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Laney College Adopts USGBC LEED Curriculum

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Students and faculty know a good bet when they hear it – just ask students of the Peralta Community College District and one of its campuses, Laney College, about the Center for Green Schools. That is a program of the U.S. Green Building Council (USBGC) offering students in California, Washington and New York the opportunity to get accreditation as a Green Associate (GA) in USGBC Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).  

Peralta Community College District has a fairly ambitious campus sustainability policy, including an exemplary curriculum around food systems, career technology and building sciences. In fact, Peralta is leading the National Science Foundation’s Building Efficiency for a Sustainable Tomorrow (BEST) Center grant of $4million under the leadership of Laney College Dean Crabtree. 

But to truly make a campus a living lab where projects are petri dishes for learning, career pathways and jobs, you need students and faculty to lead the way.   

Extension of Community College Initiative
As part of its community college initiative, Emerald Cities Oakland had already been in partnership with Laney for three years. So it was a natural extension of that work to partner on the LEED program with ECC board member USGBC. Most recently, EC Oakland, with key support of Laney teachers Kelle McMahon and John Shurtz, succeeded in enrolling student Marisol ZavalaSuarez in the new LEED student program. 

Within weeks of the program’s official status, more than 100 students enrolled via the online platform -- second only to Harvard University. Three months from the program’s kick-off, students had completed the online courses and participated in weekly student/faculty study groups (while many worked full time jobs), and a small group of those students signed up to take the Green Associate exam. They have one year to prepare for the exam and can take it up to three times. 

“We congratulate the 10 Laney Students who passed the LEED exam on their first try and now have a professional credential that differentiates them as leaders in sustainability,” said EC Oakland Local Director Tara Marchant. “We look forward to more students passing the next exam in the fall semester. Go Students! Go Faculty! We know there is more ​success to come!”  

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