Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon


students fishing

Credit: Oregon Environmental Literacy Plan

GPSEN envisions a healthy, just, and thriving region where sustainability education is prioritized and integrated across sectors; and where everyone has opportunities to shape a more sustainable future.


GPSEN connects diverse organizations in a collaborative network that multiplies our collective capacity to educate for a more sustainable future.


We are committed to creating a progressive, egalitarian governance model that reflects our values, supports collaboration among our partners, identifies committee structures and pathways that facilitate implementation of our objectives, distributes authority and decision-making across the network, and honors the volunteer efforts of our members. Click here to learn more about our structure and policies and review meeting minutes.


Sustainability: We embrace practices that support care for self, care for each other, and care for Earth. We commit to using a systems-based approach that honors interdependence, nurtures meaningful relationships and networks, and fosters synergies, allowing our communities, environment, and economies to thrive.

Inclusive participation: We commit to living our values by working together to ensure a resilient and thriving Greater Portland, both now and into the future. This involves respect for diversity of all ages and generations, nationalities, educational levels, and socioeconomic groups. We value and draw from the knowledge and wisdom of all participants, locally and globally, and recognize that expertise comes from lived experience. All voices must be involved, welcomed, and fully heard to create a community that is not only sustainable but also flourishing.

Equity and Environmental Justice: We promote equity and social and environmental justice, in order to help create healthy, vibrant, and thriving communities. Inequities must be honestly examined so that environmental, social, and economic benefits and burdens are shared in fair and equitable ways.

Transparency and Accountability: We commit to being open and honest in our governance and practices, providing access to our records, creating feedback loops for improvement, and modeling true learning as an organization, through our mistakes and successes.

Innovation:  We value and invest in visionary processes, technologies, and solutions-based strategies that empower lifelong learners to critically examine the foundations of social issues and engage in their communities. Through innovation, dialogue, resource sharing, community-based research and transformative, lifelong learning, we will offer avenues to help develop local and global solutions.

Goals and Objectives

We define sustainability to include social, economic, and environmental dimensions that promote healthy, just, and thriving communities where education for sustainable development (ESD) is prioritized and integrated across sectors and where everyone has opportunities to shape a more sustainable future.

Goal 1

Build a vibrant and diverse regional cross-sector network of individuals and organizations advancing sustainability education together.

  • Objective A.  Establish partnerships that facilitate inclusive and diverse collaborations across traditional and non-traditional lines
  • Objective B. Convene regular events where everyone is welcome to discuss and share ideas related to ESD and social equity issues
  • Objective C.  Share research and innovative practices in sustainability education to promote partnerships, learning, and advancements in ESD across the region
  • Objective D.  Model sustainable, innovative, cooperative, and inclusive practices and processes across sectors and emulate our values within the RCE organization

Goal 2

Advance the development of lifelong sustainability learning opportunities in formal, non-formal, and informal contexts.

  • Objective A.  Develop and provide easy access to an array of ESD information and resources through our regional online center of ESD information
  • Objective B.  Create and promote ESD programming and curriculum that meet the needs and skill sets of a wide audience
  • Objective C.  Create and support opportunities for ESD capacity-building and workforce development 
  • Objective D.  Identify and secure funding sources to support resource development and staff capacity to achieve the mission of the RCE

Goal 3.

Increase public awareness about regional sustainability issues and the role of ESD in shaping a healthy, just, and thriving future

  • Objective A. Develop and implement outreach strategies that raise public awareness and increase involvement in ESD
  • Objective B. Create opportunities for public dialogue on ESD policies and issues

Goal 4.

Support capacity building to develop Citizen Leaders who will steward our region for generations to come.

  • Objective A. Develop leadership opportunities
  • Objective B. Create and promote ESD service-learning projects

These efforts are also guided by UNESCO's Global Action Programme (GAP) on ESD [pdf] which focuses on 5 Priority Action Areas:

  1. Advancing policy: Mainstream ESD
  2. Transforming learning and training environments: Whole-Institution Approach
  3. Building capacities of educators and trainers
  4. Empowering and mobilizing youth
  5. Accelerating sustainable solutions at local level

Examples of Projects

Building the cob salmon bench at the Village Building Convergence (VBC)
  • Innovative cross-sector partnerships and projects that support transformative education and research
  • Outreach through website, listserv, and newsletter
  • ESD resource catalogue, with curricula, research, literature, professional development providers, and program evaluation tools
  • Professional development opportunities and summits for ESD students, educators, and providers
  • Events and opportunities for networking, idea-sharing, and policy discussions
  • Community projects and service-learning
  • Public awareness and outreach campaigns

For more details, check out our Annual Report 2014.

For Frequently Asked Questions, go to GPSEN/RCE FAQs.