From November, 2016 (Wellesley Townsman)
The environmental awareness community at Wellesley High School entered this school year with the intention to change the culture of their society. What was once known as the high school’s Green Team is now Wellesley High School’s Climate Action Club. With a new name and mindset, the club transitioned its mission and goals.
Olivia Gieger, president of the Climate Action Club, pushed for the changes and is looking forward to the results.
“If I say, ‘I’m with the Wellesley High School Green Team’ to somebody who doesn’t have kids in the school, or is a regular townsperson, that’s super vague,” she said. “It doesn’t convey what we really do … We wanted the name to address what we actually do, so now we’re the Climate Action Club.”
The club has shifted its mission toward conducting itself based on its name by doing more school- based initiatives, as well as reshaping the club’s perception. Thus, the group scrapped the Green Team name.
“Everyone I think thought of the Green Team as annoying and really pushy, just because of the way that we’ve been in the past,” Gieger said. “I think that the name represents an overall attitude change that we were going for this year … We don’t want to be that musty, old Green Team anymore.”
Jacqueline Katz, history teacher and adviser of the Climate Action Club, agreed with the decision made by Gieger and the other officers. “I support their reasoning to change the name of the club,” Katz said. “I think they had very good reasons for why they wanted to do it.”
“Part of the new plan is to create month-long initiatives for the school. This October, the club has been creating climate education-based lesson plans for when a substitute teacher fills in for a class. “There (will be) an equally as easy to use video or PowerPoint, worksheet or scavenger hunt that a substitute can let the kids do,” Gieger said.
She believes this will be a practical lesson plan, especially for a science class.
“It can relate easily to biology or chemistry,” Gieger said. “We’ll make it open for all teachers … just having it as an option isn’t even there right now.”
As a result of these monthly initiatives, the membership will be able to grow. Gieger hopes this will expand the sustainability community and outreach at the high school. The month-long projects can fit the schedule for, “someone that is on the soccer team in the fall but (wants) to come and help out on a project in the winter,” Gieger said. “It means that people can jump on for that month and work with us. And then come spring, if they need to be in the musical, they are still not committed to that (month’s) project.”
Cort Brewer, treasurer of the club, shares a similar goal in growing the community of the club.
“We really hope to refocus the club on educating people within the school … and try to create solutions within the town,” he said.
The efforts and abilities of the Climate Action Club’s members are evident to Katz, who has been club adviser. “It is very student-driven … I think it’s a really good club for leadership opportunities and one where I can watch students grow and mature,” Katz said. “It creates a better student in relation to the club.”
Through new projects and plans to reach out to the community, Gieger is hopeful that what started with the club changing names will benefit its future. “I think we have a really robust member base, so I hope to continue to build that and set a foundation that will last and also draw in other people.”