Students for Sustainability (SSS) is a student group at Strathmore High School (SHS) who share a passion for sustainability and a common goal of trying to achieve a Net-Zero school. This shared passion has created multiple learning opportunities for these students to engage with one another, their teachers, and experts in the community in finding creative solutions for schools to become more sustainable.
Engagement, Connections and Overcoming Challenges
Students within the SSS have realized through this learning experience that change is challenging, rewarding, and possible. The students have embodied a true learning mindset, allowing them to tackle challenges and roadblocks with persistence, flexibility and open-mindedness.
Common Goals and a Shared Passion
Student’s individual passions for sustainability drew them to the group. Student Justine McEwing says that “for the past year, so I've been very focused on my environmental impact of my carbon footprint [and when I realized there] was [a group] in the school and there were more opportunities [to embrace] that, then I instantly hopped on [and joined the group].” This desire to work with others who have a similar passion, in this case sustainability, is highlighted by Liam Doering: “[the creation of the SSS group was a] good way to work together as a team and forge friendships and meet new people that have similar views.” Students are building meaningful relationships based on a shared vision to make a difference in the world.
Teamwork and Making Connections:
Connecting with each other, and sharing their passion for sustainability within their community and the world has strengthened this group’s bonds and has allowed them to really see the value of teamwork. Rodrigo Zamorano Fenoy describes his own personal evolution after joining the SSS group as going from a “lone wolf in the middle of a forest… to [realizing] that working together [allows us to] form a great team [that is] 20x stronger than if we worked alone.”
In an interview with four students from the group, each mentioned how important it was that they respect each other’s strengths and specialties and they now understand the role others play in supporting their own learning. Liam Doering mentioned that one of his biggest takeaways from this experience was realizing that “a properly set-up team of people can accomplish many things much better than any one single person.” This realization that a team is stronger than any one member has allowed the students to trust one another and share their hopes and dreams for the project more openly.
Connecting and Contributing: Locally and Globally
Connecting and Contributing locally and globally necessitates that students develop the skills of citizenship and social responsibility. SSS is a way for students to think and act in ways that promote a more tolerant and sustainable world. Locally, SSS helps students develop their understanding through enhanced learning experiences within the local community. Contributing locally asks students to take action that contributes to the betterment of the community’s collective well-being. Students are able to make tangible connections and witness first-hand the impact of their actions in their communities. Reducing SHS’s carbon footprint also allows students to contribute on a global scale. Climate change is an international issue, and SSS has challenged students to improve society and the environment globally. The students are working hard to make our world more sustainable, diplomatic, and equitable in order to contribute in a meaningful way.