The Call to ADVANCE: Sustainable Strategies for Every Community

Siassia Likibi, Assoc. AIA, is an emerging professional with a passion for sustainability, a love of design, and a gift for networking. Siassia earned a Bachelor of Architecture from Iowa State University and, since joining LS3P in 2015, has thrown her energy behind the firm’s Green Core Competency Board. She is currently working on numerous commercial and hospitality projects.

Sustainability and social equity have always been passions of mine, so when I came across an announcement from the USGBC about a new program to help underserved communities to become more sustainable, I applied immediately. The program is called ADVANCE. It is an initiative through the USGBC to make green building accessible to all. The role of the Ambassador is to partner with a nonprofit and help them ‘advance’ sustainable initiatives in the most important buildings in a community such as community centers, schools and houses of worship.

I’m excited about the opportunity to engage the Charleston community. This program will help implement green building strategies in the areas that need them the most and help forward the belief that “every person deserves better, brighter, healthier places to live, work, and play.”

I was selected as an ADVANCE Ambassador for the Greater Charleston area in the fall of 2015, and was quickly immersed in ADVANCE training at the Greenbuild conference in Washington, DC. It was a rapid-start experience, and it was energizing to get plugged in to a group of people with similar passions. Since our intensive face-to-face training sessions, we have stayed closely connected through monthly WebEx meetings. Working with colleagues around the nation, we’re developing strategies to set monthly goals, connect with local nonprofits, and achieve results.

I believe that the power of this ADVANCE process lies in matching skills with needs, and in meeting communities wherever they are along the path to sustainability to help them achieve meaningful transformations.  My current project with Eastside Community Development Corporation is designed not only to help the group make their building more sustainable, but also to help make their space work more effectively towards their mission.  We recently held a KickStart event at which we learned more about the organization and how we might align green building initiatives with the mission of the organization. We’ve surveyed the property, and will now focus on developing a year-long plan to help advance our goals for the building.

About Siassia

Siassia Likibi, Assoc. AIA, is an emerging professional with a passion for sustainability, a love of design, and a gift for networking. Siassia earned a Bachelor of Architecture from Iowa State University and, since joining LS3P in 2015, has thrown her energy behind the firm’s Green Core Competency Board. She is currently working on numerous commercial and hospitality projects.