RCE Greater Portland - 2019

Empowering Students for Environmental Justice: A Train-the-Trainer Workshop
Basic Information
Title of project : 
Empowering Students for Environmental Justice: A Train-the-Trainer Workshop
Submitting RCE: 
RCE Greater Portland
Contributing organization(s) : 
Greater Portland Sustainability Education Network (GPSEN)
Portland State University
Portland Community College District Student Council
Focal point(s) and affiliation(s)
Kim Smith
Organizational Affiliation: 
Kevin Thomas
Organizational Affiliation: 
Portland State University
Christian Gaines
Organizational Affiliation: 
Portland Community College District Student Council
Format of project: 
Guidebook and PowerPoint
Language of project: 
Date of submission:
Tuesday, May 21, 2019
PCC Eco Social Justice Initiative
At what level is the policy operating?: 
GPSEN Train-the-Trainer Workshop Series
At what level is the policy operating?: 
Geographical & Education Information
United States
Greater Portland, Oregon
Address of focal point institution for project: 
GPSEN - Kim Smith
PCC Sylvania SS 201
12000 SW 49th Ave.
Portland, OR 97219 USA
Target Audience:
Socioeconomic and environmental characteristics of the area : 
Greater Portland is known as one of the greenest metropolitan areas in the United States. Yet our green reputation does not mean the region is free of challenges. In fact, we struggle in at least four major areas of sustainable development: environment, education, economics, and equity. With water and air pollution, struggling schools facing tightening budgets, unemployment, and racial discrimination and inequities, we recognize the need to collaborate to address these challenges.
Description of sustainable development challenge(s) in the area the project addresses: 
As the final workshop in our train-the-trainer series, we wanted to focus on environmental and social justice (SDG #16) and the need to scale up capacity building to train more educators to address this critical issue in our region (SDG #4). We have a long history of racism in our region and we hope we can help bridge the tensions between the environmental movement and social justice movement.
February, 2019
In these times of accelerating change, environmental crises, and social injustices, we are bombarded with negative news that can numb and overwhelm the spirit. How can we build hope and resilience? How can we face climate change? What can we do to address injustice? This three-part series of train-the-trainer workshops transformed the expertise of scholars in eco-psychology, social justice, and community organizing into powerful curriculum and training modules that provide participants with the educational background and practical strategies and tools to not only cultivate the hope and resilience needed for their own well-being, but also to gain valuable resources to become change agents and facilitate collective impact in their own communities.

Through partnerships with Portland Community College, the Greater Portland Sustainablity Education Network, and local experts from Portland State University and beyond, these workshops have tapped into a deep community need and have really modeled our motto: "Educate ~ Empower ~ Engage."
1) Educate at least 25 students per train-the-trainer sustainability education workshop.
2) Promote attitudes and behaviors that build awareness, empathy and community responsibility.
3) Empower participants to have the ability to address and engage in social change.
4) Develop training skills that allow participants to:
* understand the history of environmental and social justice issues
* consider issues of environmental ethics and how to navigate conflicting values and diverse experiences
* nurture community-organizing skills to engage in their communities
5) Increase understanding of local and international sustainability issues
6) Establish partnerships and network-building to increase collective impact.
Activities and/or practices employed: 
February, 2019: Applied for PCC District Student Council funding
March, 2019: Received $2,200 in District Student Council funds to develop our “Empowering Students For Environment Justice” workshop. We conducted a Call for Proposals for Trainers and hired Kevin Thomas to develop the workshop and guidebook.
April, 2019: Kevin Thomas co-created the curriculum with GPSEN workshop planning team. Committee conducted outreach to students across the College Network and within the community. Kim Smith helped organize training logistics, including registration, catering, and printing.
May 17, 2019: Hosted district-wide Environmental Justice training. Guidebooks, resource lists, and flashdrives were provided to participants, so they can conduct trainings in their own communities.
May, 2019: Evaluate training and submit report.
Size of academic audience: 
32 registered; 23 attended workshop
The environmental justice workshop provided a valuable addition to our train-the-trainer workshop series. Participants learned the history of environmental racism and significant actions policy-makers and activists have taken over the years, with particular emphasis on Native American and African American experiences. We plan to continue to revise the workshop to integrate more activities and discussions about privilege and justice.

We will make this workshop available as we have done with our Strategies for Hope and Resilience workshop and Facing Climate Change workshop, which have been offered to 45 Oregon Department of Environmental Quality employees, 45 participants at an AASHE presentation, 9 participants at a pre-conference workshop at AASHE, and an abbreviated workshop offered at the 2017 Global RCE conference, in Japan, with over 50 people attending and many asking if they could replicate the training. Requests continue to offer each of the workshops again, pending funding for printing and meals.

Lessons learned: 
1) It is essential to work closely with trainers to co-create curricula that meet shared learning objectives and offer interactive activities throughout the training.
2) We recommend not depending too heavily on films and increasing time for discussions.
3) Increase incentives for students who register for trainings to attend. Attrition rates can be disturbing, so it might help to charge for participation vs. offering workshops for free.
4) Collaborate with student clubs and student service centers to increase engagement and co-fund trainings.
Key messages: 
Learning about environmental, social, and economic sustainability issues can be overwhelming, especially when trying to solve pressing problems. This “train-the-trainer” workshop lets participants deconstruct environmental justice issues, gain resources and leadership skills to address these issues, and receive tools to engage in their communities to scale up their impact.
Relationship to other RCE activities: 
Our Train-the-Trainer workshop series is a core component to our RCE College Network and efforts to empower and mobilize youth. We also use the workshops to offer trainings in our communities to advance teacher and industry trainings. Our RCE has made a concerted effort to focus on social justice and diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, including having our Board Members participate in community cohort trainings, so that we can be more reflective and effective.
To develop, coordinate, and facilitate these workshops, Portland Community College District Student Council funds paid $6,000 to create our “Strategies for Hope and Resilience” and “Facing Climate Change” workshops and $2,200 for our “Empowering Students for Environmental Justice” workshop.
Expenses included:
• Stipends ($1,000 each) for three experts to create the curriculum and training materials for the “Strategies for Hope and Resilience”, “Facing Climate Change”, and “Empowering Students for Environmental Justice” workshops
• Honoraria ($100-250) to lead 4 to 6-hour trainings
• Create and print materials for all participants, with guidebooks and flashdrives ($300)
• Lunch and refreshments ($350/per workshop)
• Operational costs ($600) to coordinate logistics for registration, printing, catering, and the trainings, with 45 hours in staff time
• College Network volunteers helped identify learning objectives, sought trainers, supported outreach, facilitated event-planning, and organized assessment tools, with 30 hours in volunteer time.


File Name Caption for picture Photo Credit
Image icon Workshop Photo 1.jpg (500.82 KB) Workshop Discussion K. Smith
Image icon Kevin Thomas Agreements.jpg (302.75 KB) Community Agreements K. Smith
Image icon Environmental Justice image.JPG (61.52 KB) Environmental Justice Wordle K. Smith
References and reference materials: 
UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
(https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs) and other themes of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)
SDG 3 - Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages 
SDG 4 - Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all 
SDG 16 - Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels 
SDG 17 - Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development 
Traditional Knowledge  
Curriculum Development 
Global Action Programme (GAP) on Education for Sustainable Development – Priority Action Areas
Priority Action Area 3 - Building capacities of educators and trainers 
Priority Action Area 4 - Empowering and mobilizing youth 
Priority Action Area 5 - Accelerating sustainable solutions at local level