Students gather to discuss going green on campus

January 6, 2011 — by Amy Jan

Though implementing eco-friendly measures can be difficult and expensive, a select group of students is striving to make waste reduction and sustainability Saratoga High’s cup of tea.

These students met at the Green Tea event, hosted by the Green Team, Priyanka Arunkumar, Ruchie Bhardwaj, Zara Sheikh, Anshu Siripurapu and Mac Hyde, and Jane Marashian from the district office, in the library on Dec. 13 to discuss long- and short-term goals to be more green.

“One of our questions for discussion was about the problems that students see on campus in terms of not recycling, or wasting energy,” junior Zara Sheikh said. “Then we talked about ways those issues could be solved and any other ideas to make the school more green.”

Even though the school has recycling bins set up around campus, many students still throw away recyclable items in the trash cans. The conference brought attention to this growing problem and explored ways to spread awareness among students and faculty. Sophomore Shireen Kaul said several students brought up the point of how the school as a whole needs to prioritize being green.
People from the district office were also invited to attend. Superintendent Cary Matsuoka and registrar Anne Kolb from Redwood Middle showed up to share their ideas too.

“They were invited originally to participate in the groups and also to throw out ideas, but when they came, they decided not to, and just listened because it seemed like the students were relying on them for ideas and holding back theirs,” Sheikh said.

Small groups of four or five sat around around a table and discussed their ideas with peers. Then students circulated to other tables and discussed with different groups what they had come up with in their previous circles.

“I really enjoyed just sitting with different groups as they discussed ideas because every table had different ideas and they were so interesting to hear,” Sheikh said.

A few of the ideas students suggested include putting lecture notes online, requiring students to turn in essays online, create a green roof on the school and adding a green fact section in the newspaper to raise awareness.

Of the many ideas brought up, the superintendent took a special interest in implementing thermal water heating because it takes just three years to pay off.

Inviting students to talk over suggestions and build off of each other’s ideas about how the school can be more eco friendly proved to be a productive session.

“I thought it was great,” Kaul said. “It was cool to see other kids who were really passionate about being green, and it was definitely productive.”

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