Wednesday, June 22, 2022
By Giovanna Deo

Iowa Law is pleased to announce the new program director of the Hubbell Environmental Law Initiative (HELI), Blake Rupe. Rupe joins HELI from the University of Iowa Office of Sustainability and the Environment, where she served as sustainability program manager. There she worked to connect students and faculty with classes, research, and organizations to help advance the mission of sustainability in Iowa.

Rupe earned a BA in International Studies with a focus on human rights and a MA in International Studies with a focus in conservation policy from the University of Iowa.

Outdoor photo of new program director of HELI Blake Rupe
Blake Rupe will serve as the new program director for the Hubbell Environmental Law Initiative at Iowa Law. 

While studying waste and marine debris during her master’s program she recognized the need for more widely available tracking methods for everyday people to understand their impact. This motivated her to launch Re-APP Inc. in 2014, a company that encourages people to live more sustainable lifestyles. The startup’s first mobile application gave people the power to measure and track their recycling efforts over time and shortly after its release it was featured on the App Store’s best new apps list and received media attention in USA Today, NPR and Iowa Public Radio.

“I am passionate about meeting people wherever they are at in the sustainability journey, as well as creating a network of “do-ers” in Iowa and beyond that work to improve the natural world,” expressed Rupe.

Rupe grew her business in the Bedell Entrepreneurial Learning Laboratory, a business incubator for UI students, where her mentors connected her with the Iowa Startup Accelerator and she completed a six-month program in the accelerator, led by serial entrepreneurs. Rupe was one of 45 female entrepreneurs, academics and others named finalists in 10 categories of Technology Association of Iowa's seventh annual Women of Innovation awards.

Her passion for educating the UI community on sustainability is what also led her to pursue a job as a professor. She is an adjunct global health instructor, teaching courses that focus on global health issues and how to solve them. This position allows her to shape students’ awareness of environmental issues and empower them to act on these problems.

“We are delighted that Blake agreed to serve as program director for the initiative,” stated Shannon Roesler, environmental law professor and faculty director of HELI, “She has extensive experience in sustainability programming and a passion for connecting people working on environmental issues.”

HELI was made possible by a $5 million commitment from Iowa Law alumni Charlotte Beyer Hubbell (76JD) and Fred Hubbell (76JD). The initiative aims to generate opportunities for the University of Iowa College of Law to deepen and broaden its engagement with environmental issues in Iowa and across the nation.