Congrats to the Sustainability Club!
Greenlight Award Finals
Saturday, April 17, 10:00 a.m. John Jay High School’s Sustainability Club had just presented their Bimonthly Action Campaign to the Bedford 2030 Greenlight Award Competition’s team of judges. Now, it was time for questions.
Five leaders in local education and conservation probed how the students measured the success of their activities, used various outreach methods, and refined their ideas as they proceeded. Seniors Liliana Carey and Sarah Kelleher and sophomore Carolina Cerna fielded each question about their well-designed initiative with poise and knowledge, taking home second place in the advocacy category!
President Sarah Kelleher
Bimonthly Action Campaign
“The goal of the Bimonthly Action Campaign is to engage the school and community in learning about ways they can make a positive impact on the environment,” explained Sarah, the president of the Sustainability Club. She brings her interest in the intersection of public policy and social justice to the leadership position, an area she first leaned into through John Jay’s two-year Humanities Research program.
The action-based campaign began in December with a focus on reducing clothing waste. Students set up a donations box in front of school and collected 1,100 pounds of gently-used clothing for the Community Center of Northern Westchester. Next, they asked students to sign a pledge committing to reusable water bottles.
Go green and save green
Their most ambitious activity was Go Green and Save Green, a community event that the Sustainability Club organized with Sustainable Westchester and Bedford 2030. “More than fifty registrants participated in the energy smart webinar,” said Liliana, the point person for that initiative.
She tapped her leadership skills and saw the policy side of environmental reform, which she was learning about in AP Government and Politics, at a grassroots level. “I’ve grown passionate about energy technology,” she commented. “I’ve learned so much about it.”
Vice President Liliana Carey
The good work will continue
The Sustainability Club’s good work will continue. They will distribute reusable water bottles and run activities aimed at increasing families’ gardening and composting this spring. Their $250 prize from the Greenlight Award will contribute to the club’s funding for next year's project.
“I am the next generation of John Jay students,” Carolina told the Greenlight Awards judges. “I hope to run for a leadership position in the Sustainability Club next year and definitely want to continue the Bimonthly Action Campaigns.”
“The fact that these high schoolers committed to these projects, worked on them all year, and gave thoughtful presentations on the very real impacts they had on their communities is a huge deal," commented Bedford 2030’s Community Engagement Manager and Greenlight Award Judge Erin Glocke.
Steve Zoeller, the Sustainability Club's advisor, noted that the student's focus was altered by COVID in a positive way. "In the past we looked at changes we could make within the high school. Since there were very few students, the club changed its focus to the local community. The students have gained real-world experience in promoting an event and impacting change for sustainability."