Competitions between educational establishments are a great way to advance awareness around sustainability while reducing a school’s footprints at the same time. Louisiana’s Green Schools Challenge is an example of such a program.
Launched by the U.S. Green Building Council’s Louisiana chapter, the Green Schools Challenge, encourages students across the state to develop sustainability projects for their schools in the name of friendly competition.
USGBC Louisiana mentors and assist students with the challenge. Mentors share their expertise in an environmental or sustainability. In 2013 there were 37 mentors who assisted with the program.
Last year there were 40 schools involved. The Green Schools Challenge engaged 7,000 students in 13 parishes around the state. Schools took on projects to do 11 energy audits and water conservation plans; 15 recycling and composting programs; 11 school gardens; and 12 rain gardens and outdoor classrooms. They raised the funds for the projects and worked with local businesses that could help them fulfill their goals.
One of last year’s winning entries was a project that removed styrofoam from the cafeteria, secured a grant for a dishwasher, purchased reusable dishware, and reduced kitchen waste by 60 percent. They also encouraged their fellow students to recycle and reuse. For their efforts the school received a cheque for $1,000.
The 2014 edition of USGBC’s Green Schools Challenge in Louisiana launched in August. Christine Jordan, Entergy’s head of Corporate Social Responsibility, announced that this year the utility will be supporting the Challenge for the second year, with a $13,000 contribution.
Make sure to see the article titled, “Comprehensive Green School Information and Resources.” It contains links to over 200 articles covering everything you need to know about sustainable academics, student’s eco-initiatives, green school buildings, and college rankings as well as a wide range of related information and resources.