Senior Project Action Ideas
Peter Donaldson, 236-8114
Looking for a sustainability senior project that REALLY matters? Here are some criteria to consider.
- My project changes people’s behavior.
- I can measure the results and prove that my project has had an impact.
- My project builds on the knowledge of other people and projects.
- I have access to great mentors and knowledgeable experts in my community.
1. Double… then triple the number of solar panels on the high school. Create a plan for solar panels at every school. Calculate the budget savings and the C02 reductions.
2. Work with the IslandVision task force on advancing and measuring sustainable preschools.
3. Organize Bike to School Month at an elementary school or the middle school then measure and publish CO2 reductions.
4. Learn to speak “carbonese” by working with on the Cool School Challenge.
5. Build rain gardens… for every downspout and parking lot in every school in the district to reduce stormwater pollution. Lead a campaign to do the same in selected neighborhoods for 100 families. (Start with one, or make your project a plan for how to roll them out.)
6. Start a summer intern program to work with the Green Ribbon Commission, School District and the City to reduce our community carbon footprint.
7. Join leadership students from other school districts to research and produce the annual video broadcast of the Watershed Report tracking sustainability trends in school districts, city government, local business and community organizing.
8. Work with IslandVision, the School District, the City and the Mercer Island Reporter to feature the top ten senior projects each year that advance our community goals of sustainability.
9. Join the IslandVision web management team and build student project blogs, face book blasts and other communication strategies for creative viral, mass awareness campaigns.
10. Work with Friends of the Cedar River Watershed to restore salmon habitat on the Cedar River.
11. Plant 200 trees and calculate how many pounds of CO2 your efforts will sequester.
12. Purchase 100% Green Energy for your school, home, business or place of worship. Lead a campaign to sign up 100 families. The city of Corvallis, Oregon just beat out the Bellingham for the city with the highest percentage of Green Power purchasers. Go Mercer Island!
13. Help establish an IslandVision Student Advisory Council. Learn about non-profits and how to design and manage community scale sustainability projects.
14. Work with the Green Ribbon Commission to reduce home energy consumption and increase walking, bike riding and bus use on Mercer Island.
15. Help organize and market the annual Leap for Green Festival to educate thousands of Island families each year.
16. Work with the Mercer Island Farmers Market to increase business and educate more people about how spending local dollars on local food is smart for our future as well as our health.
17. Help your school Green Team reduce waste by composting food.
18. Create a business plan for installing waterless urinals in the boy’s bathrooms in every school building in the district and calculate how many gallons of water we can save per year.
19. Rip up asphalt and install pervious pavers in school parking strips to keep oil drips from going down the storm drains. Start with a pilot project and build from there.
20. Educate home owners on shoreline natural landscaping to restore critical habitat for migrating salmon while increasing the natural beauty of waterfront properties.
21. Lead a campaign to eliminate styrofoam takeout containers from every restaurant on the Island.
22. Eliminate toxic chemicals from school and home cleaning supplies and from school science labs and art rooms.
23. Establish a campaign to take back old medications and to educate people on why flushing them down the toilet is very damaging to Puget Sound. This stuff bio-accumulates in Orcas which are now the most toxic animals on the planet.
24. Organize a Salmon Safe Car Wash Campaign with 100% of school families taking the pledge to stop soap from going down the storm drain.
25. Certify your school or home backyard as National Wildlife Habitat. If enough homes sign up for the campaign we can certify the entire Island as a Wildlife Habitat Community.
26. Lead a campaign to purchase two-sided printers for all of the schools and to purchase only green office supplies. Work with Island businesses to be the sole suppliers of key products.
27. Launch an e-waste pick up system in your school, home, business or place of worship to keep electronic materials out of the landfill and back in the industrial nutrient cycle.
28. Map community green businesses, then give them more business.
29. Work with the district to connect food service to more local food producers. Develop a healthy food policy for the school district to adopt.
30. Sign up neighbors for Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) subscriptions. Build an argument for why this is a sustainable solution with multiple benefits.
31. Partner with community neighbors to develop a network of school and community gardens. Find ways to market this food at the Farmer’s Market.
32. Establish a plan for shifting school district and city vehicle fleets to all electric.
33. Launch a campaign to boycott bottled on water on both economic and ethical grounds.
34. Host a candidate’s forum (city council or school board) based on Island sustainability issues.
35. Host a sustainable Prom… or Tolo.
36. Purchase sweatshop-free athletic gear, t-shirts and band uniforms.
37. Design and publish an annual community “report card” using sustainability indicators.
38. Lead an op-ed letter and essay writing campaign to local newspapers and blogs.
39. Organize this menu of projects as an online service to sophomores and juniors.
40. Teach what you know to elementary or middle school students.
41. Organize an annual Sustainable Projects Forum with City Council members and community leaders for the entire junior class as they prepare for their senior projects. Update this list.