On Wednesdays, the club’s 100 students flock into the cafeteria for their weekly meeting, huddle with their team captains for a quick check-in and then fan out into the hallways of the district’s largest school, with oversized rolling bins, stopping in classrooms to collect used office paper, plastics, soda cans, juice containers and other recyclables. These young conservationists eagerly devote their time and energy to the twin goals of keeping their school clean of items that might otherwise be trashed and serving as good stewards of the environment. Last school year, the team helped their school amass 109 tons of recyclables.
So what’s in it for them? For one thing, many will readily tell you they’re headed to college and they know colleges look favorably on applicants with a track record of community service hours. And they say they feel good knowing they are doing something positive for their school.
The team’s Captain of Captains Genesis Delgado, a senior, is a four-year veteran of the club who plans to apply her community service hours to admission to the University of North Texas, where she hopes to study fine arts. Asked why she’s a green team member, Delgado says, “It’s easy to do. It’s nice to know you’re part of something positive and it helps keep the campus clean.” Like many of the green team members, Delgado also supports projects such as canned food drives and serves as a volunteer at her church. Her interest in service is typical of the students chosen to serve as captains by the club’s faculty sponsors: Julie Rasmuson, Peter Goldstein and Elizabeth Castro.
Rasmuson, who on this day is busy verifying logs that document the students’ service hours, said she enjoys working with the students who she described as “bright, community-minded and passionate about school.” She also hopes their enthusiasm for sustainability will spread to their families and peers.
The members’ service extends into the community where they volunteer at community recycling efforts, and community cleanup events such as the For Love of the Lake clean up at White Rock Lake and the annual city Recycling Round Ups where they help people unload their recyclables and assist with collection at the various recycling stations.
The Green Team’s efforts have paid off in other ways. The students efforts are the primary reason the district’s sanitation services vendor, Waste Management, last year selected Skyline as one of three schools to receive its $1,000 award, presented in recognition of outstanding recycling efforts.