Green Champions work to make district environmentally friendly

Kaitlin Clark, Print Editor-in-Chief

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Throughout the USD 383 school district, there is a little-known force pushing for a more environmentally friendly tomorrow.

Green Champions is an organization composed of K-12 teachers from across the district, as well as students who want to get involved in working toward making the district a “green district.” To reach this goal, every school in the district must complete two environmentally-based investigations each school year. USD 383 hopes to become an example to other districts looking to become more environmentally friendly.

We’d like to see USD 383 be a leader in … implementing renewable strategies and waste reduction techniques,” Green Champions West Campus Representative Clancey Livingston said. “We’d like to be a model for the state of Kansas.”

Schools must additionally have green teams in place to make these investigations happen. At Manhattan High, this green team is the Environmental Science Investigations group.

According to Green Champions president Noah Busch, the district is currently on track to meet their goal of two investigations at every school.

“It would be really awesome … to just get this under our belt,” Busch said.

Last May it was announced that USD 383 was a 2018 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School District Sustainability awardee, according to the Kansas State Department of Education website. This marked the first time a Kansas district received the award, and the organizations behind it plan to work to maintain that status.

We’re just kind of keeping that up,” ESI secretary Elora Neff, junior, said. “We haven’t gone backwards so we’re just like continuing to be more green.”

Teachers involved with Green Champions encourage more students to become actively involved in the organization.

I would say that this is an opportunity for students to be [involved in] taking care of their environment,” Busch said. “It’s kind of a grassroots effort, like what can I do to take care of my environment?”

While Green Champions and ESI have been working to ensure that they will reach their goals, they find the lack of students involved to be a slight setback, according to Neff. As a student that is a part of their initiatives, she stated that she hoped more middle school and high school students would get involved.

In the short time Green Champions has been in place, those involved have been working swiftly to ensure that they reach their yearly goals. The changes that have begun in USD 383 is just the beginning.

The efforts that we’ve had in the district have been really good,” Livingston said. “We have recycling at a lot of different schools … that’s being integrated into curriculum, it’s not just something that is there. A lot of the elementary schools have now community gardens and … great big outdoor projects going on. I think we’re doing a lot of good things.”

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Green Champions work to make district environmentally friendly