Inspite of Covid restrictions, Springfield high school students generated over 100 pledges on their action platform and participated in a virtual Sustainathon in the spring of 2021 , demonstrating engaged learning and passion for environmental subjects.
Even more impact is in the planning for the coming year and in addition to Springfield High Schools’ integration of Cooler Communities into the Sustainathon, Springfield International Charter School will be hosting their own Cooler Communities event. The students’ work will be amplified by direct community outreach in the city, sponsored by Ener-G-save, Cooler Communities parent organization, in collaboration with many local partners.
After Springfield High School science classes began preparing for a Cooler Communities event at the 2020 Sustainathon, Covid made it necessary to postpone the event.
In 2021, over 1000 High School students will be participating in Cooler Communities Springfield and Sustainathon programs during April.
A Pandemic won’t stop Springfield High School students from thinking about climate change, energy conservation and sustainability.
Both the “Sustainathon”, hosted by Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) and the “Cooler Communities” program have found a way to virtually engage over 1000 High School students along with their friends, families and neighbors.
Over the past months, students have studied a variety of topics related to climate change and energy in their classrooms and designed a number of actions they and their peers want to take to help make Springfield a safer, cleaner, and healthier place to live.
Now available for the general public to see as well, these actions are hosted on a the Cooler Springfield action platform to which everyone is invited to come and learn about and pledge relevant actions. As users sign in and choose actions that are right for them, the platform tallies the number of actions pledged and the number of individuals or households participating. Students will pledge actions in class and invite their families and friends to join them.
The idea is to show students the relevance of their learning and the difference they can make in their community.
The platform creates momentum around a healthier way to live and shows community members that we can support and reinforce each other in our intentions. Whether it is scheduling a free energy audit for your home or apartment, getting rid of unwanted junk mail or including more meat-free meals in your diet, the action platform gives you the information you need to make informed choices about your abilities to keep Springfield liveable.
The Cooler Communities team is extremely grateful to Springfield schools and especially Ron St Amand, the science director for High Schools, and science teacher Jenn Cherry, for their collaboration during a time that was incredibly difficult for everyone working in the school system.
Springfield Schools will receive a $5000 grant for their participation in Cooler Communities to be spent on materials, products or projects that further the cause of sustainability among students.
The Sustainathon brings Springfield Technical Community College students, local high school students, industry stakeholders, scientists, and the community together to create awareness of current sustainability challenges and the importance of STEM innovative solutions for enhancing economic livelihood, workforce development, and quality of life of communities in Western Massachusetts. This event will coincide with world-wide efforts towards environmental sustainability and stewardship in celebration of Earth Day.
The online event on April 14th from 10am to 12pm will feature more than 20 interactive exhibits focusing on environmental sustainability topics including conservation, healthy rivers, as well as issues around food and climate.
The Springfield students invite everyone to learn about what you can do to help sustain Springfield and beyond, and share in the action during this Earth Day season.
Cooler Communities Springfield was made possible by the generous support of the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts.