My first EDRA conference was EDRA43Seattle in 2012. The paper I presented back then was about high rise building designs and their adverse effects on mental health. I was grateful for the opportunity and thought at the time that presenting at a conference was a HUGE achievement. I realized soon after that this was just a first step towards many adventures. I found EDRA as a community to bevery welcoming and receptive for scholars, practitioners, and students. This is partially due to the diverse background of EDRA members. This integrative atmosphere allows students to learn, network, and be positive members.
As a board member, I have had a GREAT opportunity to meet selfless and dedicated EDRAites. They all left a positive impact on me. EDRA founder Henry Sanoff who taught me, by example, the concept of selfless voluntary work. For years he helped grow our association, which aims to boost Environment-Behavior research. I took many notes as he spoke in board meetings, and for me they became valuable references. Another board member who is very energetic and constantly active is Rula Awwad-Rafferty, board chair from 2013-2014. Her continuous encouragement and support increased my passion toward EDRA and grew my intangible attachment to the organization in a way that made me willing to put more time and effort. Paula Horrigan is also a board member who I consider a “must-meet” person. If you are going to attend the upcoming conference, plan a chat with her and you will understand what I mean! Gowri Betrabet Gulwadi is another amazing person. She gets things done orderly, in an impressive way. I can’t forget to mention our current exceptional Chair, Shauna Mallory-Hill, who taught me the benefits of networking.. I am also grateful to David Boeck, Mallika Bose, Lubomir Popov, Jennifer Senick, and Nicholas Watkins for their continuous contributions and outstanding performance.
When I first took over as the Student Representative to the EDRA board, I was assigned to handle the social media content and the Student Affairs. My goal was to inform people who are new to EDRA about what EDRA offers. I created the “EDRAite of the Month” feature to introduce EDRA members to each other. Paula Horrigan coined the term “EDRAite”. Among so many other things, she is really great at wordsmithing! I also launched a “Did you know?” feature to help people navigate through the EDRA website and discover the many opportunities offered. Moreover, Thursday Throwback was also on my plan last year and it worked out very well. Although, it was time consuming on my daily schedule, I truly enjoyed the results when I saw members become more engaged and interested.
Les Brown once said; “In every day, there are 1,440 minutes. That means we have 1,440 daily opportunities to make a positive impact". Many EDRA members in the past like Danny Mittleman, Nana Kirk, and others mentioned above , have voluntarily put enormous amount of time and effort for EDRA. EDRA still needs your support and some of your daily minutes. One positive impact is always available within your schedule. Just look for it and you will definitely find it. The voluntary service is not just about our resumes; it is also about our life. We as individuals always seek new meaning in our life, but some of us do not know how to achieve that. EDRA is one of the venues that will help you volunteer your time and be rewarded for it. You will be rewarded by a bigger circle of connections who might be your tomorrow’s supporters, employers, employees, colleagues, friends, etc. We cannot guarantee the future but we definitely know the present. EDRA seeks your positive impact out of your daily 1,440 minutes. Keep searching in your daily minutes and leave a positive impact. Thanks for reading!