The Whittier Miscellany

Engaging with our Environment

Friends%27++energy+usage+for+11-28-17
Friends'  energy usage for 11-28-17

Friends' energy usage for 11-28-17

Evie Kortanek

Evie Kortanek

Friends' energy usage for 11-28-17

Henry Wieman, Features Writer

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On November 15, in upper school business meeting, students discussed how to become a more eco-friendly school. Austin Sarker-Young ’22 proposed that the school become an Eco-School. The proposal involves building a committee of student and faculty members from lower, middle, and upper school that would be dedicated to implementing eco-friendly projects at Friends. Head of middle school, Jonathan Huxtable, commented, “We’re going to need to identify a project that we can undertake here on the grounds that would help further our sustainability efforts”.

Wilmington Friends already exhibits significant efforts in cultivating an environmentally-

friendly school community. The school has a rain garden by the west gym, solar panels, a green roof, and an organic garden. Huxtable also noted, “The fact that we are constantly thinking about sustainably is probably the most important thing we do.” The school works with parents, students, and faculty to inform them about clean energy, sustainability, and how every individual can help.

While it is important to recognize the school’s successful efforts, there is still much the community can improve upon with regards to sustainability. In addition to his proposal to become an eco-friendly school, Sarker-Young also suggested that the school builds a second rain garden by the main entrance to school. He elaborated that “[The rain garden] would help clear up the waterlogging in the front of the building.” However, that particular project is still under consideration. If approved, adding a rain garden is just a small way in which Friends could further help the environment, while also solving a problem on school grounds. As this Eco-committee develops, the Friends community looks forward to its new project ideas.

According to Sarker-Young, “The idea of creating more ways for the school to be more environmentally friendly is part of a larger plan to get a national certification, which is given by the National Wildlife Federation.” For the school to be certified, it must work through a series of seven steps, which would include forming the eco-action team that Sarker-Young is currently building, conducting an environmental audit, and creating a plan to monitor goals and improvements. This certification, which has been earned by St. Andrews and Ursuline, would likely increase interest in Wilmington Friends School. Considering all the work the school has already accomplished to be environmentally-conscious, there is little doubt that it will earn this certification if desired.

There already has been student interest and support for the project. Of the committee and its objectives, Madeline Messer ’21 said, “[The committee] sounds like a great idea; the school could use more eco-friendly projects.” If students are interested in becoming more active in this area, there are a few ways to get involved. For the most part, this committee will not affect the typical student’s daily schedule. If the proposal is approved, Sarker-Young says that there may be a kind of service day to help, but not much else. The club is only looking for several students from lower, middle, and upper school. If time doesn’t permit you to join the committee, feel free to make suggestions. Speak to Huxtable or Sarker-Young if interested in joining the committee, or if you would like to propose an idea.

Being environmentally friendly is very important to Wilmington Friends, and it is clear that the school actively seeks ways to enhance its efforts for sustainability. The Friends community looks forward to seeing the progression of this Eco-committee!

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