Some Sylvania students with a bright idea want some classrooms to go dark as part of a new Green Team effort to curb carbon footprints in a district high school.
Alli Clausius, a junior at Southview, estimates that a Southview High School student emits about 3,000 kilograms of carbon dioxide per square foot annually. The estimate is slightly higher for a student at Northview High School, she said. About 1,200 students are at each high school.
Alli, 16, wants the Green Team to reduce that carbon footprint at her school.
On a recent day, she and three Green Team members posted reminders above the light switches throughout the school to “turn off the light.” There is no need to keep the lights on continuously, especially at night, sophomore Leah Dickerson said.
Alli’s project submitted to the University of Toledo for a district science competition inspired the group. She analyzed the carbon emissions for both Sylvania district high schools from 2010 to 2011 and found the largest contributors to emissions was electricity and that consumption was costing each school more than $300,000. The results factored in usage from air conditioners, refrigerators, boilers, and waste.
“I feel like no one is paying attention. We have a lot of recycling bins, but students throw paper in the trash. People don’t realize the world is getting bad,” said freshman Muna Almasri, 13.
One of the first projects the Green Team undertook was putting colorful lettering on recycling boxes identifying the products — plastic and paper — that can go inside. The bins are in each classroom. The team also wants larger recycling bins for the cafeteria.
With 20 members signed on, the team is combining knowledge with action, using the morning announcements to inform students on global and local environmental issues and facts. The information also scrolls on televisions in the school’s common areas.
Teachers have told the group that recycling efforts have risen since Green Team was created, but the group said more needs to be done.
The club sent Principal Dave McMurray a proposal for a composting program that would require special bins and volunteers to empty them, said Abbey Cappel, the group’s teacher adviser. While the school’s horticulture program composts now, the Green Team initiative would be for the entire school, she said. Ms. Cappel, who is also the science department chair, said members are aiming to have a trial program up and running by spring.
Alli said she wants to make a case for automatic lights too.
Self-proclaimed “tree lover” and member Rachel Baer, 14, explained turning off the lights, recycling, and properly managing waste are important.
“I love being outside … it makes me sad to think about all this waste and what is going into the environment. I want to enjoy the outdoors forever,” she said.