It takes an entire community to become ecOSchool
What is ecOSchool? “Green” is a buzz word everywhere these days. It started as a concept many years ago but was often seen as a label for the extreme environmental movement. However, times have changed and today “green” has entered our everyday conversations and lifestyles as a sustainable and acceptable way of living. Instead of using the word “green” we have adopted the word “ecOSchool,” incorporating Oldfields into our mission, in order to describe all of our environmental choices here on campus.
The ecOSchool choices we have made so far this school year include a complete recycling program, placing plants in classrooms and public spaces to reduce air pollution, a community organic garden, painted light switch plates in classrooms encouraging energy conservation, “Remember These Come from Trees” stickers on all paper towel dispensers, and water conservation efforts. These eco-choices are led by a newly formed EcoTeam as well as the student run Environmental Club.
The EcoTeam is made up of fifteen faculty and staff members as well as two student representatives. The EcoTeam’s goals revolve around leading Oldfields towards becoming a sustainable and environmentally aware community. The EcoTeam meets bimonthly in order to talk about new projects, review past projects, and sustain our membership as a certified Maryland Green School . The two student representatives help us with student perspectives, input, and they are a liaison between the EcoTeam and the student body. Our two students discuss environmental news in the morning meeting, write articles about eco-activities on campus for our website, and help with the community recycling program.
As adults it is easy to take control of a school program or new initiative because we want projects done quickly. However, ecOSchool does not revolve around one individual, but instead depends on the benefits of working together as a community. In order for our Oldfields students to take ownership of the direction of ecOSchool, they must be involved in creating new programs and making their own changes in their lives. Leading the way for the student efforts is the Environmental Club.
The student driven Environmental Club has ten enthusiastic participants this school year. The club has been creating community awareness about the recycling program as well as encouraging students to make smart decisions regarding reducing, reusing, and recycling. The club found effective ways of educating the community on our environmental happenings by way of slide shows at Morning Meeting and bulletin boards on campus. Student involvement is absolutely essential therefore we have been busy collecting student opinions since the beginning of the year.
Overall it appears that the community truly has embraced ecOSchool and many are leading by example when it comes to taking care of our environment. We are proud of the accomplishments and leadership roles many of the students have taken in our community as a result of ecOSchool.