School Congress Calls for Stronger Environmental Policy Statement

Delegates at Monday’s School Congress discussing sustainability issues and the school’s new Environmental Policy Statement decided that the policy statement needed to be more concrete and take bolder measures than the ones in the draft. “People want a policy statement that is more strongly worded,” said Thomas Hodgson, Instructor in Religion and Philosophy and the primary author of the Environmental Policy Statement. Malin Adams ’09, School President, agreed that the draft “needed more teeth.” “People got up and they voiced their opinions and what became evident was that people saw the document was not strong enough,” said Adams. “The fact that faculty and students thought it should actually be stronger is good news because that means that environmental awareness and consciousness is a large part of our school,” said Adams. Andover’s new Sustainability Steering Committee (SSC) wrote an initial draft of the Environmental Policy Statement, which recommended a series of sustainability changes at Andover to make the school more environmentally friendly. According to Lawrence Dai ’09, Executive Secretary for Student Council, students and faculty were first briefed by John Rogers, Dean of Studies and Head of the SSC. Then they broke up into smaller groups to discuss the draft. Afterwards, students and faculty returned to a large group and presented their sentiments, Dai said. “I think the big thing to take away was to bring awareness to the community about the environmental changes that were already being made…and at the same time, talk about the future with the Environmental Policy Statement,” said Adams. Hodgson said the Sustainability Steering Committee plans to “review all written and spoken comments.” Hodgson continued, “[We will] make any revisions we think are warranted by overall community sentiment, relevant environmental and institutional facts and our best sense of the proper role of the policy statement itself now and in the future.” Following the revision of the document, Student Council and faculty will vote on the Environmental Policy Statement. In January, the SSC will present a revised Environmental Policy Statement to the Board of Trustees for approval. The Sustainability Steering Committee was created in Spring Term 2007 in hopes of reducing Andover’s food, water, money and energy consumption. According to Adams, most of the faculty and approximately 45 students attended School Congress. Adams said that Student Council did not publicize for this session of Student Congress. “There wasn’t a large announcement or a student-wide email because we thought that the students involved would be good representatives,” said Adams. “We invited the [cluster presidents] and the Student Council and a few other groups. That’s the population we wanted to get involved in [School Congress]. After talking about it, we wanted to have a write-up to post on class pages on PAnet,” Adams continued. Adams said that although 45 students attended Monday’s School Congress, his goal was to get “at least 10 percent of the student body in School Congress.” Adams hopes to increase the number of students at Congress “so we’ll actually have a more accurate representation of the student body.”