Giovanna Araujo

For the past seven years USGBC has made Greenbuild accessible to people who would otherwise not be able to attend through a scholarship program. At last year’s Greenbuild, 156 individuals received some type of scholarship to Greenbuild. Scholarship recipients represent a diversity of people from around the world. Each has a story to tell. Each brings their own passion to their work. Each has a role to play in making green buildings and communities a reality for all.

As we lead up to Greenbuild 2015 in Washington, D.C., we will highlight a handful of the awesome individuals who joined us in New Orleans last year. We welcome these folks to the USGBC community and encourage you to follow their stories.

Name: Giovanna Araujo 

What is your hometown? Sao Paulo, Brazil

Where do you live now? Bloomington, Indiana

Tell us a little about yourself. I grew up near the largest city in Brazil and one of the top 10 largest metropolitan areas in the world, Sao Paulo. At age 15, I received a scholarship to study a year of high school in the U.S. I settled in a Midwestern town with a population of 316 residents—including me. It was quite a contrast to my hometown where 18,690 people per square mile add up to almost 20 million residents. When I’m asked why I chose to come to Indiana, I say that Indiana actually chose me. It is true that my host family choose me to live with them, but the opportunities and connections I have made here have completely changed my life. I came back for college to study Environmental Interior Design in Columbus, Indiana. Columbus has a remarkable reputation for its Architectural collection, including buildings by Eero Saarinen, I.M. Pei, Robert Venturi, Cesar Pelli, and Richard Meier.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party? Gautama Buddha, Prophet Mohammed, Krishna, Confucius, Zoroaster, Jesus, Ernest Holmes, Marcus Garvey, Akhenaten, Patanjali and Allan Kardec.

If you could be a superhero, who would you be? She-Hulk (Lyra)

What drove you to apply for the Greenbuild scholarship? For many years, architecture has served as the physical and visually aesthetic expression of money. But at its very core, architecture also serves a practical function as our shelter from what we consider to be the great dangers of the outside world. I decided to focus all of my studies on recovering this essence, while understanding that in nature, the composition is not balanced until it is connected to an ecosystem. Removing trees to plant a building that doesn't breath, doesn't transform daylight into energy, and pollutes our water instead of cleaning it, is not safe for the health people or the planet. As a designer, I have been seeking solutions to these problems. While browsing online resources for sustainable practices, I found the Greenbuild website and waited patiently until scholarship application time. I expected it would be an amazing opportunity to connect with people who are doing the work I wish to do one day and it was.

The thing that inspired me the most at Greenbuild was: The passion I sensed from every person I interacted with, and the drive engagement others.

The most interesting thing I learned at Greenbuild was: "The zip code you are born into is a better predictor of your health than your genetic code." -Dr. Antwi Atom

The most fun I had a Greenbuild was: Whenever I was with the other Scholarship Recipients.

The coolest person I met at Greenbuild was: I met the coolest movement of people—insightful professionals passing on knowledge to inspiring scholars for an inclusive future, one we can sustain.

What are your next steps or aspirations after attending Greenbuild? I’m just now getting over crying every time I try to talk about Greenbuild. I must say it was one of the most beautiful weeks of my life. The obstacles I encounter as an international student counting on scholarships are many. Every step needs to be calculated so I will be able to move to the next. But that one week still serves as a daily reminder that I need to continue moving because now I know what the result is going to look like, and I know the people I’m joining. I’m looking for a school anywhere in the country where I can go get my bachelor’s in Sustainable Architecture, while participating in projects that positively impact communities. I’m also getting ready to take my LEED professional exam this year!

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