Senior Sustainability Class Report
In our sustainability seminar, we have been considering our mission statement, in relation to sustainability, and how it must be compared with both nearby schools and the Chewonki School and foundation, where our class spent a week in the fall. We thought that having a better understanding of sustainability throughout GFA and a more explicit mention of sustainability would help guide and improve our approach to sustainability.
We spoke with several faculty members and administrators to closely look at how and if sustainability is exemplified in our mission statement, and posed the following questions to the GFA faculty and staff to have a better understanding of sustainability’s place within the mission statement.
1. When you think of sustainability, what comes to mind?
2. Where and how do you see sustainability exemplified at GFA?
3. Do you think sustainability education is captured in our mission? If so, where is it best exemplified? Could it be more explicit? If not, should it be in our mission?
There was an overwhelming consensus that GFA had sustainability implicitly in our mission statement. Many suggested that this was reflected through the values of “integrity” and “excellence,” as well as the phrases “life of purpose,” “partnership” and “globally minded.” Mr. Whelan even noted that, if we were not pursuing sustainability in a balanced and well-intentioned manner, we would not be honoring the values of “excellence” and “integrity.”
While the faculty and staff cited many instances of sustainability throughout campus, through recycling, composting, use of solar panels, this discussion also shed light on GFA habits that can be improved for the future. This includes reducing the use of paper “team psychs” for athletic games, the use of gas leaf blowers, and increasing public transportation and carpooling.