Universities to Offer Green, LEED Courses


Recently, two universities highlighted new course offerings designed to promote sustainability and a variety of green building practices.

The courses arrive as a means of battling climate change.

Southern Miss

According to the University of Southern Mississippi’s student newspaper, Student Printz, the university hosts its own student chapter of the United States Green Building Council. Most commonly known for its variety of LEED programs, the USGBC is now helping students within Southern Miss’ School of Construction and Design become a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (or LEED) Green Associate.

“The main point of the club is to just get construction kids to realize that green building is a thing cause we don’t have any classes about it in our program,” said Chapter President, Claude Schaller. “USGBC can be the first step to them [students in the School of Construction and Design] getting into sustainability, getting into green building.”

After spending a few months in an officially credited LEED program, students can receive the LEED Associate certification by taking the LEED Green Associate exam. The exam itself consists of 100 multiple-choice questions, and, depending on your USGBC membership and schooling status, can cost anywhere from $100 to $250.

Southern Miss reports that the LEED chapter helps students with exam prep and aims to inform others about the program.

“For no other reason than to have people have education about the importance of greenhouse gases [and] sustainability… [of] course I think it’ll be good to put on their resume when they go look for a job,” said Professor Leffi Cewe-Malloy, an LEED Accredited Professional and the Architectural Engineering Technology Program Coordinator.

While the exam is commonly taken by students majoring in construction and design, licensure majors can also receive a LEED certification through the Green Classroom Professional program.

USGBC’s reports on its website that, “The Green Classroom Professional certificate provides foundational knowledge of green building and the LEED green building rating system in the context of a school setting.” 

The certification gives preference to teachers and faculty in K-12 schools, but it is open to anyone interested in new sustainability practices. It also provides a brief and condensed version of the material for the LEED Green Associate, which can be further expanded upon if someone wants to obtain a full certification.

“The LEED Green Associate is a foundational credential and for many it is the first step before earning advanced credentials such as the LEED AP with specialty,” USGBC adds.


Also announcing a new program just last month, the University of California, Los Angeles’ Samueli School of Engineering reports that it is now offering a New Green Building LEED Lab course.

Reportedly, the yearlong program focuses on sustainable-building design and provides a pathway toward obtaining professional certification, thanks to collaborative efforts between student engineering club Bruin Home Solutions (BHS) and UCLA faculty and staff.

“The 'LEED Lab' course will follow the program developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and offer team-oriented, project-based and hands-on learning. It will provide practical instead of theoretical experience in developing building design,” wrote the university.

Throughout the program, teams of students from a variety of disciplines will work with UCLA building case studies in order to obtain an understanding of the green-building certification process.

“For students interested in green-building design, they’ll be ahead of the game when they go into the industry,” said Tsandi Chen, a returning graduate student studying structural engineering who is the BHS LEED Lab coordinator and a co-instructor of its LEED Green Associate class. “Not only will they stand out, but this is what they need to pivot toward as they make an impact in green-building design. It gets them thinking early on in their career about how to challenge the norms of design.”

At the end of the program, like observed at Southern Miss, students will take a final exam which involves a practice exam for the LEED Green Associate accreditation.

LEED Lab is part of UCLA’s ongoing initiatives to support sustainable practices on campus.


Tagged categories: Certifications and standards; Colleges and Universities; Design - Commercial; Education; Good Technical Practice; Green building; LEED; NA; North America; United States Green Building Council (USGBC)

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