Next Step Recycling is awesome. It is lead by an outstanding leader, Lorraine Kerwood, who easily leads members of the Eugene Community to assist her in the recycling of electronic hand-me-downs. She was even recognized by Volvo for her Outstanding contributions to the environment. She has been recognized as a Master Recycler and has, among other awards, received a yearly Lane County Trash Buster Award. Her 25,000+ sq. ft. of warehouse space has kept a lot of electronic equipment out of the local landfills, much of it being rebuilt for schools in South America. Her organization also participates in the training of students who are mentally challenged. We need many more organizations like hers in our community.
I'm part of Alpha Phi Omega, a national community service fraternity. One of the service opportunity events we had were with Tech Go Green. Tech Go Green was promoting organic t-shirts and
Tech Go Green is an innovative non profit that fulfills a much needed role in the South Bay. They perform Sustainability Designs for local businesses, a service that evaluates a company's carbon footprint and produces a road map of recommendations to green a facility and its' operations, while offering project management support through the implementation process. This community service is available for free which allows them to reach many local small businesses that that would otherwise be unable to afford such services. Tech Go Green also advocates for Sustainability by building awareness through its' educational workshops and green networking events. Their most recent success was the establishment of an E-Waste program that recycled a surprising 7000 lbs of waste from Torrance alone. I joined Tech Go Green in the summer of 2009 as an Intern and was immediately impressed with the organization's vision and how much had been accomplished by their small, yet dynamic, skeleton crew. They were young, motivated, and tireless in their efforts to succeed. It was inspiring and contagious and I was proud to be a part of the movement. I helped administer Sustainability Designs through the Green Community Initiative, researched and wrote grants, edited reports and other marketing collateral, and put together a proposal for a Resource Recovery Program for local businesses. It was a very personally rewarding experience. Not only did I learn an invaluable amount of information about the sustainability movement, I had the pleasure of working with the brightest and best staff I have ever encountered in my career. My only regret is the organization's lack of funding which sadly, forced me to part ways with a great team of social entrepreneurs.
Growing a college dream among friends into a 501c3 non-profit organization has been the most challenging and rewarding experience of my life. Aside from working with some of the most passionate and capable people, we have accomplished great things. From planning and executing campaigns, an internship program, to creating sustainable presentations for local businesses, we have successfully become a local hero in many aspects. Earlier this year, we were able to recycle over 7,000 lbs of e-waste from the city of Torrance alone! One of my most recent and humbling experiences was speaking on an Earth Day panel at the University of California, Irvine… where I had graduated from only 2 years ago!
What began as a group of college kids exploring the green movement has blossomed into a full fledged outlet for all those interested in environmental sustainability to get involved. What’s so great about Tech Go Green is that it caters to not only your average household recycler, but also to businesses interested in cutting down their carbon footprint. Tech Go Green has launched several community events to not only educate and stimulate the general masses, but has also worked with local businesses to understand their energy usage and impact on the environment. One for all, and all for one; Tech Go Green has been a valuable asset and experience for all to share in.
I went through Tech Go Green's internship program and I gained valuable work experience and knowledge about sustainability. Tech Go Green has given me valuable workforce skills in assisting business in becoming green. For example, I performed an energy efficiency audit for Norris Theatre. I examined blueprints and created lighting maps in order to identify the lights in the energy efficiency audit. I kept track of lights, lighting output, and AB switches for each room. Heather Ramirez, Ivan Kan, Kalisa Falzone were helpful and knowledgeable about sustainability. I learned about the different careers that are available in the green industry from working on and attending their career workshops. I hope to use this knowledge to become a sustainability coordinator for a college. Tech Go Green is a great nonprofit that has the ability to to educate and empower the community with valuable workforce skills for the green economy.
This non-profit is young in mind, spirit, and heart. It's innovative in a city where environmentalism is as foreign as UFOs. They offer free site walkthroughs for businesses who want to be green while saving some green. They offer detailed energy audits to local businesses who don't know where to start, how much it would cost to implement, and how much the business can save in the long run. Although it's difficult to get a business to actually implement TGG's recommendations, they offer a vital tool for businesses who want to make small changes from changing out light bulbs and recycling, to installing solar panels. I was able to create an e-waste recycling program where we collected over 1 ton of waste from businesses, which is a feat considering Torrance-ites are not very involved in the green movement. TGG has a lot of growing and evolving to do in order to appeal more to Torrance residents and businesses, but the mere existence of Tech Go Green in the area is a step in the right direction.