsible for the legal negotiation and documentation that leads to solar energy projects. He began his career with a New Hampshire law firm after graduating from Pace University School of Law.

Why did you choose to attend COA, and what kept you here?
I wanted to attend a college that would help me understand the relationships between people and their environment, and that would also challenge me. I stayed because COA did both.

What was the most valuable skill you gained while at COA, and how does it influence your career today?
I learned that to understand or make an impact on any issue, you really need to understand the perspectives and motivations of the people involved in and affected by the issue. Every day I use these skills in order to understand and overcome the many various impediments to installation of solar electricity generation projects.

What was your favorite class at COA? Why?
Of course there were so many it is hard to choose. In particular, what comes to mind now, would be the classes taught by Ken Cline and John Visvader for both kindling my interests in law, policy, and philosophy, and for giving me the analytical building blocks to get involved in those issues.

Please describe one of your most meaningful experiences at COA.
Advocating for an improved paper policy for the College at the All College Meeting (ACM). I learned the obvious lesson that good advocating can inform decision makers and lead to the desired change, but I also learned that your personal credibility as an advocate is also shaped by everything you say/do.

Why is a COA education still relevant—both in your own career and for current students?
My COA education is relevant every day as it has shaped my approach to how I accomplish everything I do in my career on a daily basis. As for current students, if they were to take away half as much as I feel I have taken away, I can only believe that good decisions will be made and hard problems will be solved!

Is there anything else you want to make sure others know about COA?
An education in human ecology at COA is personally very rewarding and prepares students to accomplish their goals.

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