Green Plan Framework for a Sustainable Future
In 2009, Hillfield Strathallan College began work to develop a comprehensive Green Plan to align all aspects of its operations with the broadly held ideals of environmental stewardship, responsibility and sustainability. As stated in its 2008-2014 Strategic Plan entitled “Making a World of Difference”, the ultimate goal is to establish HSC as a leader in sustainability and environmental responsibility, to develop powerful learning opportunities to connect students to the natural world and equip them with the skills required to grapple with global challenges.
The rationale behind this priority is clear:
One of the key challenges of the 21st century is environmental. The College therefore has an ethical responsibility to lead by example.
HSC must empower its students by connecting them more fully to the natural world and by providing them with the opportunity to develop innovative ideas and solutions to existing global challenges.
HSC also must become a model of sustainability and environmental responsibility both through its academic program and in it operational decision-making.
In addition, beginning with HSC’s Transformation Project, all new facilities will embrace sustainable design. Much can be done to conserve resources and reduce waste, and to ensure that our curricula adequately prepares our students to become environmental stewards.
Green Plan Framework
The purpose of the Green Plan Framework is to provide the foundation upon which the soon-to-be established HSC Green Team will continue to build and develop the detailed Green Plan. The results of the Environmental Audit Report and the Green School Survey provided the background information that the Green School Steering Committee needed to develop the framework. This framework sets out the guiding principles that underpin the Green Plan, breaks down the basic organizational structure for the Green Plan into three sections and identifies a series of environmental objectives for the sub-components in each section.
As part of the process to develop the Green Plan Framework, the Green School Steering Committee also identified several tactics that could be employed to help achieve various objectives. The Green Plan Framework stops short of defining actual targets for achieving the environmental objectives as these will need to be determined based on more detailed examination by the Green Team. The Green Team will also have to identify the people who will ultimately be responsible for over-seeing implementation of various aspects of the Green Plan and accountable for achieving the stated environmental objectives.
The Green Plan
The challenge is to develop a Green Plan that is comprehensive in terms of ‘greening’ all aspects of the College’s operations and facilities, including curricular, co-curricular and extracurricular programs, and other initiatives related to parents, alumni and the external community. The intent is also to include strategies for communicating and engaging the College community in developing and implementing the Green Plan.
The following diagram simplifies the final structure of the Green Plan into the three over-arching categories of Education, Operations and Facilities. Detailed organization charts and tables further breakdown the Green Plan sections into Secondary and Sub-Components, each with its own environmental objectives. Under-pinning the entire Green Plan is the Strategic Plan’s priority related to environmental sustainability. The Green Plan Guiding Principles cut across all three categories, providing the sustainability filter that should inform all decision-making, attitudes and actions at the school.
Green Plan Guiding Principles
As part of the process to develop the Green Plan Framework, the Green School Steering Committee has developed a common language around sustainability that will inform HSC’s vision for becoming a Green School. Several themes recurred during discussions what HSC would look like in a sustainable future, such as reducing consumption and minimizing waste, maximizing education opportunities for integrating sustainability issues into the formal and informal curriculum, and the need to optimize economic value.
The diagram below illustrates these recurring themes related to sustainability that are also reflected in the following Green Plan Guiding Principles. Ultimately, these principles should comprise the “sustainability lens” that will guide all decision-making at Hillfield Strathallan College.
- HSC students and community are informed and responsible citizens of the natural world who are ecologically literate and understand the principles of sustainability
- HSC nurtures a culture of conservation
- HSC students and community demonstrate environmental responsibility in their attitudes and actions
- HSC has a physical environment that emphasizes sustainability and efficiency
- HSC decisions are made through the lens of sustainability and consider the impact on future generations
For more information about the College’s Green Plan Framework, please contact Chris Kwiecien at 905-389-1367, ext. 133.