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Students Lead Sustainability Initiative at Friends' Central
Posted 05/15/2015 09:40AM

This week, Friends’ Central’s Upper School Sustainability Club announced a major step towards the School’s sustainability efforts. 

Due to the hard work of these students and the support of the FCS administration, there will no longer be plastic water bottle sales at Friends’ Central School.

Club Co-Presidents Avital Schweitzer ’16 and Miranda Mastrocola ’16  led two assemblies in Shallcross Hall during which they enumerated the environmental problems caused by plastic water bottles and worked with School administration towards a solution.

Founded by Schweitzer and Mastrocola this past fall, the Sustainability Club wanted to do more than sit around and discuss certain environmental issues. 

The members wanted to make a concrete and positive environmental impact, not just by encouraging others to not buy plastic water bottles, but by changing the School’s policy. Schweitzer explains, “When we started thinking about this Club last summer, we didn’t want to be a club that just talked about sustainability; we wanted to work to make real change at the School.”

At the assemblies, Sustainability Club students shared some staggering facts, including how the production of small plastic water bottles can use up to seven times the amount of water contained in the actual bottle and the incredibly low recycling rate of bottled water - only one in six plastic bottles end up in recycling bins. Also, Club members found that the cafeteria had been selling about 240 bottles of water daily, and, statistically, a third of plastic bottles ends up in a landfill. Working with School administration, led by Head of School Craig Sellers, the group was able to convince the cafeteria to stop selling the plastic water bottles, and with the guidance of Club Advisor Doug Ross, the School installed six water filling stations (four on City Avenue campus and two on the Lower School campus) in order to make fresh drinking water more convenient.

The Club also raised funds to provide the opportunity for Middle and Upper School students, faculty, and staff to receive or purchase high-quality, BPA-free stainless-steel water bottles, proudly displaying a sustainability logo designed by their own club members, for only one dollar. 

Club Advisor and teacher Doug Ross was proud of the efforts put forth by so many in the community through this project. He comments, “I am really proud that our community has taken this substantial positive action to make our campus more sustainable. From the students, led by our dynamic Sustainability Club, raising money to purchase these high quality reusable water bottles to the administration, led by Craig Sellers, and our Board of Trustees moving the initiative into high gear by budgeting and installing even more water dispensers than we originally discussed, this was truly a community effort that FCS can be very proud of!”

The Club is thrilled with the progress made by the School in its sustainability initiatives. Schweitzer comments, “We are so excited about the water bottle initiative and the incredible support from Mr. Sellers and the Friends’ Central administration. We could not have done this without them. Our job now is to maintain this initiative and see what we can do next year.” 

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