The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Energy Conservation

Alumnus Gil Jenkins’06, VP at OglivyEarth

Gil (Communication major, Political Science minor) is a vice president for OgilvyEarth, a global communications practice that helps brands harness the power of sustainability through innovative business thinking, strategic planning and communications.  He advises major brands, governments, nonprofits and startups on strategic communications, campaign planning, messaging, influencer engagement and media relations.

Gil has been particularly focused on advising clean energy companies across a wide variety of industry sectors such as advanced transportation, biobased products, recycled materials, energy efficiency, solar and water services.

Gil has led international media relations for the Government of Peru at the UN Climate Change Conference in Lima and supported the UN Foundation on a campaign to increase private sector engagement for sustainable energy solutions. Gil also led communications for XL Catlin Seaview Survey, a pioneering scientific expedition to research, record and reveal effects of climate change on the coral reefs.

Previously, he drove U.S. media strategy for the launch of several of Ford electrified vehicles, including the CMAX Solar Energi, a first-of-its kind plug-in solar hybrid concept vehicle. He also developed communications strategy for the award-winning Ford MyEnergi Lifestyle® initiative featuring Whirlpool, Nest and SunPower. Prior to joining Ogilvy, Gil worked at Weber Shandwick, where he managed grassroots outreach, events, and media relations for General Motors in California, including the Chevy Volt launch.  Gil was also an account executive at Ketchum Public Relations and SHIFT Communications. He started his career as a public relations specialist at Raytheon Company.

While at UMass, Gil held an internship as a Media Relations Intern with Points of Light, the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service.  He was a member of the UMass men’s varsity Soccer team.

About the Industry

Energy use is an integral part of all sectors of society, be they industrial, transportation, residential, governmental, individual, or other sectors. The bulk of energy used in the world comes from non-renewable sources. The field of energy conservation revolves around the belief that prosperity and environmental stewardship go hand-in-hand. Energy conservationists create solutions for a wide range of environmental issues through political, design, scientific and economic expertise.

Sample Classes

Below are a few examples, but we urge you to talk to your major/departmental advisor and explore available courses in SPIRE. Remember not to constrain yourself to classes within your major.


LEGAL 497N - Environmental Justice: This course provides an exploration of the environmental justice (EJ) movement. Central to our study is an examination of environmental degradation, inequality in exposure to pollution in relationship to racism and poverty, and globalization's effect on international environmental injustices. We critically analyze the role of grassroots activism, the law, and alternative dispute resolution methods used to redress environmental injustices. Coursework relies on relevant interdisciplinary scholarship, case studies, and engaged in-class simulations.


POLISCI 253H - Int’l Environmental Policy & Politics: Focus on the social, political, and economic factors causing environmental threats and by which efforts have been taken to manage or ameliorate such threats. Introduction to the major actors involved in international environmental politics and the major patterns by which problems are approached internationally.


RESECON 262 - Environmental Economics: Economic analysis of environmental problems, focusing on air, water and land pollution. Emphasis is on analyzing individual incentives that lead to pollution, the valuation of environmental quality amenities, and the design and evaluation of regulations that seek to improve environmental quality. Includes the economic analysis of global climate change.


COMM 494Cl - Communication, Ecology & Sustainability: As forms of communication contribute to the growing integration of the planet, the planet itself is threatened by unprecedented environmental and economic crises. This course will examine ecology and sustainability through the mediating logic of communication technologies, institutions and texts, as well as insights drawn from fields like Anthropology, Geography, Biology, Physics, and Spirituality.


STPEC 291 CE - Capitalism & the Environment: Explore the ecological crisis through the lens of both social/environmental theory and political economy. Address the capitalist system and its relationship to the environment, noting the limits of growth and any future possibilities of environmental sustainability. Investigate the origins of capitalist development. Understand the expansive nature of capital; how this global economic system interacts with the environment; do humans have any ethical obligations to the natural world; can we put a monetary price on clean air, forests, the ozone layer, or the extinction of certain species; the market's response to the crisis; how cities are responding to the ecological crisis; critiques of the current system and alternatives.


Depending on your main area of interest, your academic pathway will shift. To explore this field, you can take courses that will provide you with knowledge and skills in:


  • Analytical thinking
  • Persuasive writing & speaking
  • Creative problem solving
Co-Curricular Activities

Being involved in on and off campus activities and organizations will give you experience and help you hone in on what you really love doing. Consider joining organizations that will provide you with a deeper understanding of the professional areas you’re considering. You’ll learn more about the field, meet people who share your interests, and have something to include on your resume to show your dedication. Go to the RSO webpage and start searching!


  • Green Building Council (UMGBC)
  • Environmental Conservation Grad Council 
  • Green-Rainbow Party (UMass Greens) 
  • Net Impact UMass Undergrad (Net Impact)
Internships and Experience

Explore the different aspects of this industry through internships, co-ops, job shadowing, and other experiential opportunities. This will help you hone in on your interests while building an impressive knowledge base and resume for when you enter the job market. There are a range of organizations in this sector, from environmentally-focused non-profits to solar / alternative energy companies, from major energy companies to green consulting firms, where students can look for internships.

SBS students and alumni have completed internships in this field at places like:


  • North American Power
  • US Department of Agriculture
  • Landmark Ventures
  • Northeast Sustainable Energy Association
  • Oceana


Find an internship or co-op that suits you by using these search and application tips and by searching the Career Connect database.

Sample Job Titles
  • Energy Conservation Specialist
  • Environmental Analyst
  • Director of Environmental Affairs
  • Green Infrastructure Analyst