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Sustainability at Xavier College
Pope Francis, sometimes described as the ‘Green Pope’, is well known for his views on climate change. His recent encyclical Laudato Si’ (On Care for our Common Home) urgently appealed for a ‘new dialogue on how we are shaping the planet.’
We have to realise that a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor. - Laudato Si’ (49).
Sustainability programs at Xavier College have been growing in energy, enthusiasm and momentum. We are delighted to have all three campuses signed up to the ResourceSmart Schools program. This is a Victorian Government initiative that helps schools benefit from embedding sustainability into everything they do. Schools take action to minimise waste, save energy and water, promote biodiversity and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Burke Hall, Kostka Hall and the Senior Campus have been working together to gather baseline data on campus resource consumption, reviewing curriculum, infrastructure and daily operations and recognising prior achievements and opportunities for improvement. The three campuses have introduced a new comingled recycling program, organised a pedal-powered smoothie and vegie/plant stall at the Maytime Fair, explored the eco-house created by the New Joneses during a student excursion to City Square and hosted a sustainability field trip, The Yarra River Walk, at the 2016 Jesuit Education Conference. The walk was proposed to be a practical experience of Pope Francis’ message of ‘Care for Our Common Home’.
Pedal powered smoothies at the Maytime Fair
What’s been happening at the Senior Campus?
Overall, 2016 has been a huge success for the Sustainability Committee. It’s amazingly rewarding to see boys so committed to creating a more sustainable environment within the school. Caring for our natural environment is a great way to exercise your Ignatian values! Last year we had huge success with the installation of our new bike racks out near the Montague Quad. We would like to encourage you to ride to school. It is great exercise and a much more sustainable way to come to school than having your parents drive you.
In 2016 the committee’s main focus has been on recycling, because we used to be pretty terrible at it. If we want to leave a lasting legacy on the school, we have to pass it on to the next generation, and the same goes for sustainability in general. We must think to the future and not just for today if we want to truly make a difference.
Matt Connors, Environment Prefect 2016
The student sustainability committee has been very active this year. The main achievement has been setting up the house recycling program. The program has involved purchasing bins, designing labelling, trialling the program in one house and then implementing the program in all ten Xavier senior campus houses. Each house has a student recycling coordinator and team of students who empty recycling weekly, monitor the bins and educate the students in their house about recycling. Weekly house recycling information is displayed around the school on TV screens. 50 boys are involved in the program.
Alongside the recycling program, students visited the New Joneses eco house in City Square, organised a pedal-powered smoothie stall at the Maytime Fair and, as a reward for students participating in ‘Ride to School’ day, hosted a BBQ to raise funds for the recycling program.
Bronwen Kellett, Senior Campus Sustainability Coordinator
Edward Morton, Fionn Coffey and Tom Harris at the New Joneses
Recycling launch on Environment Day
What’s been happening at Kostka Hall?
The introduction of the Environment Monitors across all year levels has enabled important messages about the environment to be shared. The main tasks of the Environment Monitors are to ensure interactive whiteboards are switched off at the end of the day, blinds are opened in the classrooms to maximise the use of natural light and yellow eco bins are emptied on a weekly basis. As the saying goes, ‘From little things, big things grow.’ If each of the classes across the school implements these small changes, we will use less electricity and become more environmentally friendly.
Tom Lowe, KH Environment captain (Year 8)
This year I was chosen to be one of the Environmental Leaders at Kostka Hall. We have experienced that the environment is more than just putting bags in the recycling bin: it’s about helping and changing the world so no animals become extinct. We suggested that we try to use less electricity by turning off lights and using bikes instead of cars, etc.
Elias Ladas, KH Environment Leader (Yr 4)
Sustainability does not stop there. At home you could turn off the tap if you are not using it and turn off your lights.
Rhodri Lloyd, KH Environment Leader (Yr 4)
Tomorrow’s Leaders for Sustainability. Bayside City Council, together with the Port Philip Eco Centre, has provided Kostka Hall with the opportunity to take part in a series of 12 Workshops inclusive of an excursion in our Bay environment. As a school we chose students from Year 6 to participate in this program. Each Thursday morning during Term 3, Sharron Hunter facilitated classes whereby the boys have a chance to grow in their understanding of leadership, waste, energy, biodiversity, sustainability and how important it is to care for Mother Earth. Pope Francis in his encyclical said, ‘The earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor.’ The culmination of these workshops will see the boys create a project to assist Kostka Hall become a more sustainable environment. We are very grateful to Bayside Council for sponsoring such a worthwhile program.
Gerry Sullivan, KH Sustainability Coordinator
Kostka Hall Kindergarten students watering their playground garden bed
What’s been happening at Burke Hall?
- Active BH environment group (BHEG) meeting fortnightly.
- School vegetable garden. Students involved in planting vegies in the vegie patch to be ready for harvest for student environment group lunches.
- Excursions to the Yarra River with students and staff.
- Environment Day with much green to be seen everywhere and there were many activities including Guest Speakers from the Friends of the Earth as well as Old Xaverian, Mr Gerry Ryan, who spoke of his work helping to save endangered animals around the World. The greenest classes this year take part in bushwalk/picnic days in Yarra Bend during Term 4.
- School Assembly organised and run by the student BHEG. There were songs, prayers, information, prizes, audience participation and a very captivating mock debate with a Climate Sceptic. (Professor Hanson from Queensland did look a little like Mr Sullivan from Kostka Hall according to some staff!)
- Mini-wetlands at Burke Hall modelled on the Yarra River. During the winter holidays the long awaited BHEG stream and pond biodiversity area was completed by a landscape gardening team. The original idea for the pond was initiated and planned for by the BHEG. Student members of the BHEG were involved in planting out and in the upkeep of this wonderful new addition to the Burke Hall Campus.
Mark Beers, BH Sustainability Coordinator
BHEG mini-wetlands modelled on the Yarra River.
BHEG dressing up for Environment Day