By Pat Lane
USGBC Students Lead
We don't need to convince college students there are problems with the built environment around them. This is a generation of sustainability natives born into a changing planet.
They grew up with Asthma, taking steroids for their lungs and with inhalers in their pockets, all because of the unhealthy built environments they have been living and learning in. They are ready to change the poor conditions they have grown accustomed to.
Students are at the forefront of the movement to change our schools into healthy, high performance buildings. They are discovering and implementing solutions and tangible ways to fix these problems now. USGBC Students was created to give them a hand. The program serves to recruit, equip and connect this current generation of students with the training and opportunities to transform their campuses, communities and careers. USGBC students is a foundation for the broader USGBC family, setting up a pipeline for leadership in the green building industry.
Already, we have seen grassroots action taken by students around the United States. We currently have active and hard-working student groups on 65 campuses across the country representing 1,500 students who are using their campuses as living laboratories and honing their talents as they advocate for sustainable practices and building. Additionally, by the beginning of the next school year we will have 60 committed and well-trained volunteers working locally across the country to grow the program and support the students. These will be our USGBC Students National Chairs and Regional Chairs. We are still accepting applications for regional chairs, and you can apply here.
Our National Chairs met two weeks ago and developed a path forward that will grow our program upwards of 700 student groups serving over 15,000 students. Further, we have the tools and subject matter expertise to aid students in creating substantial change. In the current job market, USGBC Students provides these talented individuals with a very real way to set themselves apart from others upon graduation through LEED accreditation. We are creating a groundswell of graduates who will soon take the torch from the previous generation and run with it faster and farther.
Students are no longer interested in discussion, argument and visibility campaigns. They are ready to get to work and make real steps towards transforming the built environment around them.