Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, more commonly known by the acronym LEED, is the most widely used green building rating system in the world. A globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement and leadership, this certification awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council has become a popular goal for many sustainability-minded organizations wishing to mitigate the negative environmental effects of their contributions to our built environment.
While you often hear of buildings getting LEED certified, so can people! As Kenan Scholars, we have access to professional development funding (Exploratory Funds) that can be used to enhance our scholars experience and strengthen our leadership and research skills. Over the winter break, I had the opportunity to utilize my Kenan Scholars Exploratory Funds to enroll in Leading Green Associate Training. This was an online course designed to prepare individuals of all backgrounds for the LEED Green Associate Accreditation Exam. The course was composed of several hours of virtual instruction, study materials, and practice exams, all to give me a foundational knowledge in green building and the LEED Certification system. I learned about the different types of building certifications, how they are evaluated, and how these standards limit environmental impacts.
Taking this course has prepared me to earn my LEED Accreditation and has given me an interesting insight into green building. I was able to build off my coursework from Sustainable Business and Social Enterprise, a course I completed in fall of 2020, to take a deep dive in how building use influences a business’s sustainability. I plan to use the information I learned in this course in my leadership role as the Director of Sustainable Projects for the UNC Residence Hall Association, utilizing these strategies to improve the sustainability of our campus’s residence halls. I also plan to use this information and accreditation in my career, working at the intersection of business and sustainability to understand how place affects a business’s environmental impacts and how to mitigate and address the concerns that arise from the buildings we occupy. I am thankful for the support of Kenan Scholars and for the opportunities provided by the program that enhance my development as an individual, student and professional!