For the third year running, USGBC dove into summer by convening our key volunteer leadership from across the country and even a few from other parts of the world at our annual mid-year meeting (affectionately known by the USGBC team as MYM). This year, our community descended upon steamy Indianapolis, Indiana, which managed to be hotter than the other two previous two locations – Stone Mountain, GA and San Antonio, TX.
Having attended every MYM to date, there weren’t many surprises this year. Not the fragrant leis distributed by our Hawaiian volunteers, nor the cowboy boots worn by our Texas troops on the ground. But there were two things that really struck me. The first is that the Center for Green Schools volunteers are the happiest of all. And who could blame them? What’s more fun than inspiring a generation of healthy, high-performing kids? Closed doors could not sufficiently muffle the constant fits of laughter that resounded from the conference room where USGBC Green School Committee Chairs and USGBC Students and Community Green leadership were congregated. More than once, I heard many of USGBC’s other critical volunteers remark “I don’t know who is meeting in that room, but I want to be a part of it.” The energy, the commitment and the optimism across the Center for Green Schools at USGBC’s leaders on the ground really blew me away. It was a great reminder that it is volunteers – practitioners, parents, teachers, students – are the ones who are leading the green schools movement, and have since the very inception. It’s the brave mom who stands up in front of her school board, the architect who sells his risk-adverse client on the benefits of green design and the student who convinces her peers to fund new sustainability initiatives on campus.
Putting every student in a green school within this generation often feels overwhelming. But the second thing that struck me when I left this year’s mid-year meeting was that not only was I energized to make good on our commitment, I was also confident that we could get this done.
Last year, 100 percent of our USGBC chapter family participated in our first Green Apple Day of Service. More than 1,300 projects took place in all 50 states, in 49 countries and on all seven continents. This year, the Center for Green Schools team and our network of thousands of dedicated volunteers have pledged to double our impact, collectively hosting more than 2,500 service projects, deploying half a million volunteers on a single day and transforming school environments attended by more than four million students on September 28, 2013. By the numbers, we have twice as many projects today as we did at this time last year, but we still have a long way to go to meet our always ambitious goals.
And that’s why we need your help.
Visit mygreenapple.org today to register a project in your community. The website has lots of ideas for projects that you can sign up for, upcoming volunteer trainings, additional resources for planning a project and more.
Together, let’s convince the world that where we learn matters.