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Surveying Environmentalism at Saint Ann's



This year, the Saint Ann’s Green Team conducted a survey of the student body and faculty to figure out what environmental issues they find to be important and what suggestions they had for the Green Team going forward. There were 77 participants in the survey. The participants were asked various questions with a one to five scale from least to most concerned. 82% of participants rated climate change as a four or a five. When participants were asked to rate how environmentally conscious Saint Ann’s is, however, only 26% rated the school a four or a five. These two results indicate that the Saint Ann’s Community is concerned about climate change, but does not perceive it as a significantly pressing issue. If this is the case, what should Saint Ann’s do to become a more environmentally conscious and sustainable school?

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The survey’s most important role was to engage the student community by determining what issues they find to be most important and which sustainability initiatives they support the most. As the graph below demonstrates, 63% percent of participants selected four or five as their level of support for the school divesting from fossil fuels. 85% gave a four or five level of support for decreasing the school’s carbon footprint during the renovation process. 89% of participants gave a four or five level of support for decreasing the school’s waste through the new compost and recycling systems. Finally, 63% percent of participants selected a four or five for increasing student awareness of environmental issues through having group discussions, guest speakers, and publications.

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The last part of the Green Team survey asked the participants if they had any suggestions for the Green Team going forward. This question produced a diverse array of responses. Multiple participants suggested that the Green Team make student outreach more of a priority. Others suggested that the Green Team take more steps to educate the student body by facilitating speakers and organizing mandatory film screenings. The students and teachers made it clear that the Green Team in the future should communicate more with the students and try to get as many people involved as possible.

The universality of climate change makes it relevant to every individual in the Saint Ann’s community. As many people as possible should be involved in tackling issues related to sustainability and the student community is interested in playing a larger role in determining the Green Team’s agenda. Everyone should have a voice in this conversation, because without a diversity of perspectives the environmental community cannot move forward.

- Simon P.