Green Team Celebrates 20 Years with Big Plans for 2020-2021
As the Green Team (Mercersburg's student-driven environmental organization) celebrates its 20th anniversary this academic year, Green Team leaders have been preparing for big plans, and we have one notable partnership that we are truly excited to announce. When we arrived on campus this fall, one of the biggest goals we had for the organization was to finish projects all the way through. Last year, many of our campus events, destined to occur in the spring, fell through as we were stuck at home due to the pandemic. Now that we are back, we want to ensure that our plans really make it through this year, and so far, we have completed quite a bit in just one term.
First, we would like to announce our exciting partnership with the newly founded National Climate High School Forum, and we just wrapped up our first event. During the fall, student leaders at the Lawrenceville School in New Jersey contacted us with an idea. They proposed creating an environmental forum composed of high schools across the United States, and they wanted us to join their newly formed organization. Excited for the possibilities of this forum, the other leaders and I decided to have the Green Team join, and we met with the Lawrenceville student leaders to discuss planning and how we could assist with the growth and outreach of the program.
One of the major goals that the Green Team has for this partnership is to foster the sharing of ideas and messages concerning environmental sustainability across the country. What a lot of high school clubs struggle with—the Green Team included—is outreach, which often cannot go further than their local communities. As a result, we believe this forum will help high school environmental organizations across the country learn more about environmental issues and share ideas for outreach efforts. The National High School Climate Forum’s first event, which took place Wednesday, December 9, at 6:30 p.m. ET, provided an inside look at one of the world’s most pressing climate issues: wildfires. This first webinar event featured Steven Miller, the eastern regional director of the U.S. Forest Service’s Fire and Aviation Management Department and one of the board members for the International Association of Wildland Fire. This event was open to members of the Mercersburg community, and it went very well.
Aside from this partnership, the Green Team has a slew of past and upcoming plans for the year. During the fall term, we worked hard designing posters around campus which would help students and faculty recycle more of their meal containers. As we transitioned into indoor dining, we worked with the dining hall staff to re-implement similar post-meal food and tableware recycling procedures that occurred in previous years. Our hope in these endeavors is to advocate for reducing, reusing, and recycling, particularly as it pertains to our eating and waste habits.
In addition to our work on campus, we have also begun our yearly engagement with the local elementary school, which we call Project E.D.E.N. The project consists of a fundraiser for students and faculty which funds our purchase of LED lightbulbs and a visit to Mercersburg Elementary School where we give a presentation to a group of 4th and 5th graders on the importance of environmental sustainability and climate change. These students then receive an LED lightbulb to take home with them. While we couldn’t complete the project last year due to the pandemic, our team stressed the importance of maintaining our relationship with the school, and we wanted to get this project off the ground earlier, potentially opening up new opportunities for us in the spring for other events.
Around the middle of the term, Green Team members worked in small groups to create short presentational videos on a variety of environmental topics ranging from electricity consumption to fossil fuels. These short videos, which feature a number of Green Team members, will hopefully work to both entertain and inform the elementary students that we share these videos with. In January, we plan to meet virtually with the school and present our videos to the students as a temporary replacement for our in-person visit. Just before leaving for Thanksgiving break, the Green Team also completed the fundraiser portion of Project E.D.E.N., where we sold metal straws and commemorative 20th anniversary Green Team T-shirts purchased from a local printing establishment. This fundraiser was very successful, garnering support from almost a quarter of our on-campus community.
As we plan for the rest of the year, the Green Team hopes to finish Project E.D.E.N. strongly and run our two annual eco-dorm conservation challenges, one for electricity and another for water. It has been a fantastic year so far, and we can’t wait to be back and continue working with the Green Team members to grow environmental awareness. We hope that the Green Team remains an important part of Mercersburg and continues to thrive on campus under the guidance of Mr. Willis, whose work has given the Green Team the opportunity to be a larger part of the Mercersburg community. As we like to conclude all our Green Team meetings and announcements, let me just say, “Go, Green Team!”