Green Initiatives

Lower School

Pollution Stoppers

The Pollution Stoppers are a brand new group of environmentally conscious 5th graders with a bold vision. Beyond simply stopping pollution at the school, these students seek to improve our sustainability more generally. Currently, the focus is on creating a compost system for the lower school, but the group does not limit its goals to educating those of a similar age. The Pollution Stoppers have already addressed the Upper School regarding the benefits of compost, and their long-term goals include becoming “the world’s biggest activist group.” This effort is entirely student-driven.

Middle School

MS Garden Club

The Middle School Garden Club complements the DIG elective, providing both students in the class as well as others who may not be able to fit it into their schedules with additional time to work in the school Garden and Greenhouse. The efforts of this club are critical ensuring that there is a substantial harvest in the fall. Alongside the Upper School Garden Club, this club helps maintain these spaces, in particular preparing them for use by other Middle School students.

Upper School

Environmental Club

The Upper School Environmental Club is a space for those looking to build upon D-E’s sustainability efforts. The club recently established the “Net Zero Initiative” in 2023 to help the school transition to carbon-neutral practices. Additionally, the club works in partnership with the US Garden Club to maintain and improve the compost system. Each year for Earth Week, the EVC plans a number of events to celebrate the Earth and to educate the community on climate change. The club takes “field trips” around campus to learn about how the compost system and the solar panels on Campus Center work to help the environment. The club is also responsible for updating the D-E Green page with sustainability-related school news.

Net Zero Initiative and Solar Panel Project

Founded in 2023, the Environmental Club’s Net Zero Initiative strives to lessen the school’s carbon footprint through new projects and the optimization of current sustainable practices. The initiative’s first undertaking is our Solar Panel project, which seeks to install new solar panels on various buildings around campus and carport arrays in parking lots. These panels would likely supply 35–40% of the school’s energy and could save the school approximately $85,000–$135,000 per year. The remaining energy for the school would continue to be generated by renewable sources, as D-E has done since 2016. In the future, the initiative hopes to promote the use of renewable energy generically and help the school become carbon neutral – in other words, Net Zero.

US Garden Club

The Upper School Garden Club offers numerous opportunities for those looking to continue their learning from DIG and MS Garden Cub, as well as those looking to learn about organic gardening for the first time. The club is “invested in supporting, maintaining, and promoting the teaching gardens on campus and is interested in educating its members about sustainable farming and gardening practices, environmental preservation, soil stewardship, horticulture, and ecology. This is a hands-on club that spends time in the garden and compost arena and takes responsibility for helping to maintain those spaces. In addition, Garden Club has primary responsibility for maintaining the compost system and plays an important role in coordinating the parent Garden Project volunteers(Taken from the activities website).

Compost Initiative

To learn about the Compost initiative, please see the Green Campus Page.

Student Government SEA Initiative

The SEA (Sustainability Efforts and Awareness) Initiative on Student Government works to promote various sustainability efforts and strives to increase awareness regarding issues of sustainability. While the initiative concentrates primarily on environment protection as a trans-regional issue, there is also a sub-initiative that works with the maintenance staff to better connect them to the community, ensuring they address sustainability in their work. One current focus is to host activities that include the different divisions in hopes of promoting environmental awareness on a wider scale, and from a younger age.  A bigger project planned for next year is to have a group of upper-schoolers accompany a small class of Lower School students to help clean the Boat Basin park in Englewood Cliffs. The events hosted by this initiative are all planned in hopes of connecting students to their fellow classmates and local communities. 

A Word from the Environmental Club…

Do you really think student leadership in sustainability can truly make an impact in the grand scheme of the climate crisis?

“This is a common question and is often the primary downturn for participation in sustainability initiatives from members of our local community; people believe that simply recycling or saving water on their own front hardly makes a difference. The truth is, that such savings add up, and many individuals know that. The EPA states that if everyone shaves a minute of their shower, 170 billion gallons of water would be saved annually. Nonetheless, I think that student leadership goes beyond the individual, which is why we are striving to make the school as a whole pledge to carbon-neutral practices. Through a solar panel project from a large school like ours, greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced significantly, and students gain the satisfaction of knowing they are making a greater impact. If students and leaders across the country and globe were to facilitate such larger initiatives, the impact would be monumental. So yes, the daunting issue of tackling the climate crisis is not insurmountable if we all work together.”

Answer courtesy of Radha Munver, Leader of the Upper School Environmental Club

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