Quantcast
  

Friday, April 18, 2014         

ISLAND VOICES


 Print   Email   Comment | View 0 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

At a small school, everyone takes part in sustainability

By LOU YOUNG

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 01:43 a.m. HST, May 10, 2011



The Academy of the Pacific, focusing intently on some 90 students in the lovely setting of a former estate in Alewa Heights, was chosen by the Hawaii Community Foundation, in partnership with the Hawaii Association of Independent Schools, as one of 20 "Schools of the Future" (SOTF). This excellent program, rewarding schools of particular vision, involves a five-year, $5 million commitment to fund projects that will harness the collective wisdom of the community of schools, sharing their "problems of practice" concerning school transformation.

The Academy of the Pacific, like most small schools, has been particularly challenged by the downturn in the economy. In an environment of serious budgetary challenges, we were challenged to devise worthy projects that might be deserving of the SOTF grant using less manpower and fewer resources. Our answer was to redirect our thinking from a "project-based" paradigm to one that looked at the entire school as a living laboratory, focusing on a theme of sustainability. Using the axiom "Think Globally, Act Locally" as our guide, we determined to challenge our students to study various global conditions, identify the correlating local issues and then to create a local, manageable solution right on campus.

Some examples:

» Energy audits: Rather than bringing in outside experts to perform a costly energy audit, we will have our own students learn how to do energy audits, make recommendations and then be part of the implementation of the solution. This becomes an interdisciplinary topic, requiring students to research the world's current use of energy, understand the supply and demand factors affecting natural energy resources, analyze the science behind the various electrical usages of the campus and utilize math equations to understand various rate structures. This topic is rich with possibilities for research, collaboration and interdisciplinary actions. Once the research and studies are done, students will actually work toward testing their theories and knowledge to lower campus energy bills.

» Green waste, composting, water catchment and gardens: AOP's four-acre campus is lush with tropical flora and fruit trees. Currently, we pay for removal of waste vegetation. Using our new sustainability model, we intend to utilize our green waste for composting to support a garden that provides food products for our cafeteria. In addition, we will introduce a water catchment system to water the garden and the property.

We have taken our small size and transformed it to an asset that enables us to quickly engage with a vision, adopt a plan and implement it, using the campus as our "living laboratory." It is our hope that other schools — public and private — may be inspired and reach out to our faculty and students to share what we learn in this process.






 Print   Email   Comment | View 0 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

COMMENTS
(0)
You must be subscribed to participate in discussions
By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. Because only subscribers are allowed to comment, we have your personal information and are able to contact you. If your comments are inappropriate, you may receive a warning, and if you persist with such comments you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email commentfeedback@staradvertiser.com.
Leave a comment

Please login to leave a comment.
IN OTHER NEWS
Latest News/Updates