What does the students’ Environment & Sustainability Committee in Secondary do?
Who are we?
This year, the Environment and Sustainability Committee (ESC) of ISPP in Secondary school is a group consisting of 13 student members and two teachers that work every week towards making ISPP a greener and more environmentally sustainable place. There are two subcommittees under the ESC – Greening Up and Environmental Action Committee (EAC). Among many goals, we worked on reducing food waste in our school, recycling paper, increasing awareness on social media and a trash collection initiative.
To try to reduce food waste, we focused on finding ways to measure how much food was being consumed in our school, spread awareness about food waste within the school and come up with solutions to sustainably dispose of clean and dirty food waste from the school’s cafeteria. Apart from morning announcements and posters, we worked closely with Epicure to plan the steps leading up to the ultimate goal of halving ISPP’s food waste by the end of the academic year. Although we still have a long way to go with this endeavour, we hope next year we’ll be able to work harder to reach this goal.
The social media team has been raising awareness regarding environmental issues such as plastic waste, food waste and promoting our community garden project. Through all this, we raised awareness about such environmental issues. By writing posts and stories on our activities and environmental issues on our Instagram account, we were able to reach a large number of app community members, students especially. Because students play a fundamental role in keeping our app community an eco-friendly space, we saw drastic improvements in plastic and food waste. We also gained several new members for our community garden through promoting on social media and in school through posters.
Click here for the Environment and Sustainability Committee’s Instagram account.
Along with our programs, we also restarted recycling paper with the support of one of our ESC sub-committees, as well as the Global Citizenship program SCADS (saving cats and dogs). We shredded paper and donated it to an organisation suggested by Mr Brown. This organisation is turning shredded paper into cat litter. Since this was an endeavour that was closer to the end of the last school year, we didn’t accomplish as much as we would’ve liked to. Ultimately, moving forward, we will send as much shredded paper as we can. This year, we will encourage students and teachers to resume paper recycling and we will look for other organisations that make use of scrap paper.
Trash Collection Initiative
Bisruti writes: The environment is something that I’ve always been passionate about and this passion was heightened by being a part of the ESC, so I wanted to start an initiative that was outside of school, but still provided the opportunity for collaboration between students and locals, as well as promote behavioural change. That’s why I created The Street Sweepers. Working with Nisset Plastic, a local NGO, I was able to get ISPP students, teachers, and other members of the international community to work together with locals from Nisset Plastic to clean up one area of Phnom Penh and, through social media, promote behavioural change throughout the city. I hope that upon my graduation another person will take over this passion project and try to make our city a little cleaner!
Last year, we successfully started a Community Garden, located on the left side of the field, where we have a variety of vegetables including tomato, aubergine (eggplants), okra, cucumber, aromatic plants like mint, basil and aloe vera, and bush and fruit trees like avocado, coconut, cassava, cotton and pineapple. We also have a sunflower and even more seedlings which have just started to sprout. We aim to show the importance of the diversity of the plants that can grow in this environment, so we named our space “Biodiversity Garden”.
Under the leadership of Environment and Sustainability Committee students (ESC), the Community Garden also collaborated with Greening Up.
We think that gardens are such beautiful spaces for everyone to learn about nature, as well as to build community, get inspired and relax. We read articles saying that school gardens can improve environmental awareness and sustainability, increase consumption of fruits and vegetables, increase social and emotional skills and also improve academic performance! This garden is a shared area for different projects, for school activities or to chill out and admire the plants growing.
We planted seeds and watched them sprout. We planted stems and even sprouted some avocados and pineapples from kitchen scraps. We are grateful to the Elementary Garden for sharing some seedlings with us like the sunflowers and aubergines. We returned the exchange with a cotton seedling.
Also, thanks to the support of the ISPP gardeners, we now have a thriving garden with aromatic plants, vegetables and fruit trees. We are planning to expand it with new garden beds this year and harvest more vegetables to cook or donate! We also hope to enlarge our community garden to interested members, including parents and guardians.
The single-use plastic norm in ISPP
We aim to continue raising as much awareness as possible regarding environmental issues in our community to keep ISPP an eco-friendly space. The issue of single-use plastic is an ever-increasing one and its understanding in ISPP has been on our radar for a few years. As covid restrictions lessen, more markets open leading to an escalation in the numbers of single-use plastic which is being brought into ISPP. For this reason, due to the severity of the problem, many people, organisations and initiatives like us are promoting new habits in the city.
One of the school’s four pillars of the Strategic Plan 2020-2024 that the community members worked on is the Environment. Therefore, we aim to uphold his strategic plan, through social media raising as much awareness as possible and expanding our reach to the best of our abilities in our community.
On Monday 22 April, the world celebrated Earth Day and initiatives were being held around the globe. At ISPP, the ESC encouraged every class to save energy by turning off the lights and reducing the use of AC, having many classrooms extend this initiative for longer times.
Plans and goals
We hope that our initiatives will help us all to recognise the issues and encourage everyone to care more about the environment. Next year, the EAC plans to continue working on our garden, reduce at least one-third of our school’s food waste, and enforce the current norms about single-use plastics. We hope to have more school events to engage students, staff and teachers towards environmental sustainability.
More about ISPP – an eco-school here.
ESC Student Leaders – Sovann Dara B (Wattai), Rathanak Mony B, Alisha R, Sophia P, Bisruti P, Kelly K | Grade 11
Laura B | Grade 9, Maya Z and Luz M | Grade 7 and Erik B | Grade 6
with Alessandra Giuliani and Adriana Vargas | Secondary Teachers