FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Students Joined by Policy Leaders for Mock Session at Rhode Island State House

Interactive Session Provides Hands-On Experience in Citizenship & Sustainability

PROVIDENCE, RI – MAY 24, 2018—Rhode Island students and policy leaders attended a Mock Legislative Session yesterday at the State House presented by Project Green Schools, Rhode Island Department of Education and the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce. The interactive session gave middle and high school students hands-on experience with the legislative process to inspire the next generation of engaged citizens and environmental leaders.

“We are so glad to be back at the Rhode Island State House to give students a chance to discuss solutions to real-world sustainability issues in a policy setting,” said Robin Organ, Executive Director of Project Green Schools. “On behalf of Project Green Schools, I would like to thank Leader Joe Shekarchi for sponsoring this event as well as our Mock Session leader, Representative Susan Donovan, and all of today’s participants for facilitating such a thought provoking conversation on policies that can help achieve a healthier planet for all living things.”

Students learned about one energy policy and one food policy topic as a prelude to the debate. Commissioner Carol Grant of the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources presented background on “An Act Relating to Public Utilities And Carriers-The Energy And Consumer Savings Act Of 2005” (2018-H-7828). Sue AnderBois, Director of Food Strategy for the State of Rhode Island, together with Diane Calvin, Executive Director foodSCAPE then introduced the topic of “Increasing Participation in Food Programs,” which pertains to issues being considered by Governor Raimondo’s Hunger Elimination Task Force.

Students took turns using Representatives’ microphones in the House Chamber to comment on both issues before Representative Susan Donovan, who moderated the Mock Session, called for a vote. Students voted by an overwhelming majority (33-2) to enact both measures.

“It has long been said that we do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children. I’m grateful to these young environmental activists for their contributions to the efforts to protect our environment, and for the work they will do as leaders in the future. It gives me hope to see energized, involved young people who understand the critical importance of protecting our planet and who will work with steadfast commitment to make the changes we need now and in the future.” –-Rep. Susan R. Donovan (D-Dist. 69, Bristol, Portsmouth)

“It’s an honor to welcome the environmental leaders of the future to the State House. Young people and kids have always been on the leading edge of adopting and pushing for more sustainable habits at home, and advocating for policies that protect the environment for the long term. We need their dedication, their energy and their fresh perspectives and ideas to keep our society moving toward sustainability.”-House Majority Leader K. Joseph Shekarchi (D-Dist. 23, Warwick)

The event also provided students with the opportunity to tour the State House and gather for a meet and greet with business and policy officials. Remarks were also made by Joseph da Silva, Rhode Island School Building Authority, and Paul DeRoche, Senior Vice President of Government Relations for the Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce.

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Project Green Schools (http://projectgreenschools.org) is developing the next generation of environmental leaders through hands-on, project-based, solutions-based learning, community service and action for students K-12. Students work at the intersection of STEM meets energy, environment and public health, while developing sustainable solutions, soft skills, as well as college and career readiness.

Students and Policy Leaders gather for Project Green Schools’ 2018 Mock Session at the Rhode Island State House.
Robin Organ, Executive Director of Project Green Schools, welcomes students in the House Chamber to begin the Mock Session.
Commissioner of the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources, Carol Grant, provides background on an Energy Policy for students to debate.