By Emily Riordan
The first annual Green Apple Day of Service has come and gone, and what a weekend it was. More than 1,200 communities around the world took a moment to think differently about where they learn, and participated in meaningful steps towards change. Events and school improvement projects happened in all 50 states, on every continent, and in more than 40 countries. We elevated the discussion around healthy, high-performing schools with positive press, seeing more than 34 million impressions in print, online, television and radio, and over 1,000 social media posts about events.
When I had this idea about a year ago, it was with the goal of getting all of the USGBC Chapters to come together on a single day. I envisioned the power of almost 80 distinct entities, representing thousands of volunteers in hundreds of communities, coming together for one day to demonstrate their reach and their commitment to efficient learning environments. Last spring I said if we got 100 events, I would be happy.
On July 2 we hit that 100 project mark. Two weeks later we saw the 200th event register at mygreenapple.org, and from there we continued to pick up steam, with the “final” count as of Saturday morning topping off at 1,256 commitments, events and projects. Partners, contacts, friends and colleagues came out in force to show their support of better schools, and I couldn’t be more proud, thankful and inspired.
Girl Scouts in Maine rallied in the rain to learn about recycling in their school cafeterias. High school students and volunteers in Detroit installed an outdoor classroom where previously there wasn’t a safe place for students to gather outside. More than 30 events took place across Puerto Rico, including garden cleanups, mural paintings and renewable energy seminars. In places as diverse as they are far apart, including Ethiopia, Colombia and Jamaica, communities came together to learn about and implement strategies for composting, recycling and energy conservation.
Day of Service marked a new milestone in our work, and today is Day One of a new era in our movement. It started with you, and it can only continue to move forward with all of us moving in the same direction. What was demonstrated this weekend only confirms that there is still so much to be done.
Take a moment to congratulate one another on the incredible achievements of this weekend. But let’s not stand still too long. Let’s remember that the acts of service that took place this year should be a hallmark to what we can do every day. Just like the gardens and trees that were installed will require care all year round, so too does our mission to transform the learning environments of each and every student.
p.s. We want to know what happened at your event! Visit mygreenapple.org/share-your-story to upload photos. If you hosted an event in your community, please complete this short survey to tell us how it went.