C3 and UVA Collaboration Helps Businesses Save!

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The Charlottesville Climate Collaborative and the University of Virginia are thrilled to be collaborating this year on the Better Business Challenge!

UVA-affiliated organizations Morven Estate, UVA Dining Fine Arts Café, UVA Research Park, and UVA’s Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy are all participating in the Challenge and receiving technical assistance from UVA Sustainability Program Manager Jesse Warren's Delta Force team to help them reach their respective energy and sustainability goals.

We’re also excited to be working with over a dozen undergraduate UVA students this year as part of the Challenge. These students are among an incredible group of Volunteer “Coaches” who we’ve recruited to help inspire and catalyze Charlottesville-area organizations in going green.

Seventeen volunteer coaches – the majority University of Virginia undergrads – are working with eight Better Business Challenge participants (Worldstrides, The Haven, Firefly, Sun Tribe Solar, Fry's Spring Beach Club, Southern Environmental Law Center, High Tor Gear Exchange, Peace Lutheran Church and Snowing in Space) reduce their energy consumption, integrate other eco-friendly measures into their operations, and achieve their “go green” game plan.

UVA students Joe DiConsiglio and Maitlyn Murphy are among this year’s crop of Coaches; they were both assigned to work alongside the Southern Environmental Law Center’s team. Working with the Better Business Challenge as a Coach was a natural fit for DiConsiglio, since he was already involved with a like-minded group, Green Greeks, which is comprised of UVA fraternity and sorority members “who work to make both Greek life and the University community more environmentally sustainable.”

“I felt that if I could do even the simplest of things to positively have an effect on the Charlottesville community, like help out a local business, then that would help me make the most out of my college experience,” DiConsiglio says.

Murphy shares a similar perspective – she wanted to serve as a Coach to be “part of the solution.”

“By becoming a C3 volunteer, I hope to learn more about the everyday choices that we can make to live more sustainably. C3's resources are extremely helpful in explaining everything from changes in heating and cooling systems to how to purchase RECs,” Murphy adds.

In addition to assisting Challenge participants maximize their energy savings, Coaches help improve employee sustainability awareness and develop individualized sustainability strategies based on Energy Scorecard actions. They also get into the nitty-gritty of the work by scheduling lighting assessments, conducting research on energy conservation tools like smart power strips, and investigating potential solutions to individual questions or obstacles.

While the Coaches do the roll-up-the-sleeves, behind-the-scenes work to support local organizations in saving energy and money, they’re also gaining real-world experience in the sustainability field that they can take with them as their career develops.

“Through volunteering, I have learned so much more about the resources that Charlottesville has to offer for companies that would like to increase their sustainable practices,” says Murphy.

“I am also inspired by the extremely positive attitude the SELC has towards embracing sustainability, as their willingness to make change is motivating and makes my job that much easier!,” she adds.

DiConsiglio seconded that notion. “These people do amazing work and take so much pride in their work, as they rightfully should. They share with me a passion for saving the world, and when you share a passion like that with someone, it provides for incredible relationships and has motivated me to go above and beyond wherever I thought I could go,” he says.

Thanks to volunteers like Joe and Maitlyn, participants can go further faster with their sustainability goals!

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