The Green Schools Conference and Expo (GSCE) elevates student voices and the critical ways students can contribute to and lead sustainability initiatives. On Tuesday, March 3, the Student Summit will provide a group of local students with leadership training and education, and many core education sessions highlight student voices and ways for educators to increase student engagement.
Employees of preK–12 schools or districts, government entities and nonprofit organizations receive special pricing. Register for the event.
The Student Summit at GSCE, hosted in partnership with Oregon Green Schools, Washington Green Schools and Clark County Green Schools, is designed for high school students interested in finding their voices as passionate advocates for sustainability, environmental stewardship and climate justice. It features panel discussions with youth leaders and environmental activists, training sessions on how to build a successful climate justice campaign, spotlight breakout sessions dedicated to sharing and celebrating how you are making change in your communities, and active environmental problem-solving.
Featured education sessions by track
Track 1: Healthy School Environments
"Clear the Air: Tackle Air Quality through Hands-on Investigations" focuses on the topic of air quality in schools, especially as it connects to climate disasters such as fire. In this session, attendees will learn how to conduct air quality assessments with students, hear about how two schools have addressed air quality with students and learn from USGBC how to use an online platform for students to collect and track school operations data.
Track 2: Driving Cultural and Behavioral Change
"Engaging Students in Teacher PD to Transform Their Schools!" highlights two projects that engaged middle and high school students and teachers in different aspects of their schools, including learning, curriculum design and visioning. Attendees will walk away from this session understanding the benefits of teachers and students working together on curriculum design.
Track 3: Kickstarting Sustainability Programs in Schools
In "Sustainability Projects in Action," participants will view projects designed by elementary students at Manhattan School for Children, a public K–8 school in New York City. Participants will leave with an understanding of how sustainability projects can offer students opportunities for meaningful leadership, collaboration and environmental awareness.
Track 4: Designing Schools for the Future
Learn about hands-on learning projects completed by middle school students over the past 10 years in "Zero X 10 = First U.S. Certified Net-Zero Public School Ten Years Running." Hood River Middle School’s building was the first certified public school building (by ILFI), and the school's fully integrated FACS Food and Conservation Science program combines math, science and social studies curriculum. This session will present how students have taken skills learned through this program beyond middle school.
Track 5: Engaging and Empowering Students
"Public Trust Doctrine and Tribal Sovereignty: Paths to Sustainability" is a panel that brings climate and social justice to life and teaches attendees how to inspire and empower youth in civic engagement. This session includes perspectives from a civics teacher, a tribal sovereignty curriculum expert and a youth plaintiff in the Juliana v. U.S. climate justice lawsuit, where 21 youth plaintiffs sued the government for violating their rights by encouraging and allowing activities that significantly harmed their right to life and liberty.
In the session "Empowering Youth Voices through Eco-Schools USA," learn how a local school in Portland, Oregon, empowers preK–12 students to take sustainable action in their communities through place-based authentic learning, using the National Wildlife Federation’s Eco-Schools USA program. Participants will learn how to empower students with an equity focus and will be able to practice how to monitor environmental impact through a student-led sustainability audit.