While our world continues to shift, our values remain the same. GPSEN joins our community in this moment of collective processing and change, as we remind ourselves of the power of networks and the strengths that keep our communities alive and functioning in these turbulent times. We recognize the hardship that many community members are facing, with cancellations or postponements of programs, work, and events, including our own signature event – our Sustainability Symposium.
As the newly-elected GPSEN Board President, I will consider ways that we can support our volunteer-run organization, managed and run by our Executive Director, Board Members, and committee members whose passion for sustainability education guides our events, projects, research, and commitments to our organization’s mission.
As a regionally-oriented non-profit and part of the Global RCE Network, we are reminded of the international nature of our changing landscape and the evidence of how the world has been connected and will continue to be connected throughout time. As many people from around the world process these painful and scary times, we look internally at our values and community and how those can guide the ways in which we stay engaged, as we work and live remotely from each other. Recognizing the grounding and resilient nature of community in all circumstances has been a source of inspiration and hope for me personally. We value the compassionate community members and civic leaders that have created resources for helping neighbors around the greater Portland area – from financial support and mutual aid networks to online entertainment and social resources (including free virtual museum tours, shared live performances, and on-line educational platforms). As an organization that emphasizes the collective impact of our “network” framework within our title and mission – we encourage and will engage in ways that emphasize how community support is a foundational element of our work and our future.
I am humbled and grateful to enter my new role as GPSEN’s Board President. During this time where reflection, flexibility, and adaptability are key, I have found inspiration, support, and dedication as a keystone to our organization’s community foundation. Our motto: “Educate ~ Empower ~ Engage” can serve as a model for ways in which community members can navigate challenges and social isolation: access quality learning tools; recognize that we do matter and can make a difference; and identify tangible steps for taking action. May we all discover pathways to support feelings of connections, joy and hope during this complex time.
GPSEN Board President
Online communities and activities:
Mutual aid networks, in Portland: