By Nathan Lindsey | June 20, 2018
On Friday, Jun. 8, I had the privilege of attending the Regional Center for Expertise (RCE) Quarterly Meeting, in downtown Atlanta, at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) office. At the meeting, professionals from higher education (Emory, Georgia Tech, Kennesaw State, Georgia State, Spelman, Agnes Scott, University of Georgia), industry and non-profit organizations, all met to discuss the next steps for this network of people who want to make Atlanta a more sustainable place to live, work, and grow. Over 65 people attended the meeting, each with a specific skill set or set of experiences that makes them uniquely valuable in ensuring that the mission of the RCE will be carried out successfully. The energy in the room was warm and inviting, as colleagues, students, professionals, strangers and complete newcomers (of which I was definitely one) all came together for a common goal.
Before the meeting started, I met an intern from Georgia Tech who is also working with the RCE for the summer. Her work involves researching other RCE’s in the United States and using what they have done as a building block to help us jump start our new RCE program and Youth Network. People all around me were networking and trading ideas from one organization to another. I started a conversation with a woman in front of me, and she ended up giving me her email address as well as the names of places I might be interested in working after I graduate. Overall, the meeting participants were extremely helpful, supportive, and glad to see so many new faces in the room.
The meeting started with introductions and updates from different committees and workgroups. Our very own Director of Sustainability at Emory University, Ciannat Howett, gave an update on the governance committee at the meeting. She introduced the new members of the steering committee, who will provide advice, make strategic decisions, and monitor the quality of the RCE as it develops. The facilitators also presented goals the RCE Network wants to accomplish this year, and the efforts that everyone needs to contribute to ensure the success of these goals.
Afterwards, we broke into smaller groups: Professional Development Training, Sustainable Development (SDG) Training, K-12 Engagement, and Launch Event Planning, and the Youth Network. Each group met for about 45 minutes to brainstorm ideas and challenges associated with each of these areas. A representative from each group then reported their results to the larger group. Every section had a plethora of valuable ideas, which will no doubt go into building the framework of the RCE.
As the summary of these small groups began to wrap up, the meeting facilitators presented closing statements which left me feeling hopeful and inspired. When the meeting adjourned, I could see the massive amount of work that it would take all of us, to get the RCE and Youth Network up and running. However, I felt like it could be done. The warmth and collaboration of so many great minds made me feel like we could collectively accomplish anything. As the summer continues, I will be reporting out on the efforts on the RCE and what you and others can do to get involved. I hope you find something useful in my updates, and I hope that you too find some way to live your life in a more sustainable manner.