An Intern’s Perspective

Mar 17, 2015
Emily Headshot

By Emily Thompson

The night before the first day of my week-long internship at Healthy Buildings, I was extremely nervous. I dug myself out of a foot of snow and travelled three thousand miles from Brooklyn to spend five days immersed in a world about which I knew very little. I don’t have a background in architecture, real estate, or construction, so I didn’t know what to expect. I did know something about social justice, and I wanted to see how Healthy Buildings used their tools to contribute to the greater good. My goal was to learn as much as possible in the time I had.

Whenever I come back to California from New York City it always takes me a day or two to adjust. The most jarring change isn’t something tangible, like remembering it’s ok to turn on red here, or that pedestrians have the right of way, but something much more visceral, almost as if there is a different, lighter energy. My week with Healthy Buildings embodied that feeling for me.

My fear of starting something new turned out to be unfounded, as it usually is; everyone was welcoming, kind, and incredibly patient. I hope I was able to help out in some small ways, but I think what I took away from the experience was ultimately worth much more. I was struck not only by the actual innovative work being done at Healthy Buildings, but also by the people there. Everyone is extremely talented and dedicated to the projects they have created together, and regardless of how long they’ve been with the company (decades, years, or months), everyone has a compelling story about their vision for our world and how that brought them to Healthy Buildings.

My short time there and my capacity as an intern let me sample many different aspects of Healthy Buildings. I learned about impact investing, how to purposefully create community through design, and what it means to be the greenest project, among many, many other things. Over the course of the week, I attended a presentation by Healthy Buildings at the local Green Drinks event and heard from the Napa community about ways to “go green.” I also had the opportunity to research how OTechnology can be used for emergency housing in hurricane-ravaged Mexico. It was exciting to see the positive potential for sustainable homes on both a local and international scale.
I am extremely grateful to everyone at Healthy Buildings and can’t wait to see what happens next!