At its core, being sustainable requires that, in meeting our needs, we do not decrease the potential of current and future generations to meet their needs.
Choate Rosemary Hall's essential mission is the education of young people so they become informed, active, and responsible members of the world community. To ensure our students gain a fuller awareness of that world and their impact on it, we incorporate sustainability into the life of the school, with emphasis on three overarching areas: curriculum, student life, and school operations.
Understanding the long-term impacts that our actions have on others, resources, the environment, and quality of life requires a strong foundation in the sciences, humanities, and the arts.
Sustainability in the context of the curriculum is defined as subject matter that promotes environmental literacy – the ability of students to understand the natural world, and to examine critically policies, statements, predictions, and results related to the impacts that humans have on the environment.
Some of the topics in courses that meet this definition include ecology and other environmental sciences, environmental ethics, economics, policy, and history, and the portrayal of nature in literature and the arts. Individual courses and programs of study that incorporate multiple disciplines are particularly valued.
Sustainability Goals for Curriculum
- Establish sustainability in all of its facets as a core value in our academic program, particularly in courses required for graduation.
- Incorporate into all curriculum development grants the following questions: Will sustainability be addressed in the curriculum development work in some manner? If yes, how?
- Develop a mechanism to assess how well our courses teach or enhance environmental literacy.
- Develop a mechanism to assess our students’ environmental literacy.
High school years are a time of growth, exploration, and discovery; they are a transitional period during which young adults acquire the skills, develop the habits, and gain perspectives that influence how they will live their lives and interact with the world around them. As our students navigate this period in their lives, we provide them with opportunities to engage physically and intellectually with that world and to develop a perspective on the connections between local actions and global consequences.
Sustainability in the context of student life is defined as the organizations, events, and initiatives we offer our students outside of the classroom through which they educate community members, promote environmental awareness, and practice sustainable living. A sample of these are:
Sustainability Goals for Student Life
- Emphasize sustainability as a core value in residential life and advising.
- Continue to train and educate students through a combination of events, workshops, speakers and peer-to-peer education opportunities.
- Evaluate programs and policies as they pertain to student life with an eye towards maximizing sustainability in these programs.
- Support the work of the Diversity Education Committee as it pertains to justice and inclusion, which are core tenets of sustainability.
- Engage students, faculty, and staff in the evaluation and modification of these programs.
Sustainability in the context of school operations is defined as school-wide practices and policies that minimize the use of energy, water, and other resources as well as the production of waste while supporting and improving the long-term viability of the institution. Managing the long-term impacts that Choate has on its students, others, resources, the environment, and quality of life requires the collaboration of various groups including students, trustees, senior administrators, faculty, staff, the financial office, information technology, human resources, and custodial, dining, and facilities services.
Sustainability Goals for School Operations
- Carry out a full and accurate assessment of the school’s carbon footprint.Develop an alternative energy plan.
- Continue with and expand current efficiency improvements.
- Modify purchasing policy to include more or all green choices.
- Develop a construction policy.
- Analyze and improve waste reduction and recycling.
- Assess in an ongoing manner the technology, broadly defined (computers, lighting, HVAC, alternative energy systems, etc), that the school employs and how it is used.
- Analyze the environmental impact of grounds maintenance procedures.
- Track and reduce campus water use, including waste water (all non-irrigation water) and potable water (includes irrigation).
- Assess the cost, availability, and pros and cons of carbon offsets.
- Implement a training program for new staff and faculty and resources for continued education.
- Develop a transparent mechanism for reporting the school’s progress to the community.
As we work to achieve the goals inherent in this three-pronged approach, 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.