Enhancing student engagement in environmental stewardship
BY Libby Orr, Communications Manager, UWCSEA Foundation
UWCSEA is committed to developing the skills and qualities in students that are needed to build a more sustainable future - a future where practical environmental stewardship becomes a major part of every child's education.
A gift in 2015, through UWCSEA Foundation to create school-based Environmental Stewardship Coordinators has seen an increase in student engagement in dedicated environmental activities across the College. Over on Dover, Nicole Kutschenreuter, Gordon Hirons and Nathan Hunt have been working with the Junior, Middle and High School students. At East, Kath Lane and Adam Erickson are engaging students from across the Campus.
At Dover Junior School, Nicole has been training the grade 5 classes in composting. By the end of the year, every student in the grade will have the necessary skills to carry out this valuable service to the school. Environmental stewardship is now a major focus of the Junior School Student Council, strengthening waste reduction and recycling practices throughout the younger grades.
In the Middle School on Dover, Gordon has established an Environmental Stewardship Council that supports student campaigns and conducts tours of the green features of the campus. Gordon is also busy coordinating recycling throughout the campus, ensuring practices are standardised throughout the three schools.
At East, Kath and Adam manage an increasing range of gardening projects on the campus, coordinating supplies, tools and manpower and linking groups like the Middle School Gardeners with the Fresh Fruit Friday service team. Student gardens are growing everything from orchids to herbs and rainforest trees. The Junior School compost teams are working to ensure a steady supply of home-grown fertilizer for these gardens, saving money and reducing waste on campus.
Given the increasing interest in greening initiatives across both campus, more students are volunteering their time to support environmental projects and now, students now able to connect this work to their academics too. Adam supports Critical Challenge projects for the IGCSE Global Perspectives course, while Nathan and the Dover team are helping students publicise their environmental work and create learning resources for the whole of the campus
Having dedicated Environmental Stewardship Coordinators means projects like these are now well-planned, sustainable and most of all, excellent learning opportunities for the students.
Giving to the College, through the Annual Fund and UWCSEA Foundation, enriches the unique UWC learning experience and brings the College closer to achieving its mission.