Hilary Sopata, ASID, LEED AP
It’s amazing what people with passion can accomplish! I am so excited to share with you ASID Illinois Chapter’s inspiration and ideas for going green. Of course, we all design and many of us specify eco-friendly materials in our day-to-day work, but what about our chapters?
Within my chapter, it began with passion, which spread from one individual member to a second, then a third. The next thing I knew, many of our chapter leaders were becoming LEED Accredited, and it opened our eyes beyond simply interior design. It began simply with increased recycling in our chapter office, offering water in cups instead of plastic bottles, and sharing information digitally rather than on paper. And little by little, people noticed our changes. I was asked to speak on a national ASID conference call about greening your chapter, and last fall, the ASID Illinois Sustainable Action Council officially formed.
Our goal is to provide encouragement and resources to other committees and to the board of directors in order to make everything our chapter does more eco-friendly. Most of our meetings are phone- and web-based, reducing the carbon emissions that would otherwise be created by meetings requiring some members to travel over an hour each way. (Not to mention the time it saves our busy professionals!)
So far, our committee has –
- assessed and improved the sustainability of board activities, chapter parties and the annual Design Summit –
- greened day-to-day operations of the ASID Illinois board and office space, through teleconferencing, reduced paper usage and printing, and more
- developed and shared sustainable resource lists with chapter members as well as with community members like realtors, architects and even the president of Slow Food Chicago.
While we are just getting started on what may at first seem a daunting task, and still have many long term goals for greening our chapter, even the small steps of the past few months have already improved our chapter. Don’t be intimidated by the road ahead— start by doing just one or two simple things, or involving just few members. I can almost guarantee that you’ll soon see, as I did, that the passion of your colleagues will drive the mission forward!
What are you doing to green your chapters, offices or communities? What would you like to be doing? What help do you need the ball rolling? Please share your comments below!