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Greening ’Stoga Gears Up to Tackle School’s Ecological Footprint

Nishka Avunoori

By Channelle Ongagna, Staff Reporter

Greening ’Stoga is a student-led environmental task force that works to make Conestoga a more sustainable school. Headed by seniors and co-presidents Sammy Goldman and Emory O’Connell, the club regularly plans projects to reduce the school’s ecological footprint, such as finding ways to repurpose old school supplies.

The club usually meets every other week before school in Kevin Strogen’s room, where students brainstorm ways to improve Conestoga’s environmental standing. Goldman describes club meetings as fun events where, though a little tired, members enthusiastically discuss something they’re all passionate about.

“We want to come up with initiatives to decrease our footprint, specifically in our school,” Goldman said. “We really only focus on that and not much of a bigger impact because we feel like there are a lot of clubs that do that. We really just want to focus on trying to make a difference in a smaller area.”

Greening ’Stoga has successfully campaigned to have Styrofoam removed from the cafeteria and are currently looking into improving mask disposal, since masks often wind up in the ocean or large waterways, harming aquatic life. The club is also working to have more recycling bins put in the atrium and has even convinced the school board to transfer to renewable energy. 

“We try to do little projects within our school to help better our environment, through just little things,” O’Connell said.

Last year, the group organized a field trip to Beaumont Elementary School to inform students on recycling and how they can do their part to improve the environment. Greening ’Stoga typically hosts a stand at Unity Fair, to raise awareness not only about the club but also about how students can take individual measures to make Conestoga more environmentally friendly. To Goldman and O’Connell, what makes ’Greening Stoga so special is its emphasis on individual efforts and the big impact they can have in a community.

“I joined because I care about environmental sustainability,” Goldman said. “And I’d always feel like, whenever I joined other clubs, I was never really making as much of an impact. So joining Greening ’Stoga kind of made me feel like I was doing something for my school, my community, and just helping on a smaller scale.”

Goldman and O’Connell encourage students with even a passing interest in the environment to join Greening ’Stoga. To them, the opportunity to make a difference in their own environments is what sets the club apart.

“Sometimes, when we look at climate change, it seems like there’s not much we can do because it seems so overwhelming,” O’Connell said. “But when it comes to clubs like these, there’s so many little things we can do on our end that really add up in the long run.”

Channelle Ongagna can be reached at [email protected].

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