Schools play a crucial role in a community’s environmental footprint by equipping students with the knowledge they need to be agents of change on their school campuses, at home and in the community.
The City of Cupertino offers an environmental program for students and schools called green@school, as well as a community program with environmental benefits called Safe Routes 2 School.
A spin-off of the GreenBiz Cupertino program, green@school was established with an initial grant from Silicon Valley Energy Watch, a PG&E program. The curricula and other materials were developed in a pilot program at Hyde and Kennedy middle schools.
The benefits include:
- Reducing the environmental footprint and operating costs of the school.
- Boosting the health and wellness of students and staff.
- Enhancing educational offerings with hands-on learning opportunities.
- Reinforcing STEM curriculum, building civic responsibility and exposing students to green careers.
- Achieving Bay Area Green Business Certification and gaining recognition for the school.
Schools achieve certification through environmental actions that target specific resource and engagement gains. The program can be used as a “plug-and-play” supplement to a science, humanities or math class or a “cafeteria-style” sample in a club or after-school program.
The green@school toolkit includes the following materials to guide program coordinators through completing the certification process or supplementing the educational goals of a class or club.
- “Without the green@school program, I would not have been able to gain so much knowledge. Now, I know how to keep my school and home more environmentally friendly.”
- “The program is very interactive and gives a lot of responsibility and freedom to the students, which I feel like teaches them a lot more.”
- “We got to learn about how we can make a difference in the environment. We learned about the mistakes we make as humans and how we can fix them so we can have a better world to live in.”