Walk/Ride Day Challenge Update

The UUA joined Green Streets Initiative‘s Walk/Ride Day Corporate Challenge in March to challenge ourselves to use a greener form of transportation to work one day per month. So far, our participation has been a success–exceeding our own expectations and that of the Green Initiatives staff!

Here is an update:

  • In March, the UUA led other organizations of a similar size, with 36% participation.
  • We went up from there and had 40% participation in April–continuing to lead our category!

Prizes, prizes, and more prizes!

One of the perks of being a leader is that one staff person each month wins a prize. I’m very pleased to announce that Linda Rose won a $25 gift card to Eastern Mountain Sports for her participation in March. Kimberly Reardon was April’s winner and will take home a nifty Green Streets umbrella. Congratulations to you both!

Next month’s prize will be a $75 gift card to The Beehive, a fabulous dining and nightlife destination in Boston’s South End. Green Streets is also offering prizes for people who log their commute outside of the Corporate Challenge. So tell your friends to log their commutes, too, and they could win a gift card from Darwin’s Ltd, a coffee house in Cambridge, MA.

This Friday, May 25, is our next Walk/Ride Challenge Day! Be sure to head over to http://greenstreets.mapc.org/ to log your commute any time this week. Let’s keep the momentum going and show our community our commitment to promoting a greener world in all areas of our life–including our work!

The UUA’s Green Initiatives Staff Team (GIST) are Pat Grimm, Rob Molla, Jan Sneegas, Mike O’Herron, Alexis Rizzuto, Rachel Walden, Tim Brennan, and Adrianne Ross. If you’d like to join us in minimizing our environmental impact at work, please feel free to get in touch with any one of us.

UUA joining Green Streets Initiative Walk/Ride Day Corporate Challenge

Join us in greening the UUA and entering our staff for raffle prizes!  The UUA is joining Green Streets Initiative‘s Walk/Ride Day Corporate Challenge.  All UUA Staff have to do is go to their website on the last Friday of the month and log their commute that day (as long as it was not a single person driving in a car to work).  Be sure to include that you work for the UUA and log in with your uua.org email address.  Options for alternative transportation commuting are:

  • Walk
  • Ride a Bicycle
  • Take the Bus
  • Ride the Train
  • Jog
  • Car Pool
  • They also include kayak and canoe on their list, but I’m not sure that applies… let me know if it does for you!

They have a number of sponsors who offer special deals on the last Friday of the month- make sure to check out all the opportunities here (and note there are 7 pages of sponsors!)

Staff who work offsite can participate and log their commute as well!

Days of the challenge: (last Friday of each month March-September):

March 30, April 27, May 25, June 29, July 27, August 31, September 28.


Photographs of Genzyme Headquarters

Photographs of Genzyme Headquarters at 500 Kendall Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts. The UUA’s Green Initiatives Staff Team organized a visit and tour for UUA staff on February 15, 2012 of the Genzyme offices, which were certified LEED Platinum in 2005.

Visit to Genzyme- a LEED certified building

A group of UUA staff went over to Genzyme in Kendall Square to see what a really green office building looks like.  We also wanted to imagine what our headquarters might incorporate sustainability-wise and this was a chance to open our minds to different possibilities.

Genzyme is a LEED platinum certified office building.  You can go to their website to see other recognitions it has received, and more information.

So many details of the building planning were interesting and innovative.  Fountains with running water in the atrium deadened the sound, making acoustics of other people’s conversations not much of a problem for people working close by; it was very quiet and peaceful.  The lighting system involved a complex series of roof mirrors and ceiling mirrors and prism chandeliers to give off the right amount of diffuse light, moving light when possible to give a calming effect. They were controlled by an automatic weather system to adjust to different lighting levels depending on the day (sunny or cloudy- angles of mirrors would adjust differently).  Through this system they achieved an 80% natural light to 20% artificial light ratio in their work spaces.  The average work space is the reverse.

We came equipped with questions and had some things we would have wanted to do differently- but it was a great learning experience.  I’ll ask the other tour attendees to add comments to this post with things that stood out to them and what they learned.  I’ll ask anyone else to comment what they would like to see the UUA incorporate further into our building, whether we stay here or find another space to work in- what green aspects would you strive for us to operate with?

If anyone missed the tour but will be in the area and wants to check it out there is some information available in Genzyme’s lobby and you can get an idea of the space:

Individual Viewing of Genzyme Center: Individual visitors and the general public may view Genzyme Center from the public space on the first and second floors Monday through Friday, 7am-7pm. You do not need to register to view the building during these times.

Interactive Kiosks & Brochures: There are two touch-screen interactive kiosks in the public viewing space. These kiosks host a virtual tour that highlights the different architectural and environmental features of the building. In addition, brochures about the building are located on a display stand in the lobby and at the reception desk.

Going to the Farmer’s Market & Finding Local Food around Boston

We in the Green Initiatives Staff team have been reading books about ethical, sustainable, healthy food, watching Food Inc and discussing all these great choices we can make regarding food.

map of over 6,000 farmers markets in the US

Next step: where to find it.  We’re all going to our local Copley Square farmers market on Friday May 20th.  Join us if you can, and if not check out these resources.

Finding Local food around Boston: (more…)

Meatless Monday Part II- Staff Potluck!

We were so inspired by Rob’s latest blog entry that we decided to have a staff potluck next Monday, April 4.  If you’re a UUA staff person I hope you’ll be able to join us.  If you are not, or are away from Boston, please try this at home or at your own place of work!  Bonus points if you try for local and organic, but meatless is our goal this week.  If you’re planning to attend and bring something, please note it in a comment!  If you want more information or recipe suggestions, check out Meatless Monday.

In looking for a cool photo to go with this post I found a great short synopsis of Meatless Monday and why it’s great!

What’s for lunch?

The GIST team recently sponsored a showing of the movie Food, Inc. and this week held a lunchtime discussion of the movie, and of the book The Omnivore’s Dilemma, which we had invited people to read during the fall and winter.

There is some common material between the book and the movie; Food, Inc. draws heavily from both The Ominvore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan and Fast Food Nation, by Eric Schlosser. (more…)

Green Meetings Industry Council’s Innovative Annual Conference

Last month I attended the Green Meetings Industry Council annual conference at the DoubleTree hotel in Portland, Oregon.

event mobi guide for GA 2011
event mobi guide for GA 2011

The format was truly ground-breaking, using a gaming format that placed attendees in teams upon their arrival. Each team was given an iPad.  Points were earned by team members visiting with exhibitors, attending workshops and using social media (tweeting and blogging).

There were no printed programs.  There was a mobile application for iPads and smartphones.  We are using a mobile application for General Assembly in Charlotte but are not yet ready to eliminate our printed program.  It was a bit disconcerting to have everyone looking at their phones during workshops as it felt like they weren’t paying attention to the speaker – different than glancing at your printed program to see what event you want to attend next.  It was exciting to be at a meeting leading the way in mobile applications!