Now in its tenth year of existence, the Boston Latin School Youth Climate Action Network is an afterschool environmental club comprised of middle and high school students at the oldest public school in the US. The student members are the leaders of YouthCAN, a coalition of youth who seek to address the problem of global climate change in our communities and beyond and to promote education for sustainability. BLS YouthCAN is pursuing incredibly far-reaching initiatives. Students founded a youth network that now has 20 member groups at other schools in Massachusetts.
YouthCAN does extensive educational outreach, maintains numerous community partnerships, and organizes free events that serve dozens of schools and community organizations every year. For example, we hold an annual fall kick-off event and an annual youth climate summit, both of which are free to all. Students launched a statewide “education for sustainability” campaign to incorporate sustainability lessons across subjects for grades 7-12 and organized annual teacher trainings, culminating in the development of the sustainability curriculum that is now in use at Boston Latin School.
Youth on Board co-administers the Boston Student Advisory Council (BSAC) with the BPS Office of Engagement. BSAC is a citywide body of elected student leaders representing most BPS high schools. BSAC organizers work to identify and address pertinent student issues, thereby putting students at the center of the decisions that affect them the most. BSAC acts as the student union of the district, leading organizing efforts, forging relationships with district and city-leaders, impacting policy change, and transforming school culture across the board.
BSAC began work around climate and environmental justice after students were moved and angered by the disproportionate impact climate change has, and will have, on young people, people of color, and low-income communities. In 2013, BSAC headed to Washington DC to rally in support of the Reject and Protect movement, urging President Obama to reject the Keystone XL tar-sands pipeline. The following summer, BSAC students worked as part of a Climate Team, then joined 400,000 people in New York City for the People’s Climate March- the largest demonstration calling for climate solutions in history. Energized by the massive action, BSAC spread the word about why combating climate change is a major priority in their lives.
Collaborate with Boston Student Advisory Council and Youth on Board on using the new Climate Curriculum, advocating for solar panels on school buildings, or leading a Meatless Mondays or Power Down Fridays campaign. Contact BSAC Student Engagement Manager Maria Ortiz at firstname.lastname@example.org to connect.
Register your school forThe Green Team, “an interactive educational program that empowers students and teachers to help the environment through waste reduction, recycling, composting, energy conservation and pollution prevention. Participating classes receive certificates of recognition and are eligible to win awards.”Nine BPS schools are already participating. Will yours be next?
Greenovate Boston is Mayor Walsh’s initiative to get all Bostonians involved in eliminating the pollution that causes global climate change, while continuing to make Boston a healthy, thriving, and innovative city.
Greenovate Boston offers a number of ways to get involved, from volunteering, to joining programs and events, to applying for climate leadership positions.
Register a 2017-2018 school effort or volunteer project as aGreen Apple Day of Service. Green Apple Day of Service unites parents, teachers, students, companies and local organizations for volunteer projects that transform our schools into safe, healthy and sustainable learning environments. If you are planning a school volunteer project, be sure to also register with PartnerBPS.
Each year, thousands of volunteers dedicate time and resources to making Boston Public Schools healthier and more sustainable places to learn, and BPS is truly grateful for the support of volunteers.
If you or your group is interested in leading a volunteer project at a Boston Public School, please refer to the following steps and resources for ensuring a safe and successful volunteer project.
Required Project Forms
All volunteer projects taking place at Boston Public Schools must have support from the school leadership, sign-off from BPS Facilities Management, and a project organizer assigned to be onsite during the project.