The Eco-club of Our Own English High School, Sharjah (OOEHS), has been working towards transforming the school into an environmentally friendly one by pursuing projects which are thought-provoking and innovative.
In its journey, members have found that the mindset of staff and students is slowly changing when it comes to conserving water, energy, recycling and incorporating best practices.
Members of the Eco-club have been divided into sub-committees based on three major themes, as proposed by the HSBC Eco-schools project.
Our themes are electricity, water and waste. This action plan was taken in order to help in spreading awareness and instilling leadership skills among students.
In order to encourage student leaders, the three respective sub-committees were given the titles of Electro-champions, Hydro-conservers, and Anti-litter Troops.
With this plan in action, the ‘Low Carbon Day' was launched. This is an initiative to minimise the wastage of energy, and is monitored by sub-committee members from grades five and six.
Fulfilling their roles
The Electro-champions ensured they put up flyers, reminding people to turn off the lights when not in use and setting the air conditioners at an appropriate temperature in classrooms.
The Hydro-conservers moved into the washrooms in teams to check for leaking taps and wastage of water, while other members ensured that potable water is not wasted by people washing their hands.
Wherever there was a fault, the administration staff was informed and asked to get it repaired.
The Anti-litter Troop undertook a clean-up campaign in the canteen area and corridors. They motivated students to dispose litter in dustbins.
Students took great pride in participating in the drive and contributing in their own small way to reducing the school's carbon footprint. Another milestone was crossed when Eco-monitors (support staff of the school) were informed about the importance of saving water and electricity.
Walking and talking in the green way, the Eco-champions imparted vital information about saving energy for Eco-monitors.
Moreover, 283 students from the school appeared for the Green Olympiad Examination conducted by The Energy and Resources Institute (Teri), based in India.
Our school scored the highest average in the Sharjah zone and so qualified for the Teri Quiz.
Two students represented the school and put up a valiant fight in the quarter-finals.
The Ecoventure Camp took place in February at Al Awadi Field Study Centre, in Dhaid. It was a weekend camp for Eco-champions from grades 7 to 11.
The camp provided an enriching experience for all the students that participated, as we worked collaboratively with students of three other eco-schools - Raffles International School, Greenwood International School and Gems World Academy.
The students went on a hike and were guided to various paddocks. The OOEHS girls chose the cacti paddock.
We were then told to go to our respective paddocks and discover how we could develop the area in a way that spreads an environmental message.
We decided on planting cacti in the shape of the recycling symbol, using cacti for the arrows and using rocks painted green as arrowheads.
We had a pleasant glow on our faces after we finished the day's work which was due to the happiness gained by giving life to new plants, and also as a result of doing our bit to save the environment.
Assembly for the environment
In sync with the Eco-schools project, 3M conducted a special assembly to create general awareness about the environment.
Students presented a lovely skit and by thinking proactively, displayed a contrast of the world's state between the year 2011 and 2020.
The eco-champions also sang a peppy song with original lyrics and music, which was a wake-up call for all to gear up to save the planet.
The Our Own Eco Club has never looked back and continues pursuing eco-initiatives year after year.
Since the dark clouds of examinations have grounded us to our books, the Eco-schools project has taken a slower pace, but we will surely come back with lightning enthusiasm and commitment.
We hope to grow and become a positive example for the rest of the community.
To be up to date with our initiatives, visit www.ourownecoactivities.kawoosa.com.
— The reader is the president of the Eco-club (Middle School) at Our Own English High School, Sharjah