MA Energy Advisor Says Eco-Schools USA Helps Students Work Through Complex Challenges

The Power Down Project is a student-run initiative aimed at reducing energy use at the high school. (Kate Crosby)

One of the highlights of my job is when I get to talk with teachers and students, and hear about the work they are doing to green their schools.

Last month I interviewed Kate Crosby, Energy Advisor for the Acton-Boxborough Regional School District in Acton, MA.
Kate is working with a great group of students at the local high school, helping them meet the criteria to apply for a Green Flag award through the Eco-Schools USA program.

During the interview I asked her what she believes the  students working with her have gained by participating in the Eco-Schools USA program. Below is her very thoughtful response:

What I find extraordinary is the multifaceted nature of the gains for students in working toward greater sustainability at the high school. There is a very strong educational component to the program. The students are engaging in critical thinking, gaining experience in how to disseminate a message effectively, stepping up to work collaboratively with adults. They are analyzing data, and learning how to promote behavioral change within a large community – it is a complex challenge.

The program provides tremendous links across curricula in writing skills, sciences, math, the arts and more. Students are using an infrared camera to see and diagnose wasted energy. Others met with a faculty member from the English department about crafting an effective mission statement. And seventy-five of our art students created original pieces to go around light switches to encourage people to turn off lights – art as a medium of communicating.

The educational and leadership-building potential of the program, when tied to the other programmatic benefits—financial and environmental—combine to create a powerful braid of benefits, and a program that, as Kate said, is pretty irresistible.

Click here to see the January Eco-Schools USA case study that features Acton-Boxborough Regional High School, and read Kate Crosby’s guest blog post where she highlights the school’s very successful (and fun) trash audit party.