USGBC CEO Rick Fedrizzi to Keynote the 2016 Green Schools Conference and Expo

Published on: 
Monday, February 8, 2016
Marisa Long

More than 1,200 expected to convene in Pittsburgh for annual conference that brings together school thought leaders and champions

Washington, D.C.—(Feb. 8, 2016)—The Green Schools Conference and Expo (GSCE), presented by the Center for Green Schools at USGBC, and produced in partnership with the Green Schools National Network, is coming to Pittsburgh, Pa., March 31–April 1, 2016, at the LEED Platinum David Lawrence Convention Center.

The conference will bring together green school thought leaders and champions, including educators, school administrators, nonprofit and corporate partners and elected officials to advance the shared vision of green schools for all within this generation. Rick Fedrizzi, CEO and founding chair of USGBC, will give the keynote address.

“As the devoted husband of a third grade teacher, Rick Fedrizzi was the original champion for green schools at USGBC," said Rachel Gutter, director of the Center for Green Schools at USGBC. "From community events across the U.S. to the global plenary stages at the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo, I have never seen Rick miss an opportunity to make his powerful and persuasive case for greening our schools. I can think of no better way to kick off our Green Schools Conference and Expo—a dose of Rick’s trademark energy and passion will be just the inspiration we need."

As co-founder of USGBC in 1993, Rick Fedrizzi’s leadership of the organization’s game-changing programs and initiatives has catalyzed a global green building movement and set a market standard for sustainability achievement. USGBC’s LEED green building program has been the cornerstone of Rick’s efforts. Since the launch of the first version of LEED in 2000, it has quickly grown to become the world’s most widely used green building rating system.

Of USGBC’s many programs, the Center for Green Schools at USGBC is Rick’s passion. Rick established the Center in 2010 because he believes that everyone—from students and teachers to parents and whole communities—benefits when we insist on healthier, high-performing schools.

“Healthy, high-performing schools by definition rest on the foundation of improved buildings and grounds, but if we stopped there, we’d be doing a huge disservice to our future,” said Fedrizzi. “Embedding the fundamentals of sustainability into curriculum and instruction and providing teachers with the training and tools to do this is our first, best path to real success. Ensuring that the next generation of leaders will accept nothing less than a world that values its resources and prioritizes the health of its citizens should be our focus.”

“It’s also the way we will ignite the innovation for the new green economy,” he continued. “We owe it to our business community to provide a workforce already primed for “green think,” to see how profit can be a powerful incentive for finding solutions to our environmental challenges. This conference brings together the people that can make this happen.”

This year’s conference theme is “Three Rivers, Three Pillars,” reflecting the city of Pittsburgh’s location at the convergence of three powerful rivers and the three foundational pillars that underpin the green schools movement. Green schools reduce the environmental impact of buildings, have a positive effect on student and teacher health and increase environmental literacy among students and graduates. GSCE offers attendees opportunities to help expand their school's sustainability goals and connect with other like-minded individuals.

Leaders from schools, industry and research institutions across the globe will share best practices in formal and informal settings during the conference through summits, breakout sessions and opening and closing plenaries. Master speakers include:

  • Dr. Christopher Emdin is an associate professor in the Department of Mathematics, Science and Technology at Teachers College at Columbia University. Dr. Emdin is a social critic, public intellectual and science advocate who provides commentary on issues of race, culture, inequality and education.
  • Adam Brumberg, the deputy director for Cornell Food and Brand Lab, coordinates academic and industry research conducted by both the Food and Brand Lab and the Behavioral Economics Nutrition Center (BEN).
  • Leesa Carter-Jones is the executive director for the Captain Planet Foundation, which supports high-quality, hands-on environmental stewardship projects that have enabled more than 1.1 million youth across the globe make significant environmental improvements to their schools or communities.
  • Greg Christian is the CEO and founder of Beyond Green Sustainable Food Partners, a company that provides measured strategies and solutions for organizations interested in making the switch to more sustainable food service platforms.
  • Atasha James is the principal of Leckie Elementary School in Washington, D.C., where she is a Mary Jane Fellow Mentor Principal and on a shortlist of school leaders recognized for closing the achievement gap in both math and reading for three consecutive years.
  • Barry Svigals is a managing partner for Svigals and Partners, LLP and has written and spoken widely on the healing potential of architecture. He has been tapped to design the new Sandy Hook Elementary School, a process of revitalization for all of Newtown.

Early bird registration for GSCE has been extended to Feb. 12, 2016. To learn more about the conference and to register, please visit