On April 10, USGBC Northern California celebrated National Volunteer Week at a spirited networking event. Organized by the community's Rising Leaders and Impact Committees, the gathering provided attendees with a chance to recognize dedicated volunteers, connect with fellow professionals and strategize about how to make a bigger impact as leaders in the local community.
Sharing challenges and achievements
The theme of the night was "impact." Keynote speaker Andrea Traber, of Integral Group, spoke about her experiences as an advocate for sustainable building. Traber highlighted the unique challenges that climate change presents for Northern California—threats of wildfire, drought, severe weather and water scarcity have become more prevalent and are something our local communities continue to struggle against.
That night, the discussion rallied the group to continue to push for change, while also highlighting local successes and organizations leading the way in the fight against climate change. For example, Green for All of Oakland and the Building Decarbonization Coalition both work toward a more sustainable energy grid, while the recently signed SB 100 legislation calls for 100 percent of the state’s energy to come from climate-friendly sources by 2045.
As a sustainable building advocate and veteran of USGBC, I was left feeling energized by the event. The discussion hit close to home: my work with Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco weaves together volunteerism, community-based projects, the complexities surrounding the affordable housing crisis and the building of sustainable homes. It was encouraging to hear our keynote speaker commend affordable housing developers for being on the cutting edge of the green building field, able to push for sustainability while working with limited budgets.The conversation left me wanting to do more.
Getting involved at the local level
This desire to do more can be satisfied by getting involved with groups like USGBC Northern California. During the volunteer appreciation event, Prateek Jain, of the Rising Leaders Committee, discussed how the group’s volunteer opportunities can be rewarding to different people in different ways. Tatiana Gefter and Boris Gamazaychikov, from the Impact Committee, highlighted a project that introduced the Arc platform and a data-based approach to the San Francisco Unified School District’s growing sustainability curriculum.
The problem of climate change is daunting, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. At some point, we have all thought, “What can one person do?” This program provided an earnest action plan: stay connected, stay involved and educate the next generation of leaders.
We invite you to stay connected by attending networking and educational events with USGBC Northern California. Volunteer on a committee and advocate for positive change in the market. Help prepare future leaders by volunteering at a local school or organizing a Green Apple Day of Service project in your local community.
The Volunteer Celebration was sponsored by WindowMaster, the location space was provided by Covo San Francisco, and was organized by the USGBC Northern California Rising Leaders Committee and Impact Committee. See more upcoming USGBC Northern California events.