Learn more about green schools with our monthly webcasts

Published on: 
22 Feb 2019
Author: 
Carolyn Yi

This year, the Center for Green Schools at USGBC will offer monthly webcasts focused on a variety of topics. Join us each month to expand your knowledge of a green schools issue and to hear directly from industry experts and partners.

See the schedule outline below for our full list of 2019 webinars. Bookmark this page, and check back monthly for updated details including time, call-in information and guest speakers for the next webcast.

March: School District Sustainability Scorecards

Core audience: School Sustainability Leaders Network
Date: Tuesday, March 26
Time: 1 p.m. EST / Noon CST / 11 a.m. MST / 10 a.m. PST

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Description: Data collection and benchmarking performance in the classroom are essential, but what about in other areas at school? In this webcast, three school sustainability and facilities leaders will share their stories of benchmarking and communicating progress on a variety of metrics such as energy, water, waste, transportation, health and wellness, and student leadership. Attendees will learn what the outcomes of engaging occupants in ongoing data collection have been on both the individual and community scales. Each presenter will showcase the internal and external tools used to develop their districts’ Sustainability Scorecard and will share tips for replicating in other school districts.

Featured speakers:

  • Chris Pyke—Senior Vice President, Product for USGBC
  • Tresine Logsdon—Energy and Sustainability Curriculum Coordinator, Fayette County Public Schools
  • Ghita Carroll—Sustainability Coordinator, Boulder Valley School District
  • Tom Horton—Director of Facilities, Carlisle Area School District

April: Building Learners Program Release

Core audience: All audiences
Date: Wednesday, April 24
Time: 3:30 p.m. EST

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Description: Are you looking for ways to connect green building and student learning in a meaningful way? Join us to hear about Building Learners, a new K–12 education program that connects student learning with the operations of a school building, preparing students to succeed in 21st century green careers that value systems thinking and problem solving.

Building Learners brings together a core team of school facilities personnel, educators and volunteer green building professionals. Equipped with standards‐aligned lessons about sustainability and a state-of-the-art online building management dashboard, the team engages students in real-world energy, water, waste, transportation and environmental health investigations of their school. By using the building as a laboratory for STEM learning, students are empowered to propose data-driven solutions for healthier, more efficient school environments.

May: The State of the School Recycling Market

Core audience: School Sustainability Leaders Network
Date: Tuesday, May 21
Time: 1:30 p.m. EST

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Description: The U.S. recycling markets are suffering due to a recent policy shift by China, and you might already be feeling some of the impact in your school system. But what should you really be prepared for, and how can you be an advocate for maintaining, and even expanding, your existing recycling programs?

In this quarterly School Sustainability Leaders' Best Practice webcast, Stephanie Barger from the TRUE Zero Waste program will provide us with an update on the state of the recycling industry—what’s really happening and what school districts should anticipate in the next year.

We will also hear lessons learned from Fairfax County Public Schools, which recently updated their single-stream program and educational materials to meet new hauler requirements. Last, attendees will hear about ways some communities across the country are actually expanding programming to include carton recycling, and how your district can take advantage of the Carton Council’s funding and advocacy resources.

Featured speakers:

  • Stephanie Barger—Director, Market Transformation and Development, TRUE Zero Waste Program
  • Barbara Heineken—Consultant, The Carton Council
  • Donna Volkmann—PreK–12 Resource Teacher, Environmental Stewardship, Fairfax County Public Schools

This webcast is made possible thanks to support from the Carton Council.

June: Resources and Programming to Monitor IAQ in Schools

Core audience: All audiences
Date: Thursday, June 27, 2019
Time: 12–1 p.m. ET

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Description: Indoor air quality (IAQ) is a critical component of healthy school environments. The amount of CO2, VOCs and particulates in the air has demonstrable impacts on the health of students and school staff, and can ultimately affect academic performance and absenteeism. By proactively managing indoor air quality, schools can save money by reducing missed school days, cutting down on chemicals purchased and curbing costly future repairs and potential environmental health lawsuits.

Whether you’re just getting started or have been an IAQ leader for years, this webinar will provide insights for taking your school environmental health monitoring and management program to the next level. Sheila Brown, from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, will discuss the value of assessing and monitoring IAQ and highlight EPA resources available for K–12 schools. Center for Green Schools staff will share how the Arc platform and the Building Learners program can help you engage students to monitor and track IAQ metrics. Attendees will also hear from school district staff in Pennsylvania and Hawaii about their experiences with these resources, including lessons learned and challenges in working to assess and address indoor air quality in their school districts.

Featured speakers:

  • Sheila Brown, Indoor Environments Division, Office of Air and Radiation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Fred Remelius, Director of Operations, Upper Merion Area School District
  • Amy Brinker, Sustainability Manager, Kamehameha Schools

August: Getting to Green with a Green Revolving Fund

Core audience: School Sustainability Leaders Network
Date: Tuesday, Aug. 20
Time: 1–2 p.m. ET

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Description:

School districts and campuses across the country that face annual budget cuts and unstable energy markets are finding it increasingly difficult to finance much-needed energy efficiency upgrades. The good news is that an innovative solution exists, called the Green Revolving Fund (GRF). This webinar will teach you about the virtuous cycle of a GRF and the value that a dedicated internal capital fund could bring to your school system. Learn about Sustainable Endowments Institute’s industry-recognized resources, such as its GRF Implementation Guide and GRITS platform to manage renewable energy, sustainability and energy efficiency projects. Participants will also hear from Kristen Trovillion, Sustainability Coordinator at Grand Rapids Public Schools, about how the K–12 school district made the case for a GRF, and lessons learned after operating the fund for a few years.

Presenters:

Kristen Trovillion, Sustainability Coordinator, Grand Rapids Public Schools

As the Sustainability Coordinator for Grand Rapids Public Schools, Kristen manages the district’s operational sustainability and works to pair sustainability initiatives with student learning. In her previous work at the Indiana Energy Office and Indianapolis’ Office of Sustainability, Kristen managed over $100 million in building retrofit, renewable energy and fleet conversion projects. She also collaborated on the first citywide sustainability assessment in Indianapolis. Kristen holds a bachelor's degree in political science from Alma College and a Master of Public Administration in energy policy from Indiana University–SPEA.

Mark Orlowski, Executive Director and Founder, Sustainable Endowments Institute

Mark Orlowski is Founder and Executive Director of the Sustainable Endowments Institute, a Boston-based organization he started in 2005. SEI has pioneered research and other resources to help institutions advance their sustainability and energy efficiency goals through implementing innovative internal green revolving funds. SEI also has developed the GRITS platform, currently in use by more than 800 institutions, for tracking green revolving funds and energy efficiency/sustainability projects in general. Mark is a graduate of Williams College. He also received an associate's degree from Berkshire Community College and earned a master's degree at Harvard University, where he studied nonprofit management.

This free webinar is hosted by the Center for Green Schools at USGBC in partnership with the Sustainable Endowments Institute.

September: International Updates and Global Coalition Member Spotlight

Core audience: Global Coalition members, international green schools stakeholders
Date: Tuesday, Sept. 17

October: Zero Waste and Better Health: Two Schools on a Journey to More Sustainable, Reusable Foodware

Core audience: USGBC green schools volunteers, green schools advocacy stakeholders
Date: Thursday, Oct. 24
Time: 4–5:15 p.m. ET

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Description:

In partnership with the Center for Environmental Health, the Center for Green Schools is hosting a webcast on making decisions about food service ware with zero waste and health in mind.

To achieve a healthy, zero waste cafeteria, schools have many factors to consider. In selecting food service items such as trays, cutlery and food packaging, there is more to think about than just compostability or recyclability; how the food service ware is made, what it is made of, and larger life cycle concerns are also crucial factors.

This webcast will focus on two schools—Palo Alto Unified School District and Ichabod Crane Central School District—that have transitioned to reusable food service ware. You will learn what motivated them, what challenges they have encountered and what has worked well. Further, we will examine recent research from the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) that confirms the presence of toxic, fluorinated, “non-stick” chemicals (PFAS) in lunchroom food trays.

Learning objectives:

  • Recognize health and environmental risks associated with toxic chemicals in disposable food service ware, including chemical migration into food, water and compost.
  • Identify tools, policies and resources to help purchasers identify safer food service ware products.
  • Develop strategies to transition from single-use food service ware to reusable alternatives.

November: Culture Shift—Behavior Change Strategies for a Zero Waste Cafeteria

Core audience: USGBC green schools volunteers, green schools advocacy stakeholders
Date: Friday, Nov. 15
Time: 1 p.m. ET

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Description:

One of the most important, and hardest to manage, parts of a zero waste cafeteria program is a well-designed recycling and composting effort in both the front and back of house. This webinar will feature speakers who have been successful in this work by shifting the culture of the cafeteria to dramatically reduce what is being thrown in the trash. Three expert presenters from school systems across the U.S. will share their experiences implementing U.S. EPA, USDA and World Wildlife Federation (WWF) waste reduction programs that deeply engage students and staff, as well as discuss the critical role that measurement of trash, recycling and compost plays in achieving zero waste goals. Additionally, attendees will hear about the recent results of WWF’s Food Waste Warrior research and ongoing state and federal policy discussions about cafeteria waste.

Presenters:

  • Melissa Terry, Food Policy Researcher, University of Arkansas
  • Dan Schnitzer, Director of Sustainability and Capital Projects, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools
  • Jodi Crimmins, Garden and Sustainability Teacher, Oak Harbor Public Schools 

December: Getting to Zero Waste—Reducing and Recovering Surplus Food in Cafeterias

Core audience: USGBC green schools volunteers, green schools advocacy stakeholders
Date: Thursday, Dec. 5
Time: 1 p.m. ET

Register for the webinar.

Description:

Our fall webinar series culminates in an important conversation about food waste. Join us as experts in K–12 waste reduction programming from San Diego Unified and Oakland Unified share their journeys and highlight for participants how they can use resources like Sharing the Table: A Roadmap to Reducing and Recovering Surplus Food in Schools to implement a robust food reuse and recovery program. Attendees will also hear about strategies for engaging students in and out of the cafeteria, including Stop Waste’s 4 Rs curriculum and their K–12 Smart Cafeteria Initiative that establishes share tables and a donation program to help feed people in need. Join us and learn how to tackle your organization’s food waste challenge, one school at a time.

Presenters:

  • Nancy Deming, K–12 Sustainability Specialist, Oakland Unified School District
  • Janet Whited, Environmental Specialist, San Diego Unified School District
  • Angelina Vergara, Senior Program Specialist, Stop Waste