Zoning Laws and Their Impact on Public Health

During her time as a student assistant in the Hackensack Zoning Department, public health education and political science student Julianna McVeigh ‘22 learned that the increase in major weather events due to climate change will have a large impact on local governments, specifically their preparation and adoption of public health policy.

Her Honors thesis focuses primarily on how zoning laws intersect with public health. McVeigh is examining the methods and language that experts suggest in adopting local zoning ordinances to protect the health of the community, especially regarding climate issues like flooding.

“My experience at WP has been life altering. Without the encouragement of Honors College staff and my Honors peer leader freshman year, I would not be in the position that I am today,” says McVeigh, whose goal is to attend graduate school for public health policy after graduating from WP. “I have been able to grow in my job at the Honors College, beginning my sophomore year as the undergraduate assistant, and now holding the position of office intern.”

McVeigh credits Barbara Andrew, Honors College dean; Jan Pinkston, associate director, Honors College; and West Moss, Honors College academic program specialist, with helping her during her time as an undergraduate student.

“From Jan teaching my first-year seminar class, to Dr. Andrew helping me with scheduling and internships, and Professor Moss helping me craft LinkedIn posts, each member of the Honors staff has positively impacted my academic and professional life beyond comprehension,” she says.

In addition to her studies and student work in the Hackensack Zoning Department, McVeigh is a member of the Greek Honor Society and was awarded the Scholar Leader Award in 2021 by the Student Government Association. She also held an internship position at the Village of Ridgewood Health Department, where she worked closely with the vulnerable populations outreach coordinator and the registered environmental health specialist.