Winners of George School’s Annual Green Initiative Contest Announced

Missing from photo Howard Chan. (Photo by Scott Seraydarian '90)

The Environmental Stewardship Oversight Committee (ESOC) is pleased to announce the winners of the 2019 George School Green Initiative Contest. A total of forty-five students entered the contest and submitted twenty-seven proposals.

“The contest enables students to thoroughly discuss and collaborate sustainable ideas with Physical Plant staff,” said Mike Gersie, director of operations. “Students met with project managers, grounds personnel, electricians, HVAC technicians, maintenance mechanics, and plumbers to discuss project costs and feasibility.”

Students can work independently or in groups to submit proposals that focus on energy conservation, environmental education, educational community outreach, renewable energy, or sustainable living. Formal proposals must include a statement of how the idea reflects George School’s mission and a cost estimate including potential savings for the school. The students are given a budget of $50,000.

Proposals were reviewed by the ESOC committee and twelve teams were invited to present their ideas in person. Seven winners were selected based on merit, feasibility, originality, and cost.

“What I love most about this contest is the promotion of self-efficacy, entrepreneurship, and citizenship engagement. The students paid close attention to their living environment, identifying problems and seeking practical solutions,” said Gloria DeNoon, George School Trustee and clerk of ESOC.

Katherine Hoang ’19 partnered on two successful proposals this year. “I am very excited to have both of my projects selected and to have my last few months at George School make a green impact on the community,” said Katherine.

Each winning team or individual will have their projects implemented by the school and receive an American Express gift card. The Green Initiative Contest is a biennial contest. The school has plans to host the contest again during the 2020—2021 school year.

“This is a wonderful example of George School’s mission in action – where academic excellence, care for the earth, and using one’s knowledge to benefit others come together,” said Head of School Sam Houser.

This year’s winners and projects are:

Howard Chan ’21—Reusable Chopsticks. Replacing the school’s current one-time use wooden or bamboo chopsticks with reusable metal chopsticks. 

Conrad Vakili ’20  & Cesar Arreguin ’20—Hand Pedal Valve in Dish Room. Instead of having the water constantly running through the trough, students or staff can use a pedal to activate running water only when necessary.

Matisse VanGeem ’19 & Katherine Hoang ’19—Utensil Dispensers. Implement utensil dispensers that display crucial data such as how many utensils have been used, CO2 emissions that resulted from this use, or money wasted. The aim of this idea is to raise awareness.

Anney Ye ’20 & Clare Wang ’20—Install Hand Dryers. Replace paper towel dispensers with high‐efficiency electrical hand dryers in the school’s Main building, using the empty wall space to displace educational posters about environmental education or outreach.  

Ashleigh Curry ’20— Room Temp Controllers. Install temperature controllers with a designated range of temperatures to the existing fan coil units in Main building to help reduce energy costs.

Kate Lyden ’20 & Isabel Coulter-Daly ’20—Marshall LED Lighting. Replacing all fluorescent lights in Marshall Center with LED lights, resulting in a savings of more than $1,000 each year.

Katherine Hoang ’19 & Mindy Xu ’19—Label Recycling Bins. Enhance the labeling of recycle cans around campus with signs that not only show the name of the type of bin, but also some symbolic images of what can and what cannot go into the bins.

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