“We wrote letters to our principals saying that we were concerned about the school’s bad habits,” said senior Celeste Cuellar. “We didn’t like that we were using the Styrofoam in the cafeteria, and we needed to go on a greener path. They listened to us.”
The Green Schools Challenge engaged 7,000 students in 13 parishes around the state, said Chapter Coordinator Jolie Lemoine. Schools took on projects to do energy audits and water conservation plans (11); recycling and composting programs (15); school gardens (11); and raingardens and outdoor classrooms (12). They raised the funds for the projects and worked with local businesses that could help them fulfill their goals.
“Participating schools are connected with local green professionals from their community,” Lemoine said, referring to the 37 mentors who came from a variety of sustainability professions and donated their time to assist the students in their endeavors. Christine Jordan, Entergy’s head of Corporate Social Responsibility, announced at the event that the utility will be supporting the Challenge again in its second year, with a $13,000 contribution. In partnership with USGBC Louisiana, Entergy also supplied the solar panels on the school’s roof as part of the New Orleans Solar Schools Initiative (NOSSI) that supplied systems for five (5) schools in 2009.
USGBC Louisiana is seeking schools interested in participating and mentors to assist with the Challenge. Mentors should bring some expertise in an environmental or sustainability field, and the ability to contribute volunteer time to the project. Mentors will be paired with schools that are interested in projects that relate to the mentors’ expertise.
For more information visit the Green Schools Challenge page on the Chapter’s website: www.usgbclouisiana.org. Deadline for Schools and Mentors to register is Friday, September 12.
The US Green Building Council, Louisiana Chapter (USGBC Louisiana) is a 501 (c)(3) organization, whose mission is to transform the way buildings and communities are designed, built and operated, to be more energy efficient and cost effective. We create healthier places to live, work, and learn through education, advocacy, and community outreach.