Green Tea Party generates ideas to make schools more environmentally friendly

December 6, 2009 — by Emily Willaims

Faculty members, administration, students and city council members from Saratoga and Los Gatos all met on Oct. 14 at the Los Gatos Neighborhood center for a “Green Tea Party.” Although there was tea and a cafe setting, the tea party wasn’t just for fun. Instead, they met to brainstorm ways to make Saratoga and Los Gatos High more eco-friendly.

The “tea party” was organized by district superintendent Cary Matsuoka along with senior Natalie Tkalcevic, the student representative for Saratoga on the board, and Los Gatos senior board representative Jenny Heath.

According to Tkalcevic, both she and Heath found the subject “near and dear to our hearts.” They first brainstormed the idea of putting this group together when they addressed Matsuoka about getting involved with the environment. Together the three of them planned the entire party: from hand picking 10 students from each school to making biodegradable invitations.

“I’ve always been really passionate about being environmentally friendly and going green,” said Tkalcevic. “It’s really exciting to see that people are interested in this and they are becoming passionate as well.”

There were many ideas discussed at the party, including getting new water fountains, installing solar panels, making the school more paperless and getting more recycle bins.

“It was good that we brought up the water fountains because the water fountains are the same as they were when the school was built 50 years ago and they’re kind of disgusting,” said Kent Paisley, one of the students invited to the meeting. “Hopefully these reforms will be enforced in the near future.”

The school board has looked at these ideas and is planning on fixing up the water fountains and bringing additional recycle bins into every class room. Tkalcevic and the board are getting started right away. They have already had a meeting on Nov. 10 at lunch, and Tkalcevic spoke at a PTSO meeting in hopes of raising money.

They are also planning on starting a group called The Green Team who will go to elementary and middle schools to educate kids about the importance of going green. In addition, they hope to coordinate a green week some time next semester.

“It’s such an important subject, especially for schools since that is where we become educated,” said Tkalcevic. “If we start here, then our generation will be a lot more aware and eco-friendly.”