by Georges Dyer, Second Nature
Yesterday I was up at Phillips Exeter Academy talking to a group of ‘e-proctors’ – sustainability champions in each dorm who help green initiatives run smoothly from ensuring dorm-mates put materials in the proper recycling bin to getting the word out about visiting lectures and campus-wide events.
Most were juniors (“uppers” in Exeter-speak) and seniors with sights set on college – still, it was a bit surprising (and very exciting) to see so many high school kids engaged and enthusiastic about hearing the story of Second Nature and the status of education for sustainability in higher education.
They had great questions, and some of the seniors made it clear that they questioned their prospective colleges’ commitments to sustainability at every step of the admissions process – a powerful way to send the signal that this critical issue for incoming students (Princeton Review found this was the case for a good two-thirds of applicants and parents in 2009).
Jennifer Wilhelm, the Sustainability Education Coordinator, who has been doing a great job accelerating progress toward sustainability on campus, gave me a quick rundown of all of the things they’ve been doing – completing a campus sustainability audit, working on the greenhouse gas emissions inventory, signing the Green Schools Alliance Climate Commitment, teaching a senior seminar on sustainability, piloting a sustainability assessment program, and much more.