From the District of Columbia to Colombia, South America

May Great Story by Abigail Huvard, Los Angeles Fellow

May has thus far been my most exciting month while in CivicSpark. From the Better Buildings Challenge Summit in Washington D.C. to spending a week in Medellín, Colombia with friends and family – I doubt the rest of my time in CivicSpark can top it (but that’s okay!).

On a quick note, I would just like to say that being able to participate in the Better Buildings Summit in Washington D.C. was a privilege of which I was less than deserving. Not only was I one of a handful of participants sent all the way from California, but to my knowledge, I was also of a smaller group of “interns” and “fellows” who got to participate.

I went into the Summit completely blind. I had been so busy the week leading up to my departure that I barely had time to confirm my hotel reservation, let alone really look into what the Summit was all about. So I arrived Sunday afternoon – alone, anxious, and with zero expectations.

Monday rolled around, then Tuesday, then the next thing I know its Wednesday and I’m almost 10 sessions deep scrambling to decide what lecturer will be my last. By the time I left the BBC Summit I had survived countless “networking lunches”, got to see both the Mayor of Atlanta and the U.S. Secretary of Energy speak, and met a lot of really great people from all over the country working towards the same goals that we are in CivicSpark.

Not only did I learn things I can take with me into the rest of my service year and beyond, but the BBC Summit gave me the boost I needed to finish out the year. I’m not going to lie – work plus volunteering on top of everything else was starting to feel like an uphill battle. My tasks at work were starting to feel really mundane, and I felt like I was just in general losing interest in the environmental and sustainability fields. But after meeting so many great people and witnessing first-hand the good that comes out of our field of work, I realized that if you want to do something meaningful with your life, this is a good place to start.

On a more fun note, I got a somewhat random opportunity to travel to Medellín, Colombia (pronounced me-da-jeen in this particular region) with my family. All in all, Medellín was amazing. Not only for the food, the coffee, and the people, but Medellín is also home to the Metro de Medellín – one of the most progressive, sustainable, and socially minded public transportation systems in the world. While I was there for the BMX World Championships, it was great to take some extra time to explore this renowned metro and the city it serves. If you have time, please give this article a read