When I began my first day as a cleantech Intern at Antenna, I was energized by the passion for sustainability that I could feel all around me. It was a few days before Greta Thunberg’s NYC climate march, and I’d asked to take the afternoon off for the march even before joining the company. I was delighted to quickly meet another employee that also planned to attend and distribute flyers filled with tips for sustainable living to the other marchers. We talked about our shared passion for educating people about lifestyle changes, and I immediately felt at home at my new company.
An avid environmentalist, I was impressed by the eco-friendly initiatives Antenna had already implemented. Among other sustainable practices, the office had reusable K-cups for coffee and even an area for electronic recycling. My mind jumped to what more we could accomplish as a team if we brought sustainability to the forefront of our operations. As a new face at Antenna, I decided to help further these efforts by starting an Office Sustainability team.
Even though I was only a third-week Intern, my colleagues were supportive of my initiative and eager to participate. At our first “office sustainability team” meeting, I remember how happy I was sitting amongst the enthusiastic chatter that filled the room. Everyone was excited to jump in and share ideas for the office that it was hard to get a word in. The meeting drew so many inspiring sustainability ideas that I knew we had started something promising. Our team quickly became a family with a common goal: make everything we do at work as sustainable as possible.
Now that we’re all working from home amid the coronavirus pandemic, our team has shifted our efforts away from office-based projects. During this time we’ve shared tips on how to make sustainable choices on an individual level while quarantining, circulated and discussed environmental news stories over Slack, and planned an Earth Day virtual happy hour to celebrate our planet. There is significant value in connecting with like-minded people to talk about our shared passion and to continue inspiring our colleagues from home.
My experience starting this team has been wonderful. I’ve been able to connect with my colleagues on a dimension beyond daily work tasks while helping my office achieve sustainability goals. When we all return to the office, I can’t wait to see what we’ll take on next, but I’m grateful for the extra family I have during these quarantine days. As we work from home waiting for the next Zoom meeting to connect with our coworkers, I suggest adding a new dimension to your office and company culture by starting your own virtual sustainability team and creating a new collaborative outlet during this strange time. If we all work together and continue to inspire each other, what a beautiful Earth Day today will be.