Vanderbilt Lawyer - Volume 37, Number 1

A Smaller Footprint

Thomas Wuertenberger

Thomas Wuertenberger, a graduate of the University of Augsberg who serves on the law faculty at the University of Freiberg in Germany, chose to pursue an LL.M. at Vanderbilt during 2008-09 specifically to study environmental law with Professor Mike Vandenbergh. His thesis, which explored ways to reduce individual energy use and, thus, carbon emissions in his home country of Germany, was modeled on Professor Vandenbergh's research on addressing individual behavior in the United States, and Wuertenberger won the LL.M. Research Prize for submitting the best research and writing project of his class.

Wuertenberger's year at Vanderbilt was his first visit to the U.S., and one of his biggest surprises was "the incredible amount of energy Americans use every day. I arrived in July, when it was really hot outside," he recalls, "but inside the buildings on campus, it was so cold I needed a sweater. And the refrigerator in my apartment was huge - much bigger than the refrigerators people use in Germany."