Diving into the garbage dumpsters, fully equipped from head to toe in white plastic jumpsuits, participants of Waste Audit sorted through mixed bags of garbage, picking out recyclable and organic materials from the rest. This project quantifies the amount and types of waste being generated by a community.
“I decided to be in this activity because I have always been interested in projects concerning environmental sustainability and this [activity] seemed like a great way to get involved in a very basic entry level,” said Nicole Durrett ’17, who participated in Waste Audit.
Throughout the day, Durrett especially enjoyed collecting and comparing data to that gathered during previous years’ Waste Audits. Some of the data included measurements of how much recycling and organic matter was in the trash and how much trash had been placed in the recycling bins.
“This activity really forced me to think about how I dispose of my waste and how much our community doesn’t know yet about what they can or cannot recycle and how they can each make a huge impact on what sort of trace we leave on this Earth and how we can diminish our foot print,” said Durrett.
Clearing fields, sorting out donations and watching documentaries were among the other choices of activities that Andover students and faculty could participate in during last week’s Non Sibi Weekend. Like last year, the activities this year were all centered around a different theme unique to each class; Juniors worked with organizations that helped children and families, Lowers explored the environment and sustainability, Uppers worked with initiatives that combat hunger and promote health and Seniors assisted organizations that focused on homelessness and housing.
Early in the morning, Daniel Yen ’18 travelled with a different group of 24 students to Lowell, Mass. to volunteer at The Wish Project, an organization working to provide clean furniture, clothing, home and baby goods to 35,000 people in the Merrimack Valley each year.
“The Wish Project was created by a volunteer woman who realized that a lot of services [helped] people in need but did not complement each other… so [the goal of the organization] was to pool all of these resources together so that there would be a more whole way to approach community service and help those in need. It is so great that there are people willing to do this,” said Yen.
Alexis Lefft ’16 volunteered at the Greater Boston Food Bank. Her work took her off campus and into Boston, where she spent around two and a half hours organizing donated goods.
Lefft said, “I didn’t really know what [the choices] were and I was unfamiliar [with them] so I was open to anything… When I was younger I benefitted more, just because each year has a different focus and the focus set during my Junior year and Lower year were more appealing to me… I knew more about the issue at hand.”
As the coordinator for the Youth Development Organization community service, Lefft recognizes the importance that the school motto, “Non Sibi,” carries on campus.
“I think if we’re going to have school off for Non Sibi [Weekend] then it should be an all-day thing. Personally, I think Non Sibi Weekend should be once a week, but that’s not feasible, I guess,” said Lefft.
Katerina Toffoloni ’15 attended a talk about homelessness for the “Faces of Homelessness” program. In this program, three previously homeless people were invited to share their stories and perspective on being homeless.
“Just hearing about how people can become homeless whether it be drugs, alcohol, abandonment really brought awareness to me. Also, the talk included how to deal and help with someone homeless on the street which I found very useful,” said Toffoloni.
Toffoloni was particularly struck by the power stereotypes have on the homeless, such as how the money given to the homeless is used to pay for alcohol or drugs.
“That’s not always true. You could always help. You could always give them food, there’s always something small you could do to support them,” said Toffoloni.
To improve how Non Sibi weekend operates, Toffoloni feels as if the programs could have had lengthier descriptions.
“[For] many of the activities, I didn’t have a good idea of what it was, so I could’ve maybe done something that I would’ve loved, I just didn’t know what it was,” said Toffoloni.
*Editor’s note: This article was updated on May 2 at 6:40 pm to correct factual errors.*