Springside Chestnut Hill Academy’s cafeterias were recently certified as 2 Star Certified Green Restaurants by the Green Restaurant Association (GRA), a national nonprofit organization helping restaurants to become more environmentally sustainable.

SCH is the first school in the state to have a Certified Green Restaurant cafeteria. Receiving 132.31 GreenPoints at Cherokee Campus and 118.11 GreenPoints at Willow Grove, SCH has gone above and beyond the minimum requirements necessary for certification.

“SCH serves as a great environmental model for student food service across the country,” said Michael Osman, CEO and founder of the Green Restaurant Association. “In education, leading by example is key, and Springside Chestnut Hill Academy is teaching important models of energy, water, and resource conservation through the environmental steps its food service has implemented.”

SCH has demonstrated its commitment to sustainability in other ways, as well. On Earth Day, the school completed a school-wide waste audit in which all of the school’s waste from both campuses was collected for a 24-hour period and then sorted by student volunteers to understand the amount of waste generated by the school, the potential to divert more waste from the landfill through increased recycling and composting, as well as opportunities to change purchasing and personal habits to reduce waste.

Highlights of green accomplishments: Recycling glass, plastic, aluminum, and cardboard; composting in kitchen and dining areas; no individual condiments for on-site use; reusable trays; green cleaning products; high-efficiency spray valves; Energy Star steamer; unbleached pan liner; and green hand soap.

The students have joined in the efforts to create a sustainable environment for the school community. The Middle School Girls Eco Club received a grant from GRinCH (Green in Chestnut Hill) to install a water bottle refilling station in the cafeteria. The goal of its project was to reduce reliance on single-use water bottles and cups in the cafeteria, raise awareness of the environmental impact of disposable containers (such as cups and single-use water bottles), and encourage the use of reusable water bottles by making refilling stations accessible to SCH students.

SCH Upper School student Rekha Dhillon-Richardson hosted a Girls Climate Summit this spring to raise awareness about climate change, promote youth advocacy, and spark local change in the Greater Philadelphia Area. The summit included workshops, speakers, presentations, team-building activities, and thought-provoking conversations.