Week 2 of our Challenge in Knoxville

Week 2 has been as challenging as we were told it would be, although given we just completed interviews on Tuesday, the team is feeling pleased with where we are in the process.  We spent Wednesday and Thursday diving into and consolidating the interview notes, dividing an conquering on follow-up meetings and calls, and beginning to document the key observations and initial recommendations for the City.  As mentioned previously, we have uncovered a number of existing efforts to support weatherization and energy efficiency education for low-income housing residents, but the funding and resources have dwindled rapidly.  Our recommendations will support making these, as well as other proposed initiatives, more perpetual and sustainable.

On the lighter side, after our day of community giveback last Saturday, our team enjoyed a fantastic, home-cooked Mexican meal prepared by one of our own team members, Rudi!  Sunday evening, we took a Cinco de Mayo dinner cruise down the Tennessee River.  From the river, you can see City Hall, our home away from home during the entire interview process.  We also saw the stadium of the University of TN Volunteers — the women’s basketball team won 8 championships under the leadership of the infamous coach Pat Summit.  The men’s team has also been successful over the years, so Knoxville is incredibly proud of their college sports.  We’ve spent this week eating in,  in large part due to the need to hunker down to work on on our recommendations, but also to ensure we get some exercise every now and then.  After holding a checkpoint meeting with the Mayor’s office tomorrow morning, we will take a much needed break and head to Dollywood, a theme park developed by Dolly Parton, a famous country singer and actress.  I’m sure we’ll have some interesting pictures to share from that adventure!



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