For the first time ever, Green Schools Conference and Expo 2018 was co-located with USGBC Colorado’s green building conference, Rocky Mountain Green (RMG).
More than 1,000 people attended both conferences earlier this month at the Hyatt Regency Denver at the Colorado Convention Center.
Inspiring plenary keynotes from Janine Benyus and Emily Pilloton
The conferences kicked off with a keynote from Janine Benyus, co-founder of Biomimicry 3.8 and The Biomimicry Institute, who spoke about finding inspiration in nature for solutions to today’s complex challenges. Following Benyus was afternoon keynote speaker Emily Pilloton, founder of Project H Design and Girls Garage.
Pilloton shared stories of how she worked with students to help design and construct unique buildings for school and community use. “Who gets to build?” she said. “It doesn’t have to be who you’d expect, it can be all of us.”
The closing keynote included a panel of school leaders, who discussed the importance of environmental and sustainability literacy and how it can enhance student learning and school culture.
- Timothy B. Baird, ED.D., superintendent of Encinitas Union School District
- Geoff Deigan, executive director at Prairie Crossing Charter School
- Alison Suffet Diaz, founder and executive director at Environmental Charter Schools
- Tarachell Thomas, principal of Pine Jog Elementary
- Moderator: Jennifer Seydel, Ph.D., executive director at Green Schools National Network
Robust sessions, Exhibit Hall and Student Summit
More than 50 sessions across 11 tracks at GSCE and RMG covered a variety of sustainability topics, including LEED, Arc, environmental curriculum, building performance and social equity.
Attendees also were able to connect with service providers and vendors within the shared Exhibit Hall and get answers to rating system questions from GBCI staff at the GBCI Certification Work Zone.
For students, a Student Summit hosted in partnership with the Captain Planet Foundation offered them a chance to hear from young leaders within business, government, media and music on how to find their voice to design a campaign on the change they’d like to see.
Women in Green Power Breakfast event
This year’s Women in Green event focused on how female leaders within the sustainability industry could lead with purpose and drive continued creativity and progress in the workplace.
- Ann Cooper, president and founder of the Chef Ann Foundation
- Marcia Fulton, executive director at Compass Academy
- Jeannie Renne-Malone, vice president of sustainability at Prologis
- Casey Stock, sustainability manager at DaVita
- Moderator: Kimberly Lewis, senior vice president of Market Transformation and Development at USGBC
Among WIG’s topics of discussion were the importance of diversity in leadership positions, gender equity in the workplace and what leading with purpose meant for each panelist.
“For me, leading with purpose means having the passion and vision that can overcome anything, that there is no 'no,' and that every obstacle is just a blip in the road from getting here to there, and that you know in your heart the things that matter,” Cooper said.
Celebrating leaders in green schools and buildings
GSCE and RMG also celebrated leaders within green schools and buildings on the plenary stage, where recipients were announced for the 2018 Best of Green Schools and Green Apple Day of Service awards and for USGBC Colorado’s Leadership Awards.
Join us in 2019
Next year, the GSCE will be co-located with IMPACT, April 8–9 in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
GSCE is the only national event to unite all of the key players involved in making green schools a reality. Its 2019 co-location with IMPACT —the Midwest’s flagship green building conference and expo hosted by USGBC communities—offers attendees an unmatched opportunity to connect with today’s green building experts and those actively working in our schools.
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View our slideshow of the event:
Slideshare: GSCE x RMG from USGBC