More than 300 Detroit Public Schools students, teachers, and parents attended the DPS Go Green Challenge Mid-Year Celebration at Cass Technical High School on Wednesday, Jan. 21. The event celebrated the work of 47 DPS schools that have earned a total of $7,050 for their work so far in making their schools, homes and communities greener and more sustainable.
The DPS Go Green Challenge is a year-long competition for schools focused on project-based STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) learning activities in sustainability. The school’s “Green Teams” compete in five phases throughout the academic year in the areas of Recycling, Energy/Water Conservation, Gardening and Nutrition. Up to 30 points are available for activities such as patrolling your school for energy waste, completing science curriculum in sustainability, or hosting sustainability-focused parent workshops.
In the first two years of the program, more than 60 schools participated and saved $798,816 in utility costs. The savings generated by schools are part of over $8 million in cost-savings, matching funds and donations secured by the DPS Office of Energy and Sustainability which manages the program.
More importantly, the program has provided a platform for teachers to engage their students in STEM projects. These project-based learning activities directly impact students’ lives by improving their schools, homes, and communities.
Attendees at the celebration were provided with refreshments by the DPS Office of School Nutrition. During the reception, activities were available for the students including recycled bowling, green t-shirt making and other games with sustainability themes.
During the awards ceremony, Akoco Grace, a DPS parent and Vertical Market Manager at Office Depot, was recognized as an “Outstanding Supporter” of DPS Go Green. Grace is a founding member of the DPS Go Green Advisory Board and has generously provided gift bags of sustainable office products to DPS Go Green schools for the last five celebrations.
One of the highlights of the evening was the announcement that the DPS Pilot Recycling Program will be expanding this spring to include an additional 20 schools. All DPS Go Green schools are eligible to apply to receive on-site recycling services at their school.
“Last year DPS Go Green schools participated in the National Recycle Bowl competition and recycled 30,000 pounds of material over the four-week contest. This year, we recycled over 50,000 pounds of material – a 66% increase. Many of the teachers and parents who helped make this happen drove recyclables in their cars and trucks to drop-off locations. With this level of dedication, it was clear we had to do more to make recycling available at their schools,” said Emile Lauzzana, Director, DPS Office of Energy and Sustainability.
Currently, green teams are in the midst of saving energy at their schools – completing projects like patrolling their schools to turn off lights, unplugging unused appliances, powering down for school breaks, performing classroom energy audits, and reading their electric meters. In the spring, green teams look forward to water, gardening, and nutrition projects, as well as competing for over $20,000 in awards.
About the DPS Go Green Challenge
The Challenge is an innovative partnership that brings a diverse group of supporters including the Bosch Community Fund and Office Depot, non-profit partners AmeriCorps, EcoWorks, Green Living Science, and DPS Offices of Operations, Science, and School Nutrition to support DPS schools whose students, teachers, and staff are leading the District’s charge in Going Green.
For more information contact: Emile Lauzzana, AIA, LEED AP, Director of Energy and Sustainability at 313.578.7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.