DJ Rossi, a full-time supply teacher, coordinated Prep activities along with initiatives by the Prep Parents’ Organization (PPO).
The PPO sponsored a battery drive on Tuesday with receptacles in each classroom, recovering 55 kg of batteries (Recycle); finding an eco-friendly way to school on Wednesday (Reduce); and an in-class book swap on Thursday (Reuse). On Friday, they provided each Prep student with a packet of seeds to plant at home (Regenerate) so they could enjoy seeing their plants grow and bloom.
Rossi organized a meatless lunch for Tofu Tuesday, encouraging everyone to bring something vegan or vegetarian from home; encouraged students to bring reusable water bottles on Waterwise Wednesday so they could become aware of plastic pollution; asked them to dress warmly for Energy Thrifty Thursday because the temperature at the school was lowered by three degrees; and suggested green clothing for Friday, Earth Day itself.
Class 1G had the strongest participation and received a class plant of their choosing as a reward for their stellar efforts.
"We all know the little sacrifices we can make to help the planet, but it's not often we all sit down together and just do them. That's what Earth Week is all about," Rossi says.
The Prep also held two Earth Week assemblies to encourage and congratulate students on all of their sustainability efforts.
Upper School Solutions
The Sustainability Council, headed by student John Voudouris under the supervision of adviser Brittney Triff, organized daily events that began with Tofu Tuesday and the opportunity to eat a meatless lunch all week. Sweater Wednesday followed, allowing the administration to lower the temperature at the school.
On Thursday, the Sustainability Council joined forces with the Service Council to organize UCC’s first Service Day where students from Years 8, 10, 11 and 12 each spent the afternoon cleaning up a designated area away from the school grounds.
"A lot of people enjoyed the service activity and we hope to build on that for next year," says Elliott Ingram, vice-president of the Sustainability Council.
Meanwhile, Year 9 students took part in a sustainability challenge on campus, working in House teams to design an event to promote sustainability. They all met at day’s end in Laidlaw Hall where one student from each House pitched its idea to a panel of judges. The winning team will be bringing the event to life during Earth Week 2023.
The week ended with ABC (Anything But Cars) Day, created to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions during commutes to school.
Other Upper School activities included a clothing drive spearheaded by student Adam Tarsky to encourage reuse of wearable items in partnership with Cornerstone, a grassroots charity that assists people with addictions and their families. And Elliott Ingram released a new water-focused edition of a podcast in collaboration with Sufian Alawiye and Harry Patel, the first distributed in a year. The marketing club held an art competition, requesting works that promoted Earth Week. The top three prizes went to Jefferson Ding, John Liu and Jason Gao, respectively.
"Arguably, sustainability is the most important topic we should be discussing in classrooms,” says Triff. “Our students will be the ones most impacted by these complex problems, so their voices need to be part of the solution."