D65 Green Teams meeting discusses improving environmental initiatives


Alec Carroll/The Daily Northwestern

Green Team members from D65 schools attend a meeting held at Lorraine H. Morton Civic Center on Wednesday. Parents and staff discussed potential ways to improve schools’ environmental policies.

Adrian Wan, Reporter

A gathering of Evanston/Skokie School District 65 parents and staff criticized the district’s environmental policies and suggested ways to improve schools’ sustainability at a meeting Wednesday.

About ten representatives from the Green Teams, composed of parents and staff from individual District 65 schools, gathered at Lorraine H. Morton Civic Center to evaluate their past achievements, many of which were coordinated by grassroots organizations. They also criticized the district for not paying enough attention to sustainability.

One achievement the members discussed was the work of local nonprofit Evanston Food Exchange in providing District 65 schools with locally grown food. Secretary Anne Sills said the organization, which prepares hot lunches at Evanston Township High School and disseminates them throughout the district, has been important in “improving students’ health.”

“We’ve been really proud of the effort we made for those who get most isolated in Evanston,” Sills said.

Green Team members have worked with other programs and institutions — such as the Mayor’s Climate Action Resilience Plan Working Group, Citizens‘ Greener Evanston and Northwestern University to implement a range of sustainable development projects, said member Becky Brodsky, a representative from Dr. Bessie Rhodes School of Global Studies.

By encouraging each school to switch to composting and recycling, the district can significantly reduce food waste and alleviate pollution issues, she said.

She added that the green initiatives need to adopt a “top-down” approach. As the district oversees the design of curriculum and purchase of food packagings and utensils provided in each school, it is important that reform comes with support from the district.

“Our real goal is for the district to have a sustainability policy that is comprehensive, reasonable and enforced in the city,” Brodsky said. “It trickles down and holds the whole school accountable.”

District 65 board member Rebeca Mendoza said while Evanston is known for its progressiveness, sustainable development projects haven’t received enough backing from district officials.

“One of the things that strikes me is that middle school is where we were indoctrinated to recycle … but we no longer have a sustainability committee in District 65,” Mendoza said.“It’s really inspiring to see all these volunteers doing things for our school, but it has to be institutionalized and be part of our practices.”

The Green Team members will meet Jan. 29 to continue discussing potential reforms.

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