Whitney M. Young High School: Green Team

  • Project Type: Path to Net Zero, Energy Conservation, Indoor Environmental Quality, Waste Reduction, Water Conservation
  • Students: 45
  • Staff: 5
  • Mentor: Ajit Naik, Baumann Consulting
  • Location: Chicago, IL
  • Grade Levels: 9th - 12th

The Project

As a participant in the 2022-23 cohort of the Illinois Green Schools Project, the Whitney Young Green Team counts this year a success for continuing to build upon their efforts to grow an environmentally responsible and aware community within their school. They've undertaken a range of projects, all suggested by club members, in order to educate students about both the local and global nature of the climate crisis. New membership and leadership in the club has provided a wealth of creativity and new partnerships with other existing school clubs to spread their impact more widely throughout the school community.

Green Team Projects in 2022-23:

Two teachers sponsors and 2-3 leadership team members chosen by students meet 1-2 times a month to create programming for biweekly green team club meetings. During these meetings new projects were proposed, planned, completed and evaluated by students with teacher support where needed. This year, the club ideated and implemented several projects:

  • Partner with other school clubs to educate each other about green topics
  • Partner with engineering class to restore recycling services to Whitney Young
  • Conduct energy audit of school building with IL Green Schools Mentor
  • Green Bingo Homeroom Contest - Year 2!
  • Organize Earth Week Celebration

Energy & Water Audit with Green Schools Mentor Ajit Naik

After some good research and pre-planning by the green team, they had a great initial meeting with our Green Schools mentor Ajit Naik, who led them through an energy audit of the school building. From the roof to the mechanical rooms, students got an inside peek at how the school's HVAC, water heating, and air systems run.

In addition, students split off to test out the efficiency of the faucets, finding large discrepancies in the flow rate of faucets.

One staff member in particular was extremely helpful during the energy audit, the building and facilities engineer Nathan. Working with him was eye opening for the kids.

Later this spring Whitney Young's Green Team will be analyzing the data they collected together and planning some interventions they can take to lower their carbon footprint as a school building

Students measure the flow rate of the faucet in a restroom on campus.
Students measure the flow rate of the faucet in a restroom on campus.

Earth Week Schedule for Whitney Young

  • Monday: Partnership with DUBTV to broadcast disasters and how to prevent them
  • Tuesday: Hosting a guest speaker to talk about the problem of factory farming
  • Wednesday: Organizing a clothing swap event on the bridge
  • Thursday: College student panel on environment sustainability and possible careers in the field
  • Friday: Selling flower seeds and sprouting plants on the bridge

Many of this year's Green Team club members first learned about the opportunity during last year's Earth Week activities, so they know it's a successful model to get students engaged in sustainability. 

What’s Next:

Whitney Young's Green Team is wrapping up their recommendations from the energy audit and selecting new leadership for next year's green team. They are also seeking out even more club and class partnerships to increase their impact next year. An offshoot of our club this year was the newly established gardening club, so they'd like to work with them more formally in some capacity next year.