With, it says, "the ambitious goal of ensuring everyone has the opportunity to attend a green school within this generation," the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) recently launched The Center for Green Schools at the USGBC.
"At USGBC, we understand the profound impact green buildings have on our lives and the innovation they have poured into the marketplace, and we believe no other market speaks more powerfully to the benefits and potential of green buildings than our schools," Rick Fedrizzi, president, chief executive officer, and founding chair of the USGBC, said. "The Center for Green Schools at USGBC is engaging educators in creating sustainable learning environments ... and applying solid research to inform leadership—from school boards to college presidents—about the benefits of healthy, high-performing schools."
United Technologies Corp. (UTC), the Hartford, Conn.-based provider of products and services for the global aerospace and building industries, is the first founding sponsor of The Center for Green Schools at the USGBC. Through UTC's multiyear, multimillion-dollar commitment, the Center will help "raise the volume on USGBC's efforts to drive wholesale change in how schools are designed, constructed, and operated so that they enhance the learning experience for students and save money for school districts and higher-education institutions," the USGBC said in a statement.
The Center is building on the USGBC's Green Schools and Green Campus campaigns by facilitating conversations with key decision makers, collaborating with leading education and environmental associations, and creating tools and resources that help make green schools possible.
Through the Center, the USGBC is escalating its work on green-schools caucuses in the U.S. Congress and the 50 for 50 Initiative with state legislatures, the nationwide Mayors' Alliance for Green Schools, and the Coalition for Green Schools. The Center is creating new resources and advocacy tools to support USGBC student groups on college campuses and a nationwide network of more than 1,000 Green School Committee professional volunteers and is focused on providing training and resources to under-resourced institutions, community colleges, and K-12 schools serving lower-income families.
Advisory and honorary advisory boards made up of green advocates, experts, educators, philanthropists, and others have been formed. Advisory Board members include green-schools pioneer Jayni Chase, environmental activist and philanthropist Kelly Chapman Meyer, and author and environmental-studies-and-politics professor David Orr. Honorary Advisory Board members include National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel and National PTA President Chuck Saylors.
"We see an opportunity to educate a new generation of leaders we call sustainability natives, who are capable of driving global market transformation toward green schools," Rachel Gutter, director of The Center for Green Schools, said. "Our job is to equip the people who make the case, the people who make the decisions, and the people who get things done by elevating and accelerating important conversations with district and campus stakeholders and providing the tools and resources to help make transformation possible."
For more information on The Center for Green Schools at the USGBC, visit http://centerforgreenschools.org.