Ramona Madhosingh-Hector, Urban Sustainability Agent
When we prepare for the academic year for our school and college aged students, we’re usually thinking about school supplies, dorm rooms and lunch boxes but have you ever considered the green ethic of the school your student attends? Does the school recycle? Does the school have a green purchasing policy?
More and more schools are getting on board with the concept of Green Schools and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) offers information on how this initiative is pushing schools to change practices. The USGBC oversees the LEED certification programs and incorporates these elements in the green schools initiative. Green Schools are energy efficient, conserve resources, improve air quality and encourage waste reduction. Explore this interactive link to learn more about how schools can go green.
Green Schools contribute to a healthy learning environment for children, improves learning performance and reduces absenteeism due to illness. School boards across the nation are adopting transportation choices and routes that are more efficient and effective; incorporating new technology in the classroom (e.g. SMART boards); and reinventing school menus. These efforts contribute to increased cost savings, promote healthy living choices and encourage environmental stewardship throughout the community.
Many universities across the nation are going beyond the scope of the Green Schools initiative and campus buildings now include solar panels, composting and waste reduction strategies, and dorm room retrofits and upgrades. College students are also required to participate in community service groups that allow them to contribute to the local community. Sierra Club recently released a list of 100 green universities and colleges.
There’s no reason to be green with envy since every school can earn an A+.
EDIS factsheet – Evaluating Green Communities
EDIS factsheet – Youth Environmental Stewardship