Sustainability Club Update

By Conrad Dundorf

     Last year, Oyster River High School’s Sustainability Club made waves when they stepped up their efforts to create a more green community. While they made empirical progress on their composting program, recycling program and public outreach, the year ended with a large portion of these members graduating. But instead of falling behind, the club has revamped their initiatives and reached even further into the community.

     What set the 2014-2015 Sustainability Club, or “Sus Club,” apart from previous years was likely a combination of its planning skills and its member’s passion and drive. “The Club was able to appeal to the student body and change their practices.” states John Bromley, Oyster River’s environmental science teacher and the Sustainability Club’s advisor. “[Their projects] proved pretty successful in making our school more green.”  The club’s motivation and craetivity resulted in a much wider range of influence and therefore a significantly greater impact than the school had seen up to that point. “We got a lot done, and I feel that we made some serious progress,” states Deanna Druskat, a former Sustainability Club member. This set the bar pretty high, so to speak, and with X members having left, there was some concern as to how this year’s club would operate.

     That feeling was quickly dispelled though when quite a few new members joined. “I knew that [sustainability club] would continue recruiting and bringing passionate people in,” Druskat continues. These students, many of whom are underclassmen, brought different ideas to the table and reignited the spark that was seen the previous year.

“This year were trying to tackle getting the word out there about sustainability, climate change, pollution and getting the general interest from the student body so we can hopefully inspire them to bring composting and recycling into their own homes,” says returning member of Sustainability Club, Sophie Graff, on what they hope to achieve this year. “We are also looking to have a bigger outreach in the community and hopefully have an open line of communication with businesses around Durham.”

This year’s Sustainability Club is taking on an ambitious number of projects. “We divided our projects into short term, mid term and long term goals,” states Evan Gordon, a senior member of Sus Club.  By organizing their possible projects in this manner, the club will be better able to manage their time and recourses in a way that is conducive to completion. “We want to do alot of education [within the school and community] and we want to get the word about the club out,” Gordon continues.

     A program that Sus Club is trying to keep active is the composting and recycling program. Last year, the “IGOR” system was used to streamline the process and make it easier for students to dispel of their food waste appropriately. Declan Morrison (‘17) recalls that “when [the IGORs] went into the cafe, it was alot easier to throw away our [waste] in a sustainable way.”  Unfortunately though, perhaps because of the start to a new school year, the IGORs have not been fully taken advantage of. The rhythm that students got into at the end of their lunch periods in disposing of their trash, recyclables and compostable materials is suffering. This is something that will be revitalized by the club.

     In addition to this, Sus Club is trying to complete smaller, more manageable goals that can be achieved in the near future. “We want to brand ourselves. We could get T-Shirts and have [mechandise] in the new school store,” Gordon says. “We also want to do event coordination, [which is] basically getting our sustainability efforts into local and community events such as sports events.”

      Some of the club’s greater initiatives include starting “a conference that will show a movie about [the] climate and have vendors from different climate or sustainability groups from around,” states Graff. “We are also looking to do some [ecological projects] such as invasive species, rainwater from the roof which is causing massive erosion , and  hopefully get some gardening done around the school!”

     Overall, Sustainability Club has not only kept their momentum from last year, but increased it. With many new members and fresh perspectives that have spawned creative projects, the club has more of a place in the school and community than ever.