Background: Arora arrived at Georgia Tech in July 2018 after spending eight years at Southface, where he honed a variety of skills related to sustainability. Most recently, he led the stakeholder engagement process for the City of Atlanta’s plan to transition to 100 percent clean energy by 2035. That effort engaged more than 3,500 people whose suggestions and concerns were incorporated in the plan, which is available at www.100atl.com.
Can you give us a more solid idea of what programs will take place in the building? In addition to the typical academic and research courses, the building will house the Global Change Program and the Office of Campus Sustainability. Georgia Tech already has a lot of programs that relate to the goal of changing our region’s approach to the built environment. The building’s programs should supplement existing programs and research and, where we find a niche that needs to be filled, we will consider the type of programming that needs to be developed. Because we want the building to be known as the place where ideas around the seven Petals of the Living Building Challenge can be discussed, I’ve been reaching out to key outside partners to say: “The building’s going to open. We know that you’ve got training programs and summits and conferences for your constituents. We think it’d be great to bring them here.” We want to bring leaders from around Georgia and the Southeast into this space so that they can see a Living Building, learn about the Petals, and begin to think about how LBC principles apply to their lives and their work.
What’s occupying your time at this stage in the process? The way I describe it is that before there was an individual whose sole responsibility was to focus on this building, there were a lot of deeply engaged people at Georgia Tech who were involved in various aspects of the building. Some were focused on the design and construction while others were focused on operations. They’re all still doing that. But one of the main responsibilities of the director is to stitch all that hard work together and make sure that we continue to engage students, faculty, and the broader community. There’s one individual now that people can direct their questions to. I’m also preparing for the LBC certification process. This involves, among other things, working with other team members on creating operations and maintenance standard operating procedures for the building, as well as a data driven approach to telling the story of the building. And, as mentioned earlier, I’m meeting with facility, researchers, and students across campus to think through the educational engagement and research opportunities.
Click here for a complete version of this a Q&A with Arora.
Profile published Oct. 18, 2018