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Director’s Corner: As the School Year Comes to a Close, the Center for Green Schools is Just Getting Started

Rachel Gutter


Rachel Gutter, Director, Center for Green Schools

When we launched the Center for Green Schools at USGBC last fall, we could only have hoped for the level of support, excitement and momentum we've seen toward the green schools movement. But here we are – as the school year closes and spring graduations commence across the country – bringing together the people who make the case, the people who make the decisions and the people who get things done when it comes to greening our schools. Teachers, parents, faculty, students and policy makers along with builders, architects, facilities managers, and funders have reached out in support of our shared vision to achieve green schools for everyone within this generation.

Rachel (center left) interacts with Summit participants including (L to R) Joseph Sanches from Facilities Management, Palm Beach, Fla.; Anne Bryant, Executive Director, National School Board Association; and Mónica García, Los Angeles Unified School District Board President.

Since the inception of the Center, we've made tremendous progress toward establishing USGBC as a preeminent convener of green schools dialogue. Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair of USGBC, along with myself and the Center for Green Schools team have collectively reached thousands of people through in-person speaking engagements about green schools – including one some 7,000 miles away where Rick, alongside Sandy Diehl, Vice President of Integrated Building Solutions for the Center's first Founding Sponsor, United Technologies Corporation, recently called on Chinese developers to build green schools.

I encourage you to take a look at our new website and blog at centerforgreenschools.org, where you will find the latest news and information on the work the Center and our partners are doing. You can also find resources and tools to help you advocate and achieve green schools in your communities – whether you are a parent looking to improve your child's school, a college student pursuing a career in green building or an architect navigating the LEED® Green Building Rating System for the first time. Moving forward, you can expect more frequent updates from the Center, your ally for greening our nation's schools and campuses.

Students at LEED-certified Stoddert Elementary in Washington, D.C., giving a tour of their green school. Stoddert is one of many schools the Center has worked with to provide educational resources and information on sustainability.

Our work has been highlighted nationally in respected media outlets including The New York Times, USA Today, Grist, Treehugger, Architectural Record, Huffington Post as well as the Earth Day edition of Martha Stewart's Whole Living magazine, where I was honored with one of the publication's inaugural Whole Living Awards. Several local TV and print media outlets, as well multiple trade publications, have also covered our programs and initiatives and this level of awareness reminds us that our work is producing tangible results.

Recent Highlights

Rachel announcing Sacramento as a recipient of one of the first Center for Green Schools UTC Fellows at the Greenwise Sacramento meeting in February.

We've been decidedly busy here at the Center for Green Schools at USGBC, but there is still so much more we have to do to fulfill our mission. Thanks to all of you for helping us to make real strides toward green schools for everyone within this generation.