Claire McConnell is a University of Illinois senior studying Civil and Environmental Engineering with a primary focus in Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure Systems and a secondary focus in Structures.
On campus, she serves as the President of the U.S. Green Building Council Students Illinois chapter, helping to promote awareness about the benefits of green building to both human health and the environment.
Sustainability is a natural fit for Claire because she grew up in the Pacific Northwest and spent a lot of time outdoors skiing, backpacking and rock climbing. To her, sustainability is about more than just the health of the planet; it’s also about our own health and the future health of the lifestyle and resources we enjoy today. She believes that an institution of higher learning, Illinois has a responsibility to serve as an example and to educate our future leaders in why these issues matter.
Claire is excited to be part of the Energy Conservation and Building Standards SWATeam because it offers her some great work experience and a way to give back to the campus community.
Her greatest lesson so far has been in the difficulty of completing all the steps at all the levels necessary to implement change. “Moving forward in the ‘green’ direction requires a lot of collaboration, and generating that support is not always an easy task,” she says.
The best thing Claire thinks members of the campus community can do to help is to stay informed. She believes education is a powerful tool for creating quality dialogues that result in shifts in attitude and behavior.