WHAT: Louisiana Green Schools Challenge Press Conference and 2014 Program Launch
WHEN: Monday, August 25th, 10:00 am
WHERE: New Orleans Charter Math and Science High School
NEW ORLEANS, LA --- August 21, 2014 – The U.S. Green Building Council’s Louisiana Chapter announces the 2014 Green Schools Challenge, a program that encourages students across the state to develop sustainability focused projects for their schools in the name of friendly and FREE competition. A press conference to officially launch this year’s program will take place Monday, Aug. 25 at 10am at the New Orleans Charter Science and Mathematics High School (Sci High).
The location of the event is apropos: Sci High placed second in the 2013-14 Louisiana Green Schools Challenge, snagging them a $1,000 check from USGBC Louisiana for their waste reduction project. USGBC Louisiana Executive Director Shannon Stage and other Chapter Leaders will address the audience and present the award, along with other Chapter leaders and supporters of the statewide program. Furthermore, Sci High is one of 5 NOSSI schools to receive funding for solar panels through Entergy, who is the Louisiana Green Schools Challenge primary sponsor. Representatives of Energy will also be in attendance, and will address the audience on the importance of green schools.
Sci High students who were involved in the winning project, under supervision of Environmental Science teacher Jason Denlinger, will be on hand to speak about their project, which started with getting a grant to get a dishwasher and eventually replacing all of the Styrofoam plates used in the cafeteria to reusable dishware. The program, which also includes school-wide recycling, cut the solid waste by half, along with the cost of disposing it, Facilities Manager Anthony Crim said. He was asked to save money, so he applied for a $10,000 grant from Keep America Beautiful to lease a dishwasher. Soon the kitchen waste went down 60 percent.
“Ask the right questions to the right people, and BAM! We save money AND the world,” Crim said. Their Green Schools project saved $3,700 last year, he said. “Styrofoam is…the easiest way, but it’s not the right way.”
Last year’s Green Schools Challenge involved 40 schools and 37 mentors in 13 parishes, according to Chapter Coordinator Jolie Lemoine, who oversees the statewide program. More than 7,000 students were engaged in projects focused on recycling, building outdoor classrooms, creating schoolyard gardens, holding school energy audits, and designing rain gardens. Ben Franklin High School took first place in the high school division, for the students’ multi-faceted and collaborative project, Lemoine said. The winners for the middle school and elementary school projects were Saint Margaret Catholic School in Lake Charles and Edward Hynes Charter School in New Orleans, respectively. Third place winners received $500; second place, $1,000; and first place, $1,500, along with an Elkay EZH20 water bottle filler, which tracks the number of plastic bottles diverted from the landfill. USGBC Louisiana is seeking schools interested in participating and mentors to assist with the schools’ projects. Mentors should bring some expertise in an environmental or sustainability field, and the ability to contribute volunteer time to the project, Lemoine said. She added that mentors are 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 12th.
For more information please contact USGBC LA Chapter Coordinator Jolie Lemoine 504-330-1292 (Jolie@usgbclouisiana.org)
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.