Springside Chestnut Hill Academy (SCH) already boasts a number of significant and enduring initiatives that have earned the school distinction in environmental sustainability.
This spring, the school added two new titles to the list: the school’s cafeterias were upgraded to 3-star certified Green Restaurant status by the Green Restaurant Association (GRA), and SCH was named a bronze-level Eco-School by National Wildlife Federation’s Eco-Schools USA program.
SCH is the first school in Pennsylvania to achieve a 3-star rating, which requires the implementation over 100 environmental steps. The school credits its partnership with CulinArts, their dining services provider, as well as faculty, students and Eco Clubs, for helping to meet GRA’s rigorous certification scale.
The environmental steps included eliminating waste from landfills, providing vegetarian options, using high-efficiency pre-rinse spray valves and reusing plates, utensils and glassware.
The school’s bronze-level title came from National Wildlife Federation Eco-Schools program. SCH was recognized for its commitment to getting outdoors, healthy living and encouraging students to be physically active – factors that contribute towards students’ emotional well-being. Studies show that children who are active and spend time outdoors develop greater attention span and perform better in school. When students spend time in nature, they are more likely to become stewards of the environment, according to the National Wildlife Federation.
Betty Ann Fish, chair of the physical education department noted, “Schools play an important role in promoting healthy living for students. Since the average student spends close to 15,000 hours of his or her life at school, we believe it’s important for them to develop active, healthy habits in school and out.”
SCH has a long legacy of green initiatives spanning over the last two decades. Past efforts have included stormwater management, waste-sorting stations, a .5-acre solar panel installation and stewardship of the Wissahickon Watershed.
Chief Financial Officer Frank Aloise, who has helped spearhead the school’s green legacy, stated, “This work is purposeful and important. We are proud that SCH is dedicated to being smart stewards of the environment. I feel confident that there is not a single student at SCH who hasn’t become more mindful of their impact on the environment.”