The Will Steger Foundation joined school districts, charter schools, businesses, local government, higher education and nonprofits at the 3M Innovation Center last week in order to “convene, connect, and foster uncommon collaboratives” through the GreenSchoolsConnect initiative. Launched in 2012, GreenSchoolsConnect (GSC) is a national collaborative initiative powered by Earth Force to accelerate a systemic approach to sustainability in school districts. GSC builds off Earth Force’s proven leadership in networking community partners, training local schools, and providing curricular resources to run service-learning and action civics programs in their community. Ultimately, the initiative aims to make schools examples of sustainability within a community by leveraging cross departmental teams within a school and district, as well as community and corporate partners.
It was fun connecting educators attending the event with the climate change and energy education resources the Will Steger Foundation has to offer, but one of the unique aspects was the opportunity to connect with other school staff, such as those in facilities management. A “green school”, as defined by the National Green Ribbon Schools program does not just include sustainability and the environment in their curriculum, but also in their facilities management, food service and health safety (see the Green Pillars of a Green School) Connecting with school facilities staff and hearing about their excitement and willingness to integrate energy efficiency, waste reduction, etc. was truly inspiring and a good challenge to think about ways of bringing educators and facilities management together.
Over the coming year we will be collaborating with partners at the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment, Department of Education’s Green Ribbon School Program, the Green Schools Coalition/US Green Building Council and others to support sustainability projects through the GreenSchoolsConnect Initiative. Stay tuned for updates!
Watch this video for a Launch and Action Project Summary Presentation.