National Recognition for Green Schools

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The U.S. Department of Education recognized Jesuit High School, and Willamette High School as 2014 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools. This honor was bestowed to 48 high schools in the nation who reduces environmental impact and costs, improves the health and wellness of their school, and provides environmental education. The aim of U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools is to inspire schools, districts and Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) to strive for 21st century excellence, by highlighting exemplary practices and resources that all can employ.

Jesuit High School was nominated by the Oregon Department of Education and the Sustainable Oregon Schools Initiative. Jesuit High School became a Green School in November 2011. In 2013, Jesuit received the Oregon Pillar 3 award (Education for Sustainability). In 2014, Jesuit received the Oregon Pillar 1 Award (Environmental Impacts). Jesuit collects a wide variety of materials for recycling and strives to use durable dishware for faculty and staff. Jesuit also made great strides in the area of energy usage per student and alternative forms of transit. 

“We are thrilled to earn this high honor from the US Department of Education,” said Paul Hogan, Principal of Jesuit High School. “We are especially proud that our students and staff have changed our behavior and institutional practices in order to make a lighter imprint on the earth. Jesuit students recognize that sustainable human and natural development is a pressing existential issue, and they are determined to make a difference. We appreciate that the US Department of Education has recognized our efforts with the Green Ribbon Schools award. Our students want to be leaders of a healthier planet, and they plan to tread lightly as they make their path.” 

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Some of the activities which earned Willamette High School the honor include: collection of 2,000+ pounds of recycled material each week, use of paper towels that are EPA-certified 85 percent post-consumer waste, participation in the City of Eugene’s Love Food Not Waste commercial compost program, an annual community Recycle Round-Up, use of raised garden beds and hydroponic garden systems that serve as skills training for students, a student-led recycling effort incorporated into instructional program, and much more.

“I am excited to see the efforts of these and other schools around Oregon that are working to contribute to an environmentally and socially sustainable world,” said Sustainable Oregon Schools Initiative representative Lori Stole. “Whether schools approach sustainability by reducing energy, water, and resource use to minimize their environmental impact, by creating healthy school environments and encouraging physical activity and smart food choices, by integrating sustainability education into the curriculum including through real-world experiences, outdoor instruction and extracurricular activities, and/or by focusing on social sustainability and equity, the impacts can be huge. These schools are helping to inspire and empower the next generation to be stewards of our world.”

For further details about the Oregon Sustainable School Awards or the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School Awards visit www.sustainableschools.org or contact Lori Stole at lstole@sustainableschools.org