A day in the life of a USGBC intern
For many college students, summer is about lounging by the pool or catching up on some much-needed pleasure reading. For others, summer is a time to gain real world job experience, also known as an internship. So I chose the latter for how I would spend my summer and flocked to the nation’s capital to pursue some amazing opportunities.
Since I had already received an offer to intern at a federal agency three days a week, I was looking for something else to round out my summer experience. I began looking for opportunities at non-profits and found myself a spot at USGBC. I am studying environmental and sustainability studies, and so I wanted something that would complement my schoolwork, and there was no better fit than USGBC. I mean, why have one internship when you can have two?
One of the first things I've learned since starting at USGBC is how many moving parts there are to the organization. Prior to starting, I thought I was familiar with the work being done, but I quickly realized there is so much more than meets the eye. My position is with USGBC's Center for Green Schools, and even within this major division there are different teams. I have been working with the higher education team on different student involvement projects, and also helping to create and update toolkits for campuses. As a college student involved with sustainability on campus, I have gained great exposure to the many resources available to colleges and universities. Learning about different schools and their environmental efforts has opened my eyes to the many ways sustainability can take shape on campuses.
Coming from someone who loves all things green, the USGBC offices are amazing! I’ve realized how easy it is to make sustainable choices in an office environment like this. From all of the natural lighting, composting and recycling efforts, low-flow water features and green cleaning products, I was instantly impressed. And these were just the features I could see and instantly recognize – there are many more efficiency features I have learned about since starting. I have always discussed in my classes or through campus organizations the benefits of sustainability, environmentalism and conservationism, and how these elements can play a role in people’s health and well being. Being at USGBC you really see these ideas come to life, especially working with people who are actively engaged to make it that way.
One of the major reasons I took this internship was because I wanted to experience working for a non-profit that focused on sustainability and incorporated the concept into every aspect of its work. So far, USGBC has lived up to my expectations. I have found USGBC to be actively engaged with its employees, interns included, which is most visible in how energetic everyone is about their jobs and excited about the work they’re doing. It is nearly impossible not to feel settled and motivated in the office. The thing that has stuck me the most about USGBC is that it is not just about green buildings, but about how simple changes can positively affect people who are in the buildings. As an intern, I am immensely impressed at how these changes have even impacted me and made me excited to come to work, even on hot D.C. summer days when the thought of lounging at the pool sounds so inviting.