By Lauren Cohen
We are living in a world filled with such polarization and disunity and yet what truly unites us is our planet, the place we call home. It may feel like this global problem is out of our hands, but the fact is that our school is cognizant of the dire situation and the need for change. While it may appear that small changes have no impact, it is those small efforts that truly make the largest difference. Oak Hall has made great strides to be part of this change. “We have a lot of work to do to put our world back on the right track environmentally,” stated Dr. James Hutchins, Oak Hall Head of School.
The school is working to implement sustainable policies including school-wide recycling programs, carbon-efficient LED lights, and water fixtures such as bathroom sinks and water fountains. “We consistently find ways to improve efficiency at our campus which saves money and works toward a more sustainable environment,” noted Mark Davis, Director of Maintenance. Students are strongly encouraged to recycle materials in the designated bins around campus. “I encourage students to use the recycle bins more,” Hutchins said. “I find a lot of recyclable material[s] on the ground and in the trash cans,” he continued.
“I also encourage students to carpool more and turn off water after they use it. We find a lot of faucets left running,” Hutchins added. There have been questions raised about the possibility of implementing sensor monitored sinks in restrooms throughout campus, but this would require a large upfront cost. Oak Hall has recognized the expense of many of these possible projects and is working to prioritize the needs of both the community and the planet. Considerations have been made about the possibility of building a full-service cafeteria on campus, which would prepare a number of healthy choices and would provide environmentally friendly silverware alternatives. With regards to building and remodeling on campus, the school has prioritized doing so in a way that considers vertical construction, two-story buildings that would significantly lower carbon emissions.
Oak Hall has taken the first steps in creating a more sustainable and environmentally friendly environment for all. I believe that we, as a school, should be working to open up dialogue on climate change. It is vital that we recognize the urgency of this issue and educate students on sustainability practices. It’s easy to not think about the degradation of our planet when we spend each day learning for our future. I encourage you to think about your impact on this earth and what you can do as an individual to create a sustainable environment. The future of this planet is in our hands, and with the help of the school community, we have the power to create change.