Just last week we held a recycling "stakeholders meeting" at Melawati, including Vicky Sethuraman (Canteen Supervisor) and Sumathy Kandiah (Assistant to the Principal), Sophia (Head Cleaner), Indran Savasivam (Campus Supervisor), Sharil (Sam's Snacks), our external recycling partner and our new Melawati Recycling Club advisor, Jorge Arismendi. Oh, and myself, of course!
As I took a look around the table I realized just how much cooperation it takes to get things off the ground and create a well-rounded culture of recycling at our school. The curriculum covers it in many areas (the most obvious being the 3rd grade Reduce, Reuse, Recycling unit) and our facilities offer inviting sets of bins to attract passers-by to partake and to prompt our students to get into the mind frame of "taking care of this place". But over the years we have identified a slight disconnect between our 'covering' the topic in the curriculum and asking our staff to do the brunt of the work. Apart from being a shortcoming of our program, we also felt this was an excellent opportunity for our students to engage in authentic learning through doing (some might even call it service learning).
So starting this year we are initiating a Melawati Recycling Club! Working with Jorge Arismendi, our cleaning staff, facilities people and our external partners the Recycling Club will be primarily responsible for paper collection from the different pods and photocopy rooms. They will also participate in a number of educational sessions where they will learn about the "behind the scenes" goings on of recycling. They will have the chance (hopefully) to visit a distribution station and/or recycling factory along the way. In line with our new focus on service learning club members will also conduct awareness campaigns as they themselves become teachers for adults (staff, cleaning staff, parents, etc.) and students alike!
We are hopeful that this will become a great cooperative effort and allow us not only to proudly say that recycling is alive and well at Melawati, but also that our youngest students are leading the charge to changing the world, one piece of paper at a time! The on-going amounts of recycling will be kept - as always - on the Sustainable ISKL website for anyone to follow.
It's a small step for ISKL. It's a big step for our students' involvement in ensuring that we are, in fact, "taking care of this place" and becoming "social responsible world citizens". Not bad!