Green With Benefits: Los Altos H.S. Ups The “Green” Ante
On Nov. 17, the Los Altos High School Green Team Conference attracted students from throughout the Bay Area. With the motto, “By high-schoolers, for high-schoolers”, the group Students for Green High Schools Conference created energy around a goal of “greening” up their school campuses.
Los Altos High School Green Team members initiated, organized and ran the conference. Seventy high school students from ten Bay Area schools gathered at Google to discuss best practices and challenges to achieve their “green” goal.
Members of the Los Altos High School Green Team leadership after their successful schools conference, including (from left to right): Bianca Champenois, Tatiana Gibson, Katia Gibson, Meredith Soward, Sruthi Jayakumar, and Roya Samani.
“The idea was to create a collaborative environment where students could share their success stories, ask questions, and find solutions to some of the key problems they face implementing green programs at their schools,” says LAHS Green Team Co-President Sruthi Jayakumar. “We wanted to use this platform as a way to allow students from across the Bay Area to raise their schools to a higher level of environmental sustainability and give them the tools they needed to make a difference.”
Following a welcome by the Green Team leadership and an icebreaker, student teams from four of the ten schools represented, shared their school’s green initiatives, highlighting what’s working and what’s not.
Successes include: • Los Altos High School – green team members hold monthly ABC (Anything But the Car) days to encourage getting to school by bike, public transit or on foot; • Mountain View High School – students effectively advocated for water bottle refilling stations on campus to reduce plastic water bottle usage; • Castilleja School’s – green team members motivated other students to care about proper waste sorting by creating a “Mace-o-Meter”, which indicates how happy or sad Mace — their much-loved custodian — is on any given day, based on how effective students were in sorting their waste into the correct bins. • St. Francis – students create a green tip of the day which is shared with the student body in daily school announcements.
Following presentations, participants broke out into two sets of themed focus groups, ranging from recycling and composting to community outreach and fundraising, before returning to their school groups and creating an action plan for next steps.And the conference delivered.
“We were very happy with how the conference turned out,” notes Jayakumar. “Many of the students told us that the things they learned were very relevant and helped them create better action plans for the future.”
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