Melrose Veterans Memorial Middle School is already a green school, but could it get greener?
The Green Team thinks it can—and they are doing something about it.
The Green Team is an environmental club at the middle school, and last year they took part in the national We Can Change the World Challenge, in which they had to look at how to improve the school from an environmental perspective. One of the problems they identified was water bottle waste, and this year, the team decided to take action: They are raising funds for a water bottle refilling station in the school.
The students began by doing a survey of students, then met with principal Tom Brow to discuss their proposal. “He loved the idea, and he has been a great advocate for them,” said Recycling Coordinator Jessie Schmitt, who has been working with the Green Team for the past two years. With his approval, the students began fund-raising. They started with a presentation to the middle school PTO, which kicked things off with a $500 donation. Then they spoke to Kara Showers, who runs the Mass In Motion health initiative. “She is trying to encourage kids to drink more water, instead of juice or soda, so Mass in Motion has now donated $100 toward the station,” said Schmitt.
The Green Team also did their own fund-raisers: A bake sale, a hot chocolate sale, and a sale of reusable bottles that students will be able to use at the new station.
As they neared their fund-raising goal, the students met with the sales representative from the company that makes the refilling station and asked “all sorts of questions,” Schmitt said. They also talked to DPW staff to determine where the station should be placed; as it will be located next to an existing water fountain, no new plumbing will be needed. As of this writing, the students are close to their goal.
Schmitt and science teachers Julia Apostolos and Erik Murray are the club advisors, but Schmitt says they are very hands-off. “They make all the decisions,” Schmitt said. “If they say ‘What should we do?’ we say ‘Ask your teammates.’ They are so determined—they have taken this on as their own project, and they are getting their friends involved as well.”