Greater Portland Sustainability Education Network






Our Mission

GPSEN connects diverse organizations in a collaborative network that multiplies our collective capacity to educate, empower, and engage each other to help create a healthy, just, and thriving region where education for sustainability is prioritized and integrated across sectors and everyone has opportunities to shape a sustainable future.


Acknowledged as a Regional Center of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development by United Nations University, in 2013, we serve Clackamas, Clark, Multnomah, and Washington counties in Oregon and Washington. 

As a multi-sector network of educators, students, non-profits, political and industry leaders, civic organizations, and community members, we welcome the engagement of all who feel called to make a difference through the power of collective impact and education for sustainable development.

Our Values



Systems-based approach focused on people, planet, prosperity, peace, and partnership


Environmental Justice and Equity

Creating and honoring diverse, healthy, and thriving communities


Inclusive Participation

Working together to ensure and engage a resilient and vibrant region


Transformative Learning

Varying ways of teaching, learning, and knowing



Visionary processes, technologies, and solutions-based strategies


Transparency and Accountability

Open and honest in our governance and practices

Strategic Priorities and Highlights

  • Educational programs, such as our Sustainability Symposium and Train-the-Trainer Workshops
  • Developing partnerships and co-hosting community events
  • Engaging community members in networking opportunities
  • Fostering leadership skills through our Youth and College Networks
  • Promoting events, resources, and outreach campaigns via our online GPSEN Regional Hub, newsletter, and social media
  • Encouraging professional development with our GPSEN Interns and Fellows programs, including via collaborative research projects and our Think Tank
  • Mapping and connecting organizations, groups, and businesses to ESD efforts and the SDGs
  • Aligning governance with local, regional, national, and international sustainability initiatives, including the Sustainable Development Goals.


Review a summary of our 2019-2022 Strategic Plan.


Collective action and collaboration

In addition to our Board of Directors and Executive Director, GPSEN’s accomplishments are achieved by our four core committees, with teams of working group members, GPSEN Fellows, interns, and volunteers: 

  • Governance
  • Outreach & Communications
  • Research & Curriculum
  • Programs & Events

We recognize and celebrate the many efforts and accomplishments of GPSEN and our many partners and volunteers.


Review a summary of our 2019-2020 Achievements.

To get involved in GPSEN, please click here.



Years in Operation


Global RCEs

Frequently Asked Questions:

How does GPSEN define sustainability?
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.
What is Sustainable Development?
One of the most widely cited definitions of sustainable development is “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” This definition was first provided by the World Commission on Environment and Development in its 1987 report to the United Nations General Assembly. The report was called “Our Common Future [pdf]” and is also known as the Brundtland Report.
What are Regional Centers of Expertise (RCEs) on Education for Sustainable Development?
An RCE is a network of organizations within a region that facilitate and deliver education for sustainable development (ESD) to local communities. The education may be formal (e.g., classroom), nonformal (e.g., educational arms of organizations), or informal (e.g., the media). The RCE program is a global initiative of United Nations University, designed originally to support the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014). As of August 2018, there were 165 RCEs worldwide.

Each RCE has four core elements:

  • Governance: addressing issues of RCE management and leadership
  • Collaboration: addressing the engagement of actors from all levels of formal, non-formal and informal education
  • Research and development: addressing the role of research and its inclusion in RCE activities, as well as contributing to the design of strategies for collaborative activities, including those with other
  • Transformative education: contributing to the transformation of the current education and training systems to satisfy ambitions of the region regarding sustainable living and livelihood.

Receive the latest opportunities and resources in sustainability education.

Our bi-monthly newsletter contains the latest updates to the Regional Hub and GPSEN programs.