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.
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.
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.
- The Department of Education just announced the inception of its Green Ribbon Schools program, which resulted in part from our work with partner organizations to work with the Federal Government to establish a green ribbon award.
- We launched the Center for Green Schools Fellowship program, which will place full-time sustainability officers in the Sacramento and Boston public school districts for three year terms beginning in fall 2011.
- We partnered with Princeton Review for the second time to produce the Guide to 311 Green Colleges: 2011 Edition.
- We co-sponsored the first ever National Green Schools Conference and are planning a second event for February 27-29, 2012, in Denver, Colo.
- We teamed up with Robert Redford and the Redford Center, ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, and the American Institute of Architects to convene a Greening of America's Schools Summit with mayor and superintendent teams from across the country and produced a special report, Local Leaders in Sustainability: Special Report from Sundance, which highlights a five-point action plan for greening schools.
- Partnering with the Green Education Foundation, we just launched the Sustainability Education Clearinghouse, which provides K-12 teachers an opportunity to share their curriculum and lesson plans on sustainability.
- We grew our Center Advisory Board to include environmentalists, education leaders, celebrity activists and green school pioneers, including author Paul Hawken, actors Kyra Sedgwick and Robert Redford and Girls Scouts USA President Connie Lindsey, among others.
- We released new higher education resources for builders and school faculty and administration, including the Roadmap to a Green Campus and Hands on LEED: Guiding Student College Engagement.
- We added several amazing members to the Center team, dramatically increasing our ability to achieve the Center's immediate goals and long-term mission. We worked with local, state and federal policy makers on advocacy outreach and policy change and hosted an annual summit with our 50 for 50 state legislators.
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.