As Wisconsin Technical College (WTC) officials prepared to break ground for La Crosse, Wisconsin’s first Passive House on October 3, a squirrel scolded onlookers and ran from a tree shedding first leaves into the wet street. In this established neighborhood of modest homes the scene was quiet, but expectant. Onlookers who’d wandered from jobs and appointments to witness the start-up waved and chatted, softly giddy about this project that’s about doing and connecting. I looked around to see neighbors, co-workers, organizers and educators who know how to collaborate, people who work with light spirits even though they know how long transformation can take.
WTC President Dr. Lee Rasch shared the college’s vision. Community partners told stories of how one action led to another and how visions are being fulfilled in unexpected ways. Educators beamed over opportunities students will have to learn at the building site.
Gold shovels bit the ground. Project designer Tim Eian, building contractor Fowler & Hammer staff, WTC leaders, students and the rest of us beamed from the street.
We stood there smiling on a soggy, fall morning because the project is visible hope. We know we can do better using resources, communicating, designing, and working together, and this project is proof that with good communication—and good will—we can act together in meaningful ways.