A little over six months ago, I was weathering my final winter as an Environmental Studies student at the University of Chicago. I was knee-deep in midterms and my BA Thesis. I was also planning to interview with Renée Sazci, Founder and CEO of the Global Grid – which I completed in the arts building because I didn’t have time in between assignments to go home – and begin new and exciting work. I’ve always been interested in communication and sustainability, so my goals for this internship were to gain the ability to meld these interests. I wanted to not only teach readers about urbanism and sustainability, but to bring interesting programs to light and begin conversations.
Since then, I’ve graduated, and moved across the city, from the South East to the North West side, with some funny timing: writing about Harper Court and the Burnham Wildlife Corridor near my old neighborhood of Hyde Park while my piece on Chicago’s elevated greenway, The 606, now blocks away from my front door, was written months before I moved.
Chicago is a city with very distinct, vibrant neighborhoods. Through my internship, I have learned about sustainable consulting in Woodlawn and Washington Park, gentrification fears and adaptation in Logan Square, and a new bus rapid transit system in the Loop, a model I hope to see reflected around the rest of the city, as a very bus-dependent person.
This internship has also given me the chance to have some interesting conversations. I would like to especially thank Diane Burnham at SECC for speaking with me about Green Healthy Neighborhoods in action and Bryant Williams and Kate Koval at the Rebuilding Exchange for letting me interview them for articles. My extended conversation with the incredibly friendly Mr. Williams made my article on the Rebuilding Exchange perhaps my favorite article to write. I’ve gained an appreciation for the power of an interview; bringing up questions I didn’t even know I wanted to ask.
I’m signing off with greater knowledge of how to regularly shape and research stories, and a bigger trove of where to look to see what’s unfolding in the city. Here’s to many, many more articles and other writing projects. I’m so glad to have had The Global Grid as a springboard for published writing.
Thank you to Lisa Gran for your excellent editorial feedback, and to Renée Sazci for not only taking me on for a thrilling first blogging experience, but for also stepping up to give edits and feedback when it was needed.
Credits: Images by Hannah Flynn. Data linked to sources.