Advocacy and More at the Green Clean Schools National Summit

September 27, 2011

Recently, HSC brought together more than 50 advocates, cleaning manufacturers, distributors and national partners in Washington, D.C. for our fourth Green Clean Schools National Summit. The day gave participants a chance to network, share updates and stories, and plan for future efforts to promote green cleaning in schools around the country. 

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Andrea Falken, Acting Program Manager for the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools program and Kara Belle, Public Liaison for the U.S. EPA’s Office of Children’s Health Protection

At the summit, leaders in the green schools movement discussed recent efforts to promote national, state and local efforts to motivate schools to go green.

Participants heard about two exciting developments coming out of the federal government: the U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools Program, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s State School Environmental Health Guidelines.

The Green Ribbon Schools Program is a new awards program to recognize schools that are creating healthy and sustainable learning environments and teaching environmental literacy. The program is expected to launch this spring and we will continue to share updates. (To hear more about HSC's vision for the program, check out our recent blog.)

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Steve Ashkin, President of the Ashkin Group, LLC and Executive Director of the Green Cleaning Network

The U.S. EPA’s State Guidelines will be released this fall and are expected to help state agencies support schools as they implement programs to improve school environmental health.

Additional highlights from the day included:

  • Updates on green certification and labeling, with representatives from Green Seal, UL Environment, Design for the Environment, and Ecoform. The panel did a wonderful job discussing recent changes in green cleaning certification and labeling and the impact these changes can have in the school environment.
  • An update on state legislative efforts surrounding green cleaning. Carol Westinghouse, president of Informed Green Solutions, shared her recent efforts to pass green cleaning legislation in Vermont and HSC shared an overview of state green cleaning policies introduced in the last year. Nine states currently have green clean schools legislation and nearly 20 states have some type of policy – either a legislative initiative of an administrative rule – encouraging environmentally preferable purchasing or green cleaning.
  • Building support for green cleaning outside of legislation. The National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) discussed the upcoming publication of The Standard, NASBE’s journal, that will focus entirely on green cleaning and include articles on how to implement a green cleaning program, case studies of districts that have established successful programs, and guidelines for developing a green cleaning state policy. We think this publication will be an excellent tool for engaging state boards of education in the topic of green cleaning.

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Mark Petruzzi, Vice President of Certification and Strategic Relations for Green Seal and Libby Sommer, Environmental Scientist for the U.S. EPA Design for the Environment program

We look forward to working with our partners from the summit to promote federal, state and local efforts to support green and healthy school environments. Thank you to all of our speakers and participants for making the summit a successful, informative day!