Reflections from the Road – A Cross-Country Journey on the Green Apple Bus

Published on: 
7 Nov 2012

Today marks our third day on the road for the [email protected] Bus Tour, and we’re currently making our way through Ohio into Illinois, where we will stop at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign to host a sustainability fair at a local middle school. I’ve managed to find a moment of solitude while the students are asleep after a late night of excitement from the election, and the open road is serving as a time for reflection and a much-needed change of pace from my busy life in Washington, D.C.

When I started my job at USGBC, “cross-country road trip with college students” was not something I thought would be in my job description. However, I continue to be surprised and challenged by my role with this organization. It’s been an incredibly eye-opening experience to work with these students from all different backgrounds who are committed to our movement, show so much enthusiasm for the work we are doing, and have truly embraced our mission of healthy, high-performing schools for all.

The students from Cornell have gone above and beyond in organizing this tour. From serving as points of contact for the other universities, helping with all of the logistical details, writing blogs, creating videos, and even making a daily time lapse of our journey, their efforts have not gone unnoticed.

The students from Penn State helped to put on an awesome event for our second stop. The 5th graders we visited loved the project they did, and it was exciting to see how much they understood about the importance of sustainability.

The students at the remaining schools are already hard at work to make sure their events go smoothly. We’ve been so impressed with how much thought is going into all of the planning, and I know I speak for the rest of the team on the bus when I say we can’t wait to pick them up and continue our journey.

Not only that, but the amount of support we’ve gotten has been nothing short of amazing. USGBC’s President and CEO Rick Fedrizzi took time out of his incredibly busy schedule to come chat with the students at Cornell and see the bus off. He even went as far as to bring us three bags of junk food, CDs and DVDs to occupy us when we had down time.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, one of our Green Apple partners, gave boxes of books to drop off at every school we visit, and sent some for the students to read on the bus. Sterling Planet generously donated all of the carbon offsets for the bus. Aquavation reached out to us via Twitter and donated custom water bottles to all of the students. Members of our USGBC Chapters have been following the tour and offering their time and support if we are in their area. And the entire trip would not have been possible without the help and support from Green Apple partner and Center for Green Schools founding sponsor United Technologies Corp.

It’s examples like this that make me feel incredibly lucky to have this opportunity, and proud of the work that the Center for Green Schools is doing day in and day out.

And if nothing else, the looks we get driving a gigantic green bus down the street are totally worth it.

You can stay up to date with our trip by finding us online at, or by following us on Twitter and Facebook. Also be sure to check out our amazing student-created videos from day 1 and day 2.