Students from UMass’ USGBC Student Chapter attended Greenbuild last November. Below is their report from this amazing event:

NOV. 8-10 — Twenty-four fortunate students of University of Massachusetts, Amherst were given the opportunity to attend the International Greenbuild conference through our UMass Green Building Council (UMGBC) student chapter. The conference took place in Boston, MA at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, and students volunteered for two shifts over the span of the 3-day conference – earning a free 3-day conference pass.

Our roles as volunteers was cooperating with attendees to reach our waste diversion goal of 91% in hopes of surpassing the Greenbuild LA’s waste diversion rate. The USGBC Boston chapter coordinated our efforts, and their larger goal for the conference was to implement waste diversion practices that would allow future conferences to achieve high waste diversion rates as well.

“The USGBC coordinators were clearly passionate about their roles in waste diversion, and you couldn’t help but feel that the 91% goal was worth striving for.” – Tommy Jiang

The days of each volunteer often began with early morning shifts starting at 7am. When not volunteering, we attended education sessions, networked with entrepreneurs, presenters, and exhibitioners at the exhibition hall, and had lunch with other students and professionals. It was a first conference of this size for many, and the opportunity to attend allowed them to dive deeper into the vast field of green construction.

After our first day at Greenbuild, we came together for dinner at Hot Pot Buffet in Chinatown. Here, the group got to bond, create new friendships, share our passion for green-building, and even try a new dining method!


On our second day, we attended a UMass Alumni dinner where we were able connect with recently graduated alums and the BCT and Architecture faculty and watch Bill Clinton’s plenary speech together. It was extremely helpful to hear about their experiences and receive career advice, in a setting that was conducive to practicing what was learned.

On our last day, we witnessed Neil Degrasse Tyson give inspiring and motivating speeches towards our future. Just being in the same room as them was surreal. Coming back from this conference, we are further empowered in providing our society with sustainable alternatives. We look forward to challenging ourselves collectively in moving towards a greener future. Thank you again to everyone who supported our trip, as it is one to never forget.

We could not have made this learning and networking opportunity possible without the help of our club’s generous sponsors: BCT Program @ UMass, Suffolk Construction, The Green Engineer, and Whiting-Turner.


UMGBC Student Chapter