When I was in sixth grade, I helped make a significant change at my school. It started with a class-wide discussion about how we could help the school community. We settled on lowering our energy use on campus. Along with four other classmates, I volunteered to be on the committee tasked with implementing this stewardship project. First we had a brainstorming meeting that was facilitated by one of our teachers. We talked a lot about specific places in our classrooms where we felt we could improve our energy use. A lot of our ideas overlapped. Some of our initial proposals included weatherproofing the windows to make the heating more efficient, turning off lights right after leaving a room, and using timers for chargers. There was a lot of conversing and debating about what we would be able to do best.
This debating and choosing took place over multiple meetings. When we finally came up with a good plan of action, we began working on how we would present the plan. We looked up the average monthly cost for each of the appliances we use, then compared that amount to the cost of that appliance. We then estimated the cost of lighting in each of the three main classrooms. The process was tedious, but it was helpful to have a starting point so we could determine how much progress we made. We then decided that the most effective way to bring our ideas to the classes was through the staff. Every Tuesday a staff meeting took place where all of the teachers would make a plan for the week. We stayed after school for the meeting and presented our findings and ideas to the teachers and administration. They were able to give insightful feedback as well as add their own ideas for stewardship improvement in the community.
After getting the okay from the people in charge of the school, we brought our ideas to the students. We started with our class, who served as a test run. They gave us tips on how to engage our audience more and make it understandable for the younger students. The feedback from our classmates allowed us to refine our presentation, and we began sharing with the younger classrooms.
My personal involvement was to listen to their ideas for change. Sometimes the ideas were very odd, like having candle lighting instead of the conventional lighting. Sometimes they shared stories of their own personal experience with stewardship; hearing those was a highlight of the project for me.
I was happily surprised to see a noticeable change within the first month after we’d sprung into action. Although I’ve since moved to a different campus, there is still positive change happening. I feel like this project has bettered me and my community, and I’m very grateful to have been a part of it.
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