Students vie for $1 million at SCUSD Project Green event
Blue-ribbon panel of local experts will judge student proposals for making campuses more sustainable

Press release

May 21, 2013 (Sacramento):  Thirteen student “green teams” from the Sacramento City Unified School District will showcase projects to make their campuses greener and more sustainable at SCUSD’s second annual Project Green Showcase on Thursday (May 23).

Viable projects are in line for $1 million in Measure Q bond money set aside for green school initiatives. Measure Q was approved by Sacramento voters in November.

“Our Project Green is a one-of-a-kind project nationwide,” says SCUSD’s Center for Green Schools Fellow Farah McDill. “When I tell people that Sacramento City Unified is allowing students to make decisions about capital improvements to green their school they are amazed. This is truly a unique venture and one that these students will gain from now and for the rest of their lives.”

Also on Thursday, SCUSD will release a 2013 Sustainability Report about the district’s successful efforts to make schools healthier and reduce costs through strategic upgrades and improvements. The report was created in collaboration with the U.S. Green Building Council. The report’s findings include:
• Since SCUSD began tracking utility usage in 2008, the district has saved 16,078,059 kilowatt hours of electricity, resulting in $1,144,620 of avoided costs.
• In that same time frame, the district has saved 299,545 therms (100 cubic feet) of gas, resulting in $1,685,094 of avoided costs.
• The majority of seasonal produce purchased by SCUSD’s Nutrition Services department are grown or produced within 200 miles of the district which supports local Farm to School efforts.
• School gardens are actively maintained at 36 of the 82 district schools.

Reducing energy costs is one of the goals of Project Green. Under the program, campuses across the district form student “green teams” supported by parents and staff and charged with conducting “green audits” of facilities. The teams work with district and local professionals to draft recommendations for improvements ranging from replacing outdated windows to installing water-wise plumbing fixtures.

Students will present their recommendations to a panel of experts representing local non-profits that focus on creating healthy sustainable learning environments at Thursday’s event. Project Green is spearheaded by McDill. SCUSD is one of only two school districts in the country to be awarded a fully-funded Green Schools Fellow by the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council.

“Not only are we encouraging our students to think deeply about making our community a better place in the future, we are providing them with the funds to take their projects from concept to reality,” said SCUSD Superintendent Jonathan Raymond. “This ‘real-world application’ has added excitement and encouraged buy-in from kids.”

Schools participating in Project Green are:
A.M. Winn Elementary
Crocker/Riverside Elementary
H.W. Harkness Elementary
Isador Cohen Elementary
Sutterville Elementary
Washington Elementary (on behalf of Sutter Middle School)
Fern Bacon Middle School
American Legion High School
Health Professions High School
School of Engineering and Sciences
Luther Burbank High School
C.K. McClatchy High School
McClaskey Adult Education Center

WHAT:                 SCUSD’s second annual Project Green Showcase
WHEN:                 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 23
WHERE:               Phoebe Hearst Elementary School
                                1410 60th St., Sacramento, CA 95819