Jen's MEM Journey

Get Your GREEN On!
by Jennifer Weiss -- July 8th, 2011

Timing, they say, is everything. And timing combined with knowledgeable and motivated people who want to make a difference? That, my friends, is just plain ole’ lucky.

My EDF partner Eliza and I have been working at Raleigh’s Shaw University for about six weeks.  We have found some terrific no-cost and low-cost projects with great payback periods and measurable energy savings and we’re beginning to feel that our recommendations are ready to be wrapped up in a pretty green bow.

But, wait … what is this that we have just stumbled across?

Shaw University's Agnes Baxter and Juanda Holley

Shaw University's Agnes Baxter and Juanda Holley

An Unexpected and Untapped Treasure

Thanks to a mid-fellowship change in office space, we had a chance encounter with two of the most determined women I have ever met.  Please let me introduce you to Ms. Agnes Baxter and Ms. Juanda Holley – the energetic forces behind Shaw University’s newly formed Green Team.  Stand back staff and students of Shaw University … you are about to be hit by another tornado – a bright GREEN tornado!

It all started innocently enough – a casual chat with an officemate about what we were working on at Shaw.  Our discussion about upgrading lights and setting thermostats at reasonable settings turned into a heated brainstorming session about recycling, environmental education, solar, biodiesel, and most importantly – behavioral change at Shaw University.  It appears that we were not the first to think of energy efficiency solutions at Shaw.  And we most definitely will not be the last.

Shaw Bears, Get your GREEN on! 

In true “get it done” style, Ms. Baxter and Ms. Holley scheduled a Green Team kick-off meeting within a week of our initial brainstorming discussion.  Representatives from departments across the university were invited including facilities, student affairs, residential life, transportation and even Ms. Shaw University – Courtney Scott.  Less than an hour into the meeting, the Green Team had already made plans to prepare for the Fall launch of their new initiative:

  • Energy efficiency education campaign for incoming freshmen during August orientation.
  • Newsletters, videos, radio spots and TV promos introducing the Green campaign at Shaw and communicating the initiatives that are already under way.
  • Development of an environmental curriculum that could be included in the freshmen studies core classes.
  • Behavioral modification marketing and promotions to influence change across the campus.

Our EDF fellowship is only 10 weeks long and there is a limit to how many treasures we will find and how many recommendations we can make.  With the fabulous Green Team in place, Shaw is poised to continue their sustainability efforts well into the future and become one of the top green campuses in the Southeast.

I am so excited to be a part of it!

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