Excitement was in the air at the 2017 Green Schools Conference and Expo in Atlanta, Georgia from March 21 to 22. In partnership with Green Schools National Network, for this year's conference USGBC focused on content quality and hands-on learning, adding in a dash of fun. Panel discussions, activities, networking, music and countless conversations showcased the passion our community brings to their everyday work was on full display.
The "fun" at GSCE included a preconference bike tour of green schools in downtown Atlanta, an opening plenary kickoff by the “Sounds of Royalty” high school marching band and yoga in the Expo Hall with an instructor who teaches educators how to bring yoga practices into their classrooms.
On the main stage, we heard from imaginative and insightful speakers: Jose Flores talked about his students’ work to deeply engage with their city and county governments. Dr. Antwi Akom’s thoughtful and challenging keynote address connected the dots on equity and sustainability. Dr. Elizabeth Kiss’s closing keynote shared the role students at Agnes Scott are playing in inventing a sustainable future.
Almost 50 education sessions were packed to the gills with engaged and thoughtful participants, and 13 hands-on workshops addressed how to apply nature journaling in the classroom, how to conduct a waste audit, how to research solar energy regulations and more.
Check out some of our favorite thoughts from the plenary speakers at the conference, and view our SlideShare of photos. Here’s to your daily dose of green schools inspiration!
Voices from GSCE
“Look around. You are the change makers. You are the ones making decisions that impact thousands of students and their experiences in and out of the classroom. Your work to advance environmental and sustainability literacy, to champion healthy learning environments and to reduce school facilities’ impact on the natural world is blazing a trail of progress toward a more prosperous, responsible future.” —Kimberly Lewis, SVP, Community Advancement, USGBC
“What if we build the next generation green schools movement at the intersection of social justice and ecology, of human rights and activism, of inner change and outer change? What if this next generation movement places diversity, equity, and inclusion in the center and commits to protecting our nation’s most viable product? What if we don’t just build hybrid cars—what if we build a hybrid Green Schools movement?” —Dr. Antwi Akom, CEO and Co-founder, Streetwyze
“I don’t have to tell you that the act of educating a child is an act of choosing the future. We educate for what we wish to see in the world. It’s an act of hope. Embracing this hope is what it means to model environmental and social sustainability for our young people—to show them that a sustainable, healthy and bright future is possible.” —Anisa Helming, Director, The Center for Green Schools at USGBC
“Frank Lloyd Wright said, 'The good building is not one that hurts the landscape, but one which makes the landscape more beautiful than before the building was built.' I choose to interpret his words as implying that there should be a sort of dance between the natural world and our man-made one, something beautiful and balanced.” —Neil Isaiah Capangpangan, student, Kennesaw State University
“At the heart of how we approach the challenge of climate change is education…we have to educate the thoughtful, scientifically literate and civic-minded leaders of tomorrow.” —Dr. Elizabeth Kiss, President, Agnes Scott College
“If there were ever a time to dare, to make a difference, to embark on something worth doing, it is now. Not for any grand cause, necessarily—but for something that tugs at your heart, something that’s your aspiration, something that’s your dream.” —Jenny Seydel, Executive Director, Green Schools National Network
As always, please stay in touch. We would love to hear about your experiences at this year’s Green Schools Conference and Expo, and what change it has inspired in your school.
The 2018 Green Schools Conference and Expo will be hosted in Denver, Colorado, in May 2018. Keep an eye on the website for updates!