George Giannos wins the 2017 Lucky Hinkle Sustainability Award
When George Giannos (Environmental Studies ’17) came to Santa Clara, he had already spent his high school summers working in construction. Intrigued to put what he learned in his classes into concrete action, he started to attend Santa Clara student meetings for the Tiny House competition. For this competition, SCU undergraduates set out to design and build a fully functional, off-grid home on wheels. Looking around the meeting room, George soon realized that was one of the only non-engineering students on the team. He distinctly remembers feeling out of place because everyone at the meetings came from engineering. Soon however, he realized that he could offer a background that none of the other engineers had and that was hands-on construction knowledge paired with his knowledge of sustainable systems. Very quickly he became a major player in the design of the tiny house and eventually stepped up to be the construction manager on the project. In this phase, he was able to take the house that had been designed for the past year and turn it into a successful and award-winning reality. Building on interdisciplinary communication skills honed in ESS, George was a major advocate for getting other majors involved, and soon was able to recruit students from history, biology, public health, psychology, environmental science, studio art, and finance to the project. The balance of academic disciplines is what made this incredibly hardworking team successful in the end. After a summer spent working from morning to the wee hours of the morning again, SCU’s rEvolve House was not only the winner of Calfornia’s inaugural Tiny House competition, but was also named Best College Sustainability Project, and has been donated to Operation Freedom Paws, a nonprofit organization empowering military veterans. Team member Anna Harris reflects on lessons learned in the Tiny House building project in a related article.
George will not take much time off after graduation – he is moving onward to pursue more green building dreams. He has a job lined up working for a construction consulting/project management firm called Master Program Management This summer he will be working on a variety of projects around Santa Clara's campus and at the Santa Clara Mission Cemetery located near the university. His ultimate dream is to start an off-the-grid beach house company in the Caribbean. He wants to be able to create sustainable homes in the outer islands of the Bahamas that produce their own electricity, collect their own water, and reuse their own waste.
The faculty of ESS congratulate George on his accomplishments in putting Green Building into actions and to receiving this year’s Lucky Hinckle Sustainability Award. With George’s knowledge, passion, and commitment, he will surely be leaving his green thumbprint on the construction industry as he pursues his building dreams.