Congrats Fellow! You Made it.
In the spirit of our organization’s values, this Sustainable
CT Guidebook was created BY interns, FOR interns!
Inside you will find the helpful information, tips, and
resources you might need as a newly-minted Fellow.
We hope this program will build on your experiences,
and thank you for choosing to grow with us!
Welcome to a more Sustainable Connecticut.
Intro and Welcome…………………………………………………………………………….2
Sustainable CT Background ………………………………………………………….4, 5
Fellowship Duties……………………………………………………………………………6, 7
10 Tips for the Best Business Etiquette!………………………………………..8, 9
...So, what exactly is Sustainable CT ?
Sustainable CT is a voluntary certification program designed to recognize
thriving and resilient municipalities. The program launched its first certifica-
tion cycle in the summer of 2018.
It is important to note that Sustainable CT was developed by towns, for
towns. Over 200 resident experts and municipal leaders from across the
state worked together to create the program, alongside the Connecticut
Conference of Municipalities, key agencies, non-profits and businesses dur-
ing 2016 and 2017. The Institute for Sustainable Energy at Eastern Connecti-
cut State University (ECSU) led and coordinated program development,
with generous support from the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, Hampshire
Foundation, and Common Sense Fund. ECSU continues to manage Sus-
Sustainable CT is not the only program of its kind— Sustainable New Jersey
(after which Sustainable CT is modeled), Sustainable Pennsylvania and Sus-
tainable Maryland are just a few of the many states committing themselves
to a more sustainable future. However, Connecticut is the first state to
acknowledge equity as an element of sustainability in our program.
Throughout the fellowship, it will become most helpful to get familiar
with the actions in the program.
To certify, a municipality must complete at least one action in each of
the nine categories, and successfully complete actions, totaling 200 or
more points for bronze-level certification and 400 or more points for
Thriving Local Economies
Well-Stewarded Land and Natural Resources
Vibrant and Creative Cultural Ecosystems
Dynamic and Resilient Planning
Clean and Diverse Transportation Systems
Efficient Physical Infrastructure and Operations
Strategic and Inclusive Public Services
Healthy, Efficient and Diverse Housing
Inclusive and Equitable Community Impacts
Refresher: Here’s a line-up of what you agreed to this
The Sustainable CT Fellowship Program will place highly qualified
fellows (that’s you!) at Councils of Governments (COGS) to assist
with the uptake and implementation of Sustainable CT.
Fellows will work to assist cities and towns working within one of
the nine COGs that serve as Connecticut’s regional planning or-
ganizations. Fellows will assist the municipalities within the COG
territory, as well as assist with COG projects that align with Sus-
tainable CT goals. Click here for more information on COG loca-
Fellows will gain valuable experience working within a professional
setting and will be directly engaged with cutting-edge sustainabil-
ity initiatives, local government operations, and regional coordina-
tion and operation.
Potential Sustainable CT Fellow Duties:
Research sustainability initiatives in
Assist with writing municipal assessments that can be used
as program recruitment tools
Identify opportunities for multi-town collaboration between
Sustainable CT municipalities
Assist municipal staff and leaders in documenting
sustainability initiatives for Sustainable CT certification
Research implementation strategies for towns pursuing
Maintain the online Sustainable CT presence of a
Assist with COG projects that align with Sustainable CT
Produce an end of internship report that documents
successes and areas for improvement
Other, as directed and mutually agreed to by the COG
Sustainable CT Fellows are in frequent contact with municipal
representatives. Refer to these 10 quick tips for the finest business
etiquette in the region!
1.) Dress for Success!
When you feel good, you look good…
...And when you look good, you feel good!!
• It’s never a bad idea to slightly dress up for
work, especially on the first day. Business clothes are appro-
priate, but try to make sure you still feel comfortable wearing
them. Reach out to your COG supervisor before starting your
first day to ask about the organization’s dress code.
2.) Treat People Equally—with Respect!
• No matter who you encounter that day,
no matter what part of the organization
they work in, or how often you might see
them, it is in your best interest to practice
this every day with everyone.
3.) Try to Remember Names—and Use Them! *
4.) Mind your Manners.
5.) Don’t Feel Chained to your Desk. If your brain isn’t
working, get up and stretch, go for a quick walk, take a
break, grab a lunch, or use the bathroom. At the end of
the day your output is what matters, and you know your
6.) Always Introduce Yourself and shake hands with the people you meet.
7.) Always Offer Open Communication Channels,
multiple ways to contact you, and the hours you
are available to the people relying on you.
8.) READ the Actions & Be Directly Indirect. Choosing the right words is
always an important skill, but as a Fellow, you will be helping municipalities
submit actions for credit. However, their final application will be review by
an expert, who will follow the requirements in the actions write-ups. So, if
a town were to ask, “Does this count for points?” respond with something
like, “I think so, but let me check and get back to you!” A firm but polite
“maybe” won’t break any promises, and will allow you to research the ac-
tion closely and/or ask the Sustainable CT Team at ISE for confirmation.
Always ask for help when you need it!
9.) Manage your Time Wisely & Prioritize.
Because you might be working with many
towns at once, who might all need
something different, be sure to keep your
to-do list, well...DOable! Prioritize and plan
you time out to make sure you can handle the workload you might
10.) Don’t Forget About Us! Keep the Sustainable CT Team in
the loop with important updates and just to check-in!
How to Remember Names
How to Attend a Meeting
Along with our Etiquette Guide,
please refer to the following scenarios to help you become
resilient to any workplace disaster!
How to Remember (and Recover!) Names *
Say the person’s name right after they’re said it to you, and look
them in the eye:
• “It’s very nice to meet you, _______.”
• “Name? It’s very nice to meet you.”
If you missed their name, try:
• “I’m sorry I didn’t catch that, can you repeat your name?”
If some time has passed, try:
• “Could you please remind me of your name?”
It never hurts to ask! In fact, this shows that you cared enough to
make sure you got their name right!
How to Attend a Meeting
Do you have your…”
• Stuff you promised to bring
Make sure to have the date, time, address, and room number correct
Try to pad in an extra 10 minutes before the meeting to buffer in
navigation mistakes, bathroom breaks, walking time, etc.
If you get there first, prepare your notes.
• When they walk in, stand up and shake their hand, introducing
yourself with your name and job title.
If they are waiting for you, don’t be flustered! Take a second to get
yourself in order before jumping right in.
Follow-up after the meeting with an email summary of what your
next steps are.
How to Call &
How to Email
How to Approach a Phone Call/Call Meeting
Because you might need to speak with your registered towns often,
a phone call might be a suitable replacement for an in-person
meeting. You can use your cell phone if you aren’t given an office
For calls and call meetings, try to reserve a room so your conversation isn’t carry-
ing through the whole office.
In call meetings, use the mute button when you aren’t speaking because the call
picks up every sound you make!
Don’t be afraid of pauses, a call is built around them in order to still let conversa-
tion flow even when you cannot see the person/people you are speaking with.
Think about what you might want to say before the call.
Let them hang up first!
Be respectful of time.
How to Approach an Email Leave the email in a productive state, which en-
sures that the recipient knows you are willing to
Sustainable CT Fellows are in frequent contact with continue helping or talking with them.
town representatives over email. Here are a few tips • If working on a project with/for someone:
for perfecting your email etiquette:
PROOFREAD! • “Please let me know if you need
Use a clear subject line. Although you might like • “Please let me know what you
building the suspense, using a straightforward think”
subject line is courteous to your recipient. It es- • “Let me know what else I can do
pecially helps a busy town official prioritize their
inbox. for you”
• “Don’t hesitate to reach out with
Greetings. Standard emails start with a simple any questions”
and friendly salutation such as Hi, Hello, Good Be realistic and honest! Don’t promise anything
morning/afternoon, or Dear ___. Always use the
recipient’s name in the salutation (i.e. Hi Karen, ). you are not sure of, or say yes to something you
Day-to-day emailing can use recipients’ first can’t do.
names. If the person has a nickname that others Salutations. Like your greeting, keep your sign-
use, but you haven’t called them that yet, use off friendly and professional. Some of the most
their real name first and then see how they sign common salutations include:
• If their reply is signed from Bill, use Bill. • Best /Best Wishes
• If their reply is signed from William but • Regards /Kind Regards
you know people call him Bill, still use Wil- • Warmly
liam. • Sincerely
Try to keep emails direct and concise. If you find • Thanks
yourself emailing the Sustainable CT Team with • Thank you
questions, structure them in an easily-digestible • Yours truly
way, such as a numbered list, or attach your • Cheers
questions in a Word doc. Send separate topics in • Sincerely
separate emails, rather than continuously reply- • Enjoy your day / afternoon / evening
ing in one chain. • Have a nice day / afternoon / evening
• If you’ve sent attachments, point it out! Try to reply in a timely fashion, even if you can’t
(If the attachments are huge, provide a fully answer something yet. It never hurts to
warning before sending): thank the person for contacting you, state that
you will find an answer for them shortly, and that
• “Please see the attached” you will advise them of it as soon as possible.
• “I have attached ___ “ /
If it’s helpful, pin or flag your most important
“Attached is ____” emails to keep track of them in your inbox!
How to Host
Behind the Scenes
Familiarize yourself with who you will be meeting with. Research their town or name online beforehand
to be more informed.
Create an agenda for the things you would like to discuss in the meeting. An agenda will help you keep
pace in the meeting and end on time. Print out enough copies for everyone planning on attending your
meeting, plus extras for any other representatives they might bring.
Prepare a slideshow or handouts to give your attendees something visual to refer to during the meeting.
Like the agenda, print out enough copies plus extras. If you created slides but do not have handouts,
print the slide deck if it’s a reasonable length.
Bring your business cards so the attendees have a quick reference for contacting you after the meeting.
Make packets of all the materials for the meeting, and staple your business card to the front. If your
COG can spare the office supplies, organize each packet within its own folder or binder. If not, a paper-
clip will do the job too!
Arrange for FOOD! This is optional, but when you invite people to your COG’s office, ask your supervisor
if you can provide snacks, cookies, or drinks. It never hurts to have something on the table to make the
room more accommodating and comfortable for open discussion. Make sure all the technology you
need works properly, and that you know how to use it! Ask your supervisor for help before the meeting.
Reserve the space beforehand to make sure that room won’t be booked during your scheduled meeting.
Ask your supervisor for help!
Send out a reminder email to your planned attendees a couple of days before the meeting, summarizing
what the meeting is about, the date & time, and the COG address. If applicable, provide the room num-
ber of your meeting area, directions to the COG, and/or parking instructions.
At the Meeting
Greet everyone when they enter. When a person enters the room, stand up and walk over to them first,
and shake their hand. If they’re carrying a lot, it was raining, or if they had to walk up a bunch of steps,
etc. etc., give them a moment to get settled in first.
If people don’t know where to sit, seat them!
In the moments before your meeting starts, or while you’re waiting for everyone to show up, don’t be
afraid to TALK to the people already in the room! This will break the ice and might make you more com-
fortable speaking during the meeting as well.
Starting the Meeting
Reintroduce yourself and thank everyone for coming.
Explain the purpose for meeting and go through an overview of the agenda.
Go through a quick overview of the other materials in their packets before diving into anything, so the
attendees aren’t reading ahead trying to figure out what everything is, when instead they could be listen-
ing to you.
Present confidently but be human! Try not to robotically run through your slides. Instead, keep a more
conversational tone, especially if this is a smaller meeting. At the end of the day, you’re just talking to
people, that’s it. No need for nerves here! Especially when you are informing them.
Stick to the clock and try to keep the meeting moving in order to end on time.
Take notes on what people say.
Don’t interrupt, and give everyone a chance to speak—
• Look around the room. If you notice someone has not spoken, gently prompt them for their
thoughts, to ensure everyone has a chance to speak. Pause often. Some people have difficulty
cutting into a conversation, especially in groups, so a method like this will be helpful in gathering
input from everyone in the meeting. Everyone’s role is important. Make sure your guests know
that you value that.
• IF PRESENTING WITH A COWORKER, do the same. Pause to acknowledge your counterpart and
give them ample room to build on what you are saying, often. We are a team, and a mark of a ca-
pable worker is their team spirit. Showcasing that to your attendees is key.
• When moving to a new topic, pause occasionally to ask if everything has been clear so far… WAIT
for the answer!
Wrapping up. Wait until you are the last person to speak and thank everyone for their time. Provide in-
formation on how attendees can follow up with you, or point them to the information on your business
You are now well-prepared for your first day as a
Sustainable CT Fellow! Although you’ve gotten plenty of
great tips and resources to start off with, always
remember to be yourself.
No amount of preparation works quite as well