The US Green Building Council
This agency is responsible for maintaining and re-designing the built environment with the aim of providing sustainable and environmentally-friendly buildings and structures. It advocates for more legislation concerning use of green energy and renewable materials.
The Government Service Center Building in Boston is still unfinished and unused to date despite construction beginning in the year 1966. This is because the construction ended prematurely as it lasted till 1971. Due to this, the building is abandoned and is used for other purposes other than the intended. As a result of poor design and use of non-sustainable materials in its construction, the building has undergone serious degradation such as peeling of paint and cracks on the walls. Efforts such as landscaping the courtyard, adding stairways, elevators and a wheelchair ramp were made in the 1990s to try and facelift the building. However, these efforts were futile and did not lead to any better perception or use of the building.
Currently, the building houses homeless people who use it for shelter. People also visit during the day to explore the many secluded spots in the building. This is even after the government has posted a notice banning use of the building at night, weekends and public holidays. The proposed project to redesign, construct and refurbish the building is a positive move in saving the building. This is where the US Green Building Council comes in; to help in re-constructing the building in a way that is professional, public safety centered and durable.
As an engineer working with the US Green Building Council, it is my social responsibility to ensure that any activities undertaken for/by the council conform to safety and sustainability standards of construction in regards to the general society. Engineering, being a respectable profession, is expected to display and employ the use of good practices in construction and design of structures while still making sure that the allocated funding for the project is used correctly.
All employees, including engineers, are answerable to their employer. As a result, one may not be able to voice any concerns regarding a certain project that may affect the quality of the structure. These concerns may arise from multiple areas of the project such as the construction material, location and size of the structure and the amount of money consumed by the project. However, the social responsibilities of an engineer require that he/she blows the whistle on all individual and organizational wrong practices in construction and design of public structures and amenities. In view of the facts discussed above, as an engineer, I can help the agency in formulating an environmentally friendly design for the building that incorporates green materials that are long-lasting and are not susceptible to agents of weathering and degradation. Additionally, an engineer such a procurement engineer can help the agency in choosing the right constructing materials and identifying the right contractors with a proven track-record of professionalism in their practices. This would help in ensuring the safety of the public and other users of the building since poor and weak construction methods can lead to fatal accidents occurring from crumbling buildings that endanger the public.
The TED Talk “Is 30 the new 20.”
This show talks about a psychologist who deals with a twenty-something year old girl. The girl tells her about the relationship problems. According to the psychologist, Meg Jay, the right time to plan for the future is in your 20s. This is because, at this age period, the brain begins to evaluate and reconsider one’s view on life. It is at this time that one should cultivate relationships with older people who can help in mentoring and are also a source of jobs. She continues to say that young people who stay together tend to limit their way of thinking and usually end up making similar mistakes in life especially regarding their work or career.
She encourages young people to pursue their dreams early whether it is in the business, careers or even love. The time for them to set the path that their life will follow is now. She also suggests that the best time for young people in their 20s to learn about marriage is before marriage since this will prepare them and give them the necessary skills to make a marriage work right from the onset.
The TED Talk “Is there a better way to find work?”
Charlie Hoehn talks about the predicament faced by young people, especially fresh graduates when it comes to securing good job opportunities. He says that most people spend their school life working hard to attain good grades for a successful career only to end up jobless and frustrated. He advises young people to seek for alternative ways of finding work that are unique. These include having skills that are in demand, but are hard to acquire and to work for free. The ‘free work’ concept states that one should find something they love and are passionate about and work on it. They should also learn to identify and communicate with possible targets or contacts that can be interested in their work. This free work serves to showcase a person’s skills and is helpful in securing a paid job with that person in the future.
He advises that the only way to secure top jobs is by being different and being good at selling whatever it is you have to offer to the world. One should not blame the state of the economy on lack of jobs. This, he says, is because as long as there is a problem or need, jobs will always be available.
The NPR Radio Show “The Next Greatest Generation?”
Natalie Warne shares her story of saving Ugandan children and says that it helped her to have a new outlook on today’s generation; one that is driven, enthusiastic and believes that it has the power and resources to change the world. She says that at a young age, the possibilities are limitless and involvement in social work as an important part of one’s life that catapults one to greater heights.
All speakers in these shows argue that young people are the key to a country’s future and should empower themselves to think and act while in their young ages for them to be able to change their future and that of the world. They all agree that possibilities are endless as long as one is willing to work in something they love, and that one should not be put-off by social norms that hinder personal development.
As a young engineer, I should be able to venture into non-profit and non-governmental organizations and help them in serving the community by offering my skills even when there is no monetary gain. Social work and responsibilities for an engineer should come naturally as he/she is meant to design and build structures that are meant to serve the community.
The US Green Building Council. n.d. Web. 2014, Oct 29.
Jacobs, E. (2013, Sep 6). “TED Radio Hour: The Next Greatest Generation?” TED blog. Web. 2014, Oct 29.
“The New Way to Work: Charlie Hoehn at TEDxCMU 2011”. Online video clip. Youtube. Youtube, 12 May 2011. Web. 2014, Oct 29.