From the Sustainability Director

A Message from the Sustainability Director:

Choate is committed to: teaching ourselves even as we learn from others what it means to be socially, economically, and environmentally responsible; challenging community members to take personal responsibility for individual and collective actions; modeling sustainability education for K-12 institutions; and promoting sustainability locally and globally. In so doing, we hope to guarantee that present and future students can enjoy the beauty, diversity, and resources of the Earth for generations to come. As Nelson Mandela said, "Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world."

We recognize that as a community we need to reduce our impact on the environment. This includes reducing our carbon footprint and developing sustainable practices in terms of environmental stewardship, social equity, and economic development.

Some of our existing programs:

  • Green Cup Challenge - an interscholastic competition to reduce electricity usage
  • Hydro Cup Challenge - a program we created to educate our community about ways to reduce water usage and the value of clean water
  • Food composting and trayless dining
  • Clean Plate Raffle - to help reduce food waste
  • Earth Week Activities
  • Comprehensive recycling program
  • Collection of gently-used items from the dorms to distribute to local philanthropic organizations
  • Eco-Reps for dorms and day student areas

Choate is working toward a greater understanding of, and commitment to, the importance of our natural world and the resources it provides us. We invite you as a member of our community to join us in achieving our goals.

Working together, we must learn to Conserve, Re-use, and Recycle our resources. We have provided a list of ways that YOU can get involved in making a difference in our energy and water conservation and in our reduction of general waste and greenhouse gas emissions. While some of these suggestions relate to practices boarding students can implement in residential houses here at Choate, all are habits that everyone can acquire and practice on campus and at home, wherever home might be. Whether you are a day or boarding student, as you settle into life and learning at Choate, keep an eye out for the signs of our sustainability efforts throughout campus and refer to the Sustainability section in the Student Handbook for more information.

The 2017-18 academic year marks the sixth year of the Kohler Environmental Center (KEC), home to a group of students participating in the environmentally-focused interdisciplinary Environmental Immersion Program (EIP) where they also learn to live sustainably in this remarkable LEED-Platinum building. Be sure to get to know some of these students and plan to spend time at the KEC. Recent campus construction projects include: The Cameron and Edward Lanphier Center for Mathematics and Computer Science (LEED-Gold certified), and St. John Hall, awaiting LEED-Gold certification, and touting many environmentally-friendly features as well.

If you are interested in becoming more involved in our sustainability efforts, join the Environmental Action Coalition Club or the Students Against Climate Change Club. Please contact the Sustainability Committee or the Conservation Proctors (C-Proctors) with your ideas or suggestions.

"Remember we do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children." – Chief Seattle

Katrina Linthorst Homan
Sustainability Director


  • Buy LED or compact fluorescent bulbs. They use 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs, and they last longer.
  • Recycle all packaging as you settle into your room. Your house advisers can help with specifics.
  • Use paper made from recycled pre-consumer or post-consumer waste. Try using paper that is a minimum of 30% post-consumer fiber. Also look for paper that is processed acid- and chlorine-free.
  • New students are given a reusable Choate water bottle during Orientation. You can refill yours at bottle-filling stations or drinking fountains throughout campus instead of buying bottled water.
  • All dorm rooms are furnished with recycling containers. Separate aluminum foil and cans, paper, glass, and recyclable plastics from the rest of your trash and make sure all items are properly recycled. Be sure to also use recycling containers throughout campus whenever possible.
  • Reduce the amount of energy that you use by turning off the lights when you leave the room, powering down your computer, and unplugging all chargers when not in use.
  • Turn off the water when brushing your teeth and washing your face, take shorter showers, and report leaking faucets and running toilets to your adviser.
  • Re-use materials whenever possible. This includes reusable coffee mugs, water bottles, and paper. Use metal flatware instead of disposable plastic utensils.
  • Carpooling with friends to and from school is a great option, whether you are a day student or a boarding family returning to and from school.
  • Help reduce food waste in the Dining Hall by taking only the amount of food you know you can eat. You can always go back for more.
  • Our community picnic plates, bowls, cups, and utensils are reusable, so we can divert paper and plastic waste from the landfill after large-scale events. Help spread the word and make sure that these items are not disposed of and are returned to Dining Services.
  • Think outside the balloon! Biodegradable latex balloons take up to 4 years to fully degrade and are a danger to wildlife who may ingest them. For this reason, we do not allow balloons at school events.
  • We have banned the use of Styrofoam as food containers and discourage its use for packaging materials.
  • Recycle in your classes! The recycling containers in the classrooms are designed for you to put all recycling in there: paper, cans, bottles, newspapers, etc. The materials will be separated and recycled.

Thank you for doing your part.