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So fresh and so GREEN

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Sep 22, 2016

Approaching our seventh year, The GREEN Program is stepping up our game, and sharing the playbook for our brand evolution.

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The GREEN Program’s very first program in Costa Rica, January 2010

It’s incredible to look back at what’s happened over the last seven years. I started this expedition out of a dorm room at Rutgers University, and now I’m writing this blog overlooking City Hall in Center City, Philadelphia at our co-working space. Throughout my education and college career, I never set out with a goal of becoming an entrepreneur, business owner, or CEO. However, regardless of where I knew (or didn’t know) my career path would take me, I’ve always felt that curiosity, the unknown, and failure were never things to fear. In fact, I would argue that it’s imperative that these things are embraced. And that’s just what The GREEN Program has done, and it’s made us stronger than ever. 

Since the beginning, GREEN has been full of unprecedented journeys of  embracing spontaneity, surfing the fear, saying “yes” to new adventures, and jumping on opportunities to learn more about ourselves through our celebrated failures, and successes. Our team and alumni may sum up these experiences as, “#onlyontheGREENprogram.”  Quite honestly, I like to believe that it’s been an adventure of a lifetime. But then I snap out of it and remind myself, “Dude, it’s only been seven years and we have the rest of our lives ahead of us.”

Did my 19-year-old self think that The GREEN Program could have evolved into what it is now, seven years later? No. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. But ask me again now, and just thinking about our team’s potential of what we can accomplish seven years from now sets my soul on fire. 

Old, meet new.

Most of you know GREEN as this: 

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And our OG alumni will recognize GREEN like this:

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Logo Version #2

Or even this:

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Logo Version #1

The GREEN (Global Renewable Energy Education Network) Program Logo will always stay near and dear to my heart. It is the representation of the foundations of GREEN and the fearlessness & grit that came with launching this organization. It represents our immeasurable determination to just get. things. done. My college housemate, Byron, lent his creative skill sets to help us come up with a logo. From infinity symbols to flowers to atoms to wind turbines, Byron wanted the logo to emphasize the educational model and sustainability focus, although short-term, held an on-going, long lasting impact.  I’ll never forget the depth he saw within GREEN since the beginning. They say with age comes wisdom, but jeez, Byron got it from the beginning (and at such a young age, too!). 

After a multitude of ideas and sketches, we landed on something that was representative of a wind turbine, or at least that’s what I’ve always thought it was. But still, to this day, everyone has their own theory of what that symbol actually is. At first I really did not like this “up to your interpretation” concept. In fact, I constantly found myself snapping back saying “It’s not a flower! It’s a turbine!” I quickly grew to learn that interpretation is best type of art: when something can represent a different meaning to every person. Every interpretation of the symbol was still representative of GREEN. Similarly, our programs are created as there own form of art, and that philosophy has been instilled in us since day one. GREEN programs are open for interpretation. Each student has a unique experience, holding onto lessons and elements of our programs that speak to them and their passions. Everything this icon represents is why I wanted to hold on to this symbol and carry it over with our new logo mark. 

However, the “Museo” font and gradient colors could go.

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Byron’s mockups sheets he made for his graphic design class

Meet the new logo mark: 

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Okay, enough of the heartstring pulling; it’s 2016 and I’m ready for the world to know who The GREEN Program is and what we’re on a mission to accomplish. We’ve been redefining higher education and comfort zones for thousands of students and it’s about time someone kicked down our door to redefine us

Team work makes the dream work:
Last year, we decided to partner with a local Philadelphia design agency, P’unk Ave, to help us recreate what GREEN has grown up to become. You can see the new, cleaner, bolder, text mark, with our beloved flower/turbine/atom sitting pretty next to it, as a reminder of our grit and ability to [excuse our French] get sh*t done. We’ve also added our tagline, “Education abroad. Redefined. Reinvented.” as a fundamental piece of the logo and more importantly, our brand. 

In the wise words of Notorious BIG himself, “If you don’t know, now you know.”

A breakthrough (and incredibly nerve-wracking) moment happened when the P’unk Ave team sent us our very first CSS design. While this may not seem like a big deal, it was! I cannot even begin to tell you how many heated internal conversations we had about what the right shade of green actually is. Thanks to P’unk, we now have our very own shade of green and matching colors to go with it! Phew, thank the good design Lord (aka, The P’unk Ave crew & Matt Goold).

New GREEN in different forms:

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The GREEN Program’s other identities
Screenshot 2021 12 03 at 12.28.24

These are our two new versions of the icon. P’unk Ave sent us the “TGP” icon as an after thought, but our team is really digging it and we have decided to use that version for all of our icon needs.You may have even seen these pop up on our FacebookInstagramTwitter, and LinkedIn pages overnight. Rest assured, it’s still your same weird, quirky, GREEN Team behind the curtains – just with a bit more polished and professional edge. 

 

Why now?

Never thought you’d ask!

In September 2015, our world’s leaders came together to establish the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), otherwise known as Agenda 2030.  The 17 SDGs are an extension of what was known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and have identified our world’s most pressing issues that we collectively need to tackle as: inequality, poverty, and climate change.

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When the SDGs were officially announced, I had a very distinct a-hah moment. 

This is  IT. 

Until now, The GREEN Program had been running programs on renewable energy, water resource management, and sustainable design. Our current programs’ missions fit within the Global Goals and we saw this as the opportunity for GREEN to be a part of a larger, global mission: to advance the Sustainable Development Goals is through education – #onlyontheGREENprogram style. 

Moving forward, all GREEN programs, operating in the leading destinations to study these Global Goals, will be focused on one or more of these Sustainable Development Goals by bringing these topics to life through experiential learning, education, and meaningful study abroad. 

In fact, we are proud to say that 99% of GREEN Alumni say that The GREEN Program has refined their purpose: professionally, personally, academically. 

But, there’s always more work to be done. 

Since the launch of the SDGs, GREEN has committed to exposing students around the world to our world’s most pressing issues as we unleash solution-oriented, entrepreneurial potential within students of all backgrounds and disciplines within the next 15 years. As members of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network – Youth, a UN organization empowering youth globally to achieve sustainable solutions, our team could not be more determined and proud to be a part of this global agenda. 

Did you know?
95% of GREEN Alumni stay involved in sustainability efforts after their GREEN program and are putting their solutions to work at some of the top organizations in the world: Tesla, General Electric, United States Air Force, US Environmental Protection Agency, to name a few. Like Byron’s inifinity symbol, the impact truly does not stop after the program. The network effect is strong. Our GREEN students and community are determined to be a part of the worldwide solutions for sustainable development.

After our team attended the SDGs launch events in New York in 2015, our efforts and foresight within the industry where higher education and sustainability meet, were confirmed. We had to buckle down. 

The first step? Let the world know (AKA: we needed a new website). 

Reflected through our global reach & worldwide impact, student experience & community, and the ever-increasing demand for hands-on educational opportunities, we are after a larger global mission toward sustainable development. And finally, we feel that our website is an accurate reflection of this growth, development, and collective mission. 

We are immensely excited to move forward into this new era of The GREEN Program and we hope universities, students, and their families will continue to take educational strides with us towards a sustainable future.

A big thank you and grateful vibes to Byron, the P’unk Ave team, and all of our alumni, friends, family, university partners, supporters, and of course my ROCKSTAR team for making this impactful journey possible.

Let’s do this.

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