At Laurentian Hills Christian School (LHCS), environmental stewardship and ecologically-efficient operations are important enough that a course at the University of Waterloo has been structured around the assessment of the LHCS’s environmental impact.
Grade 8 students at the school had the opportunity to work alongside 15 university students from the faculty of Environment and Resource Studies who are participating in the program designed by Dr. John Lewis, a Waterloo professor who happens to be a LHCS parent.
According to principal and chief operating officer Ian Timmerman, last year’s strategic planning process led the opportunity for the school to improve efficiency and lessen its environmental impact.
The strategic plan identified transportation and environmental awareness as major focal points for the school, and this university collaboration addresses them both.
“We want to make sure the operation of our school is clean and efficient,” says Timmerman.
“We certainly talk about stewardship and integrate that into our curriculum and want to make sure we’re reflecting that in ourselves in our own day-to-day operations.”
Timmerman says the fact that more than 50 Waterloo students applied for the course highlights the ingrained awareness of environmental concerns in young people today.
“It’s definitely something that’s at the front of their minds, and something they’re very aware of, but the opportunity to really put into practise what they know is an excellent opportunity,” he says.
He says he hopes partnering LHCS students with university mentors under a common goal will inspire his students to be leaders in environmental awareness.
“I heard a lot of positive feedback from students … and a lot of interest and enthusiasm,” says Timmerman.
Now that the university has completed data collection and assessment, LHCS will await recommendations, and Timmerman says his school is committed to making necessary improvements.
“That’s going to be the really exciting part,” he says.
“I imagine some of the recommendations will be easy to implement … but I imagine some of the other ones will be more challenging in terms of time, energy and expense, but it’ll be exciting to see our school move forward.”