Intel has been a long-time sponsor of the annual Net Impact Conference, and personally, it’s one of my favorite sustainability conferences during the year, given the energy, the great questions, and unique mix of students and professionals. This year, the conference was held in Portland, backyard for one of Intel’s manufacturing sites, so we decided to do something a little different this time with our sponsorship.
Talking with the Net Impact folks and thinking about the fact that Intel has such a strong employee volunteer program, we decided to help Net Impact put together a volunteer event for conference attendees, providing the opportunity for them to give back to the Portland community while networking with each other and some of our Intel folks.
So there were lots of volunteer event ideas our team proposed – but given Portland’s fanaticism around biking, we decided to do a bike-building event over the lunch hour, with bikes donated to the Community Cycling Centerfor their Holiday Bike Drive. We purchased 50 bikes for the donation, brought along some great Intel employee volunteers to provide support, (thanks so much to them all for coming down on their Saturday off!), and swung open the doors to close to 100 generous Net Impact volunteers.
One hour later, we had 50 bikes built, quality checked, and ready to be picked up to go over to the Community Cycling Center. Through our Intel Involved Matching Grant Program, we’ll also match the volunteer hours donated by the Intel volunteers with cash grants to support the Net Impact organization and their work.
Also, because we know that these MBA types have a competitive streak in them, we put out a challenge to the Net Impact chapter who could get the most members to the event. Our winner was University of Washington, with UCLA and Georgetown as runners up. We’ve invited our winner to do a guest CSR blog post soon, talking about the work of their Net Impact chapter and their experience at the conference this year.
We were so happy to be able to support both Net Impact and the Community Cycling Center, and I personally want to thank the team of Intel volunteers who organized the event and for the Net Impact staff for their support.
One of the things I love is the Community Cycling Center’s tagline: The bicycle is a tool for empowerment and a vehicle for change. That sentiment also seems to fit well for the tool that the MBA is and will be for the more than two thousand sustainability-minded conference participants who will be heading back out to businesses and other organizations to drive positive change around the world.