The student news of St. Paul Academy and Summit School

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The student news of St. Paul Academy and Summit School

The Rubicon

The student news of St. Paul Academy and Summit School

The Rubicon

USC takes first steps in recently passed sustainability proposal

Lani Ngonethong
WHERE DOES THIS GO. After using a tissue to clean up some spilt water, sophomore Carys Hsiung wonders which bin to to throw it in before dropping it into the one that says “landfill.”

Countering climate change is one of the most important challenges of this generation, and it feels as pressing as ever. The Upper School Council (USC) joined the fight with a lengthy proposal, written by USC representatives Henry Hilton, Leo Benson, and McKinley Garner, to promote sustainability at SPA.

While the proposal is still in its early stages, USC is taking action immediately. In their meeting on Oct. 30, the group addressed problems concerning energy conservation and sustainability within the school, such as sprinklers being on unnecessarily and throwing trash away in incorrect bins, before discussing plans to enact the proposal.

USC co-president Henry Choi pointed out how the Smart Boards are constantly on. “I know the Smart Boards are on 24/7. Whenever I drive by the school, I see the blue light [from the smart board] in the history room,” he said.

The immediate tasks to do are reaching out to faculty and resources. The senior representatives have brought the proposal and the conversation on environmental sustainability to the Upper School Dean of Students, Stacy Tepp’s desk.

Tepp emphasized how this proposal involves many people. “I can help facilitate those things, and I can help them kind of move it along,” Tepp said. “I see my role as… helping get them to the people they need to get to.”

The extensive proposal has 12 sections, each making sizable demands.

I think it’s ambitious…they’re aiming high. These are the goals that they want to set, and I think some of them will take more time than others.

— Stacy Tepp

“I think it’s ambitious…they’re aiming high,” Tepp said. “These are the goals that they want to set, and I think some of them will take more time than others.”

For example, the proposal requests that the admin create an official sustainability statement and publish it on the SPA website. “Something like that will take some time because that needs to involve lots of different stakeholders,” she said.

Tepp pointed out another barrier: the budget. “I don’t think everything’s gonna happen [this year]… because a lot of it involves money.”

For example, implementing smart outlets and getting compost bins must be paid for. “Some of those things have to be put in a budget for next year,” Tepp said.

Tepp and the proposers brainstormed ways to get over some of those roadblocks. One of those ideas was implementing changes in stages: “Maybe we have to consider what stages, like with the compost bins, for example,” Tepp said. The compost bin section calls for every classroom to have compost bins. “Maybe the first stage is having them in all the common spaces. We start there,” she said.

For now, USC plans to start small before expanding, beginning with spreading information and reaching out to the student body.

“We want to make a few posters spreading information about [sustainability],” Benson said. “One of [the posters] we want to launch […] shows the carbon footprints of different meats. We also have one that could encourage biking [instead of driving].”

Despite the speculations of cost and the many barriers, the proposal has garnered much support. USC will move forward with the proposal, starting the change with students. The proposal can be viewed in the USC folder in Google Classroom.

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About the Contributor
Lani Ngonethong
Lani Ngonethong, News Editor
My name is Lani Ngonethong, she/her. I am a News Editor for the Rubicon Online, and this is my second year on staff. In my free time, I enjoy playing volleyball and badminton with friends and family. I am also learning how to speak Hmong and Lao. I love to play with cats even though I am very allergic to them. I can be reached at [email protected].

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