Student Trustee Alex Hauser adds her name to the solar panel, marking a collective commitment aiming to reduce carbon footprints.

Members of Grand Erie District School Board’s Senior Administration Team and Trustees were on hand at Mohawk College on Tuesday as Director Brenda Blancher signed the voluntary agreement on behalf of the board. 

The partnership will help drive the goals of reducing carbon footprints, improving energy conservation in school buildings and board facilities, and providing opportunities for more than a quarter of a million Ontario students through curriculum connections and experiential learning.

It leverages the good work we are already doing around the Eco Schools initiative, our energy conservation efforts with conversion to LED lighting in all buildings, metered flow faucets and low-flow toilets, and our conservation measures with any new construction,” said Blancher.

The partnership will also initiate meetings of school board staff to discuss various curriculum expectations in the STEAM areas – science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics – and how these subject areas can be enhanced with modules on the impact of climate change, Blancher added. 

The partnership will also provide opportunities for co-op placements, apprenticeships, and the exploration of career pathways.

“From the student perspective, it might not always seem like our leaders are doing enough on a global scale to mitigate the effects of climate change,” said Alex Hauser, Grand Erie Student Trustee and Eco Club member at McKinnon Park Secondary School, where she is in Grade 12. 

“Partnerships like this one, however, start at the local level and do much to build the necessary momentum to bring about larger changes.”

Grand Erie’s Multi-Year Plan includes Environment as one of its key pillars with a commitment to improve energy and environmental conservation at all sites. 

The board currently has 20 schools with onsite renewable energy in the form of solar panels, which is fed back into the hydro grid. According to Domenic Maniccia, Manager of Facility Services at Grand Erie, that measure generated 2.5 million kilowatt-hours of electricity last year alone. 

The Climate Change Partnership will continue to drive these efforts from a facilities-management perspective at the school level.

Photo by Grand Erie Communications and Mohawk College.