The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced that architect, educator and social change activist Emmanuel Pratt will keynote the opening plenary for its annual Green Schools Conference & Expo (GSCE). GSCE is the only national event to bring together all the players involved in making green schools a reality: people who lead, operate, build and teach in U.S. schools. GSCE is produced in partnership between the Center for Green Schools at USGBC and the Green Schools National Network.

This year, GSCE is co-locating with USGBC’s IMPACT conference, the Midwest’s leading event focused on sustainable development. GSCE + IMPACT will be held in St. Paul, Minn., from April 8-9, 2019 and registration is currently open.

“Emmanuel’s work to reinvigorate communities through urban agriculture, art and education is inspiring to those working in education and green building alike,” said Anisa Heming, director of the Center for Green Schools at USGBC. “His efforts to advance social justice through regenerative development that benefits all people aligns with our mission to make sure that all children learn and grow in safe, healthy and sustainable places.”

Pratt is co-founder and executive director of the Sweet Water Foundation, a Chicago-based organization that transforms vacant spaces and abandoned buildings into economically and ecologically productive and sustainable community assets. Pratt’s professional and academic work has involved explorations and investigations in such topics as architecture, urbanization, race and identity, and gentrification. Most recently he has focused on advancing community economic development through food security and sustainable design. Pratt was a 2017 Loeb Fellow and is currently a visiting lecturer at Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan.

As the largest conference for green schools advocates in the country, GSCE offers an opportunity for attendees to learn creative strategies that support healthy, sustainable schools. With a unique focus on occupant and student engagement, health in the built environment, waste management and energy conservation, education sessions at GSCE are relevant for industry leaders working across sectors. Co-locating with the IMPACT conference, both events will bring together a powerful group of advocates and professionals dedicated to creating a more sustainable world. IMPACT is the largest green building conference and expo in the Midwest and attracts building professionals, sustainability leaders and change makers from across the region to learn about LEED and the latest green building trends. Industry professionals attending IMPACT can enhance their understanding of the K-12 school buildings sector by also attending GSCE.

Also speaking at the joint conference is renowned climate-change photographer Zaria Forman, USGBC president and CEO Mahesh Ramanujam and public opinion researcher David Bluestone of ClearPath Strategies. Attendees will also participate in education sessions led by acclaimed scholars and practitioners in both the education and green building industry. The co-location of the two conferences will bring together experts from diverse industries within the green building world for a unique opportunity of collaboration and networking.

The GSCE program and the IMPACT program are now available online. To register for the event please visit the GSCE/IMPACT website.