Green Club Hosts Week-Long Celebration to Spread Awareness About Sustainability


Green Club hosted Environmental Week from April 17 through April 21 at the high school. The festivities kicked off with Marine Life Monday, when club members created a vibrant bottle cap mural of an orca leaping through calm ocean waters beneath a picturesque sunset.

Emily Lindsey, Staff Reporter

Green Club showed its appreciation for Earth Day by hosting Environmental Week, which featured special events like a free thrift shop, an exhilarating snake show, a delicious vegan potluck and more. Environmental Week was held during school hours the week of Monday, April 17, to Friday, April 22.

The week kicked off with Marine Life Monday. Club members spent the day creating a vibrant bottle cap mural of an orca whale leaping through calm ocean waters beneath a picturesque sunset.  “The whale made of plastic signifies the terrible conditions in the ocean today,” club president Amritha Senthilkumaran said. “We are combating this by repurposing plastic products like these bottle caps into art.”

Club members put in admirable effort in order to paint and glue hundreds of bottle caps for the mural. As many reported, the successful display of the physical interpretation of their message made all the hard work worth it.

Next up, Thrifting Tuesday not only helped save the planet but also helped students save money by setting up a free thrift store in Room 124 in the high school. For weeks prior to the event, students and staff donated clothes for the store.  The aim was to offer a fun way to promote the reuse of clothes and accessories to help reduce the waste of natural resources.

As soon as the bell rang for Zero Period on Thifting Tuesday, a bustling crowd of students made a bee line for Green Club Advisor Lauren Poma’s room to pick apart the tables of clothes and snatch up quality finds. “It was crazy,” freshman Keili Semler said. “I had a lot of fun, and there were some good clothes and accessories around the room.”  Semler ended up with a trendy sweatshirt and some cute jean shorts, key finds that she attributed to getting into the room quickly, which was more than some stragglers could say.

Wednesday was Wildlife Day, whose objective was to raise awareness about the importance of protecting wildlife from overfishing, overhunting, pollution and overexploitation. To help do this, the NJ Snake Man, aka Steve Lengen, gave an exciting lunchtime demonstration to students. Lengen, who has been featured on “The Drew Barrymore Show,” brought crates of snakes and other reptiles with him to show off to the audience and explained are so important to keep around.

Tasty Thursday was held on Thursday during lunch in Room 124. This gathering featured a student potluck where Green Club members created vegan dishes in an attempt to discourage the farming and shipping of animal meat, which creates greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation and more planet-harming effects.

Chef Thomas Povinelli, the Culinary Club advisor, brought some of his own club members to sample the Tasty Thursday food. Chef’s buffalo tempura tofu dish was a clear hit, with all of the tofu and sauce gone in minutes. “My favorite thing was Monica Hurley’s homemade chips,” said sophomore Ana Sanguillo Leppanen, referring to one of the many other dishes that were served during lunch. “They are made of vegetables and were very tasty.”

Finally, Friday was Farming Friday, whose aim was to promote sales for small local farms instead of large corporations, which create huge emissions in shipping. Over the weekend, local small farm Sun High Orchards offered 10 percent off of all products in support of this mission.

Green Club also provided literature on how to help the planet. At one event, the club handed out an article on composting, which can reduce 50 percent of the food waste in landfills and can reduce methane emissions from food decomposing improperly in landfills. At the bottle cap mural display, a the club provided a catalog about sustainability that outlined alternatives to products like one-time-use plastics that end up in the ocean.

The club council prepared for this event for many weeks in advance, gathering donations and putting volunteers to work.  The result was an Environmental Week full of creative activities that generated strong participation among the students at RHS.

Just as importantly, the event increased awareness among students about how they can best help the planet. “In my mind, the three most important things for living a more sustainable lifestyle are to help raise awareness by educating others, adjusting your diet to include local plant-based food and using more eco-friendly products to eliminate plastic waste,” Poma said.