By Tiana Ramos
Having never lived in New York City before a few weeks ago, I always envisioned it to be a gigantic urban center teeming with activity, people and traffic. Symbols off the top of my head include the Empire State Building, Radio City Hall, the Statue of Liberty and Rockefeller Center. Although I did not know what all of these did or stood for (just saw them on TV), I knew one thing: they consisted of buildings. Let’s face it: New York City isn’t known for lush and verdant landscape, but for towering skyscrapers and complexes.
As an environmentalist, I was a little discouraged tackling the city. There is rapid, inefficient development everywhere, low to no biodiversity, and not a green spruce in sight. But I came to learn there is much potential in transforming people’s home and work life, starting with New York City’s foundation: buildings. As the epicenter for design and innovation, I knew New York had the power to fundamentally establish sustainability into building development.
I wanted exposure to the workings of EPA in development, so I applied for and graciously received the EPA GRO Fellowship Award. This grant funds two years of my undergraduate education and provides me a research internship at the EPA. Since I was curious about New York City’s potential, I seized the opportunity to be selected to work with EPA Region 2 and their partners on a green building research symposium this summer. From July 17-19, the EPA will host its “Applying Green Building Research Today” symposium in three of the most industrialized cities of the world, with the Big Apple taking the spotlight on the afternoon of July 19. Participants can view (online or in-person) presentations from experts that will focus on Technology, Product, and Services, Social Science/Human Behavior Building and Community, and Human & Ecological Health and Finance/Accounting. It will be held 1-5PM (EST) for the three days in New York City, Chicago, and Philadelphia.
In-person registration will open soon, but to learn more please send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the mailing list. I hope you come to be as educated and inspired as I am working on this project. EPA would also love to hear feedback to better integrate green building concepts into peoples’ work. So save the date and tune in for continual updates on NYC’s Green Building Symposium. Get excited!
About the author: Tiana is an EPA GRO (Greater Research Opportunities) Fellow currently interning in EPA’s Region 2 in New York City. She is working on the outreach and research for the Green Building Symposium “Applying Green Building Research Today”. She is obtaining her BA in Environmental Studies and Economics at Wellesley College. Her specific interest is sustainability-building in the U.S. territories of Guam and Puerto Rico. To follow the progress of the Symposium, tune in to updated blog posts by her and team members.