This is the story of GreenLight Solutions Foundation;
our origins, major milestones, and latest progress.
GreenLight has been collaboratively co-created by hundreds of passionate contributors who align in purpose.
Enjoy the journey, we certainly do!
A Crazy Idea!
GreenLight Solutions was started by a group of students at Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability (SOS) who were contacted by an alumnus of SOS who said, “I have a crazy idea,” and the students said, “we like crazy ideas!” The idea was to start a grassroots movement to solve two problems: 1) College students lack applied project management in their education; and 2) Businesses lack approachable methods to evolve operations to be more sustainable and create a positive impact.
The Green Team
(true story: our original logo design was mocked-up on the back of a napkin – classic!)
These original students worked with the World Wildlife Fund of the UK to produce two case studies on creative green businesses for the WWF’s Green Gamechangers: Sustainable Business Innovations Report. The students found this applied learning opportunity to be the experience that their education was lacking, and they wanted to share the opportunity with other students. That semester at ASU, the GreenLight Solutions student organization and movement was born!
Growing the Team
During the Spring 2013 semester, GreenLight Solutions grew to 15 passionate and talented students. This original cohort collaborated on sustainability projects with the City of Phoenix Public Works Department, Orcutt|Winslow, and Carbon Nation.
GreenLight Solutions thrived on campus during its first year, receiving the “Most Promising New Student Organization Award” from ASU’s Pitchfork Awards; while co-founder Kevin Keleher received the “Student Entrepreneur of the Year Award” for his work co-founding GreenLight Solutions – out of over 70,000+ students at ASU!
The GreenLight team hosted their first retreat on the Mogollon Rim in Arizona. A small group of students went camping together to bond and plan the next year for GreenLight, and this is where co-founder Nathan Gassmann came up with the term “Solutioneer” we use for our college and professional students creating solutions for the business community.
Putting Our Entrepreneur Boots On
A few projects later, our team discovered a high demand for our work, so we applied for and received a significant scholarship to participate in the SEED SPOT Social Entrepreneurship Business Incubator program. Our team entered the program as a grassroots movement with a vision, and finished with an action plan and $5,000 in awards, the second-highest funded in the whole cohort!
Making It Official
The team used the SEEDSPOT award money to form an Arizona nonprofit and receive 501(c)3 status with the IRS. The GreenLight Solutions student movement evolved into an educational nonprofit, the GreenLight Solutions Foundation, which exists to provide the organizational structure, institutional memory, mentorship support, curriculum, training, and resources that students and professionals utilize to make their projects successful.
Showcasing Our Solutions
By this time, GreenLight had been delivering value through applied sustainability projects for 3.5 years and we needed a way to recognize our contributors and present our projects to the community. Then-Solutioneer Jason Zeikowitz came up with and hosted our first ever Solutioneer Showcase, highlighting our Solutioneers, Project Partners, and organizational successes. GreenLight now hosts Showcases every semester.
Mixing It Up
Throughout the GreenLight movement, we have heard from community members that they want to help support us and celebrate our successes, so in the fall of 2017 we hosted our first ever Community Mixer to connect with our friends, supporters, and potential students & partners. Our mixers are hosted on the last Thursday of most months of the year. Visit our Events Page to find out when our next mixer is.
GreenLight was connected with Nanzan University in Japan through ASU Global Launch to deliver our first international project (aside from our very first project for the WWF in the UK), partnering students from Nanzan with AZ StRUT in Mesa, AZ. The project team researched and implemented multiple solutions for AZ StRUT’s recyclable printer plastic and rural community connections.
The Way of the Future
The Future is Now We are excited about the future, which is being created right now! We are excited to continue to help businesses to Learn, Strategize, and Implement sustainability initiatives, and we are excited to have you along with us for this journey.
Thank you for supporting our journey
We are incredibly grateful for every single person who has contributed their time, energy, money, knowledge, and resources to support our growth and development over the years. Our positive impact in the world is not possible without the support of our community – thank you!