The Green Ribbon Initiative (GRI) is a nationally recognized program that celebrates efforts made by schools to raise environmental awareness and literacy of their staff and students, promote healthy lifestyles, and reduce energy consumption. GRI awards may be given to PreK-12, private, and post-secondary institutions. Priority is given to those who score high on assessment rubric, with special consideration given to institutions serving disadvantaged student populations. This fall, Jenny and Mark joined the GRI committee for the Ohio Department of Education (ODE). They are now the primary reviewers of statewide applications, and also serve as liaisons between school and ODE officials.
As of 2018, at least 30 states are active in the GRI. Since its inception in 2011, approximately 488 applicants have been honored as a Green Ribbon School. Each state may submit up to five applicants, though many more may be reviewed. Once Jenny and Mark approve an application, it is passed along to members of the Ohio Department of Education, Ohio EPA, and Ohio Department of Health who conduct an additional review. Final selection is made at the federal level, and award honorees are invited to participate in a recognition ceremony in Washington DC.