The Center for Green Schools and our partners at the Green Schools National Network are thrilled to welcome the educators, leaders, sustainability experts and others from around the nation at this week’s 2016 Green Schools Conference and Expo (GSCE) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
We’re excited to see so many friends—old and new—who share our mission of advancing better schools that are healthier, higher-performing and more inspiring for our students and teachers. At the core of our green schools movement is the notion of equity—a commitment to providing students of every creed, color, gender, orientation and background with a quality education that prepares him or her for brighter future. Unfortunately, the recent State of Our Schools report confirms that we are a far cry from ensuring all students benefit from a 21st century education in a 21st century learning environment. We can and must do better by our kids, and GSCE is our moment to renew and amplify our commitment to do just that.
This year, we’re gathering at the confluence of three great rivers—the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio—to build upon the foundation of a green school’s three pillars: physical infrastructure, health and well-being and environmental and sustainability literacy. It’s fitting that we meet in Pittsburgh, the City of Bridges, to explore the intersections of our work across these pillars, share lessons learned and celebrate our progress.
I am excited for conferencegoers to get a dose of inspiration from my boss, mentor and dear friend, Rick Fedrizzi. He’s the original champion for green schools at USGBC, and it was his vision that made the Center for Green Schools a reality. I’m also looking forward to participating in a series of conversations throughout GSCE about school food and childhood nutrition and how we can transform school food services.
At GSCE 2016, we’ll also hear from globally renowned experts, such as Adam Brumberg of Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab, and from Pittsburgh heroes like Leah Lizarondo, the cofounder and CEO of 412 Food Rescue. I’m equally elated to have Dr. Chris Emdin, from Columbia University, and all of the energy he brings on the plenary stage, providing tools and lessons to fix the inequity embedded in our education system.
GSCE 2014 was the first time we called upon this community to speak with one voice and join together as one movement. Today, this invitation has morphed into an imperative. The Center for Green Schools, with our friends at GSNN, are excited to make this year’s conference the best one yet.