Every June, Wellesley Middle School has a mandatory locker cleanout at the end of the school yearfor all students. However this past June, the WMS Green Team decided to turn it into a “Green Out”. Disturbed by how much was wasted during the previous years’ locker cleanouts, the Green Team provided recycling bins and “upcycling” bins (for reusable items) in halls during the clean-up process.
WMS students appeared to receive the idea of the “Green Out” very well. They quickly caught on to the ideas of “upcycling” quickly and effectively used the bins provided for their correct purpose. The materials collected are currently being used in WMS classrooms. Green Team faculty advisors hope to donate some of the collected “upcycling” to an undetermined charity.
The Green Team was surprised by how willing students were to recycle. Instead of throwing everything into the trash, they took the time to sort their recycling. WMS Green Team faculty advisor Jonathan Rabinowitz was pleased with the response from students, saying, “we established a new expectation and raised the bar for what we as a school community can and should do with excess materials.”
While the overall sentiment of Green Team members was positive, there were many things the Green Team felt they could work on. Rabinowitz says, “I would improve our communication methods so that the intent and ultimate aim is clear to all students and teachers far in advance next time – this would improve the event.”
They also hope to improve communications with WMS custodians regarding the event. Green Team members felt that there were too few recycling bins that filled up too quickly. Members also said they were caught busy running around the school on the morning of the event, trying to find recycling bins and encouraging people to use them, a problem they believe could be fixed by more custodial support.
Regardless, once people caught on, the bins were used and the Green Team was more than happy with, as Rabinowitz puts it, the “enthusiasm and generosity of the students.”