In the Community
"We aim to provide memorable experiences and tangible opportunities for students to explore environmental stewardship, actively connecting individual actions with community and environmental impact."
- Alison Frye, Director of Environmental Stewardship
In addition to the formal teaching that takes place in our classrooms, Tafties learn and practice environmental stewardship through a variety of clubs, programs, and volunteer opportunities both on campus and in the community. Students may directly impact sustainability efforts on campus through our EcoMon program, or spend a semester working at Waldingfield Farm as their afternoon ex. We offer study away opportunities at places like the Island School, and fellowships for summer programs, including internships at the New York Botanical Gardens, all with an environmental focus. Tafties have attended the People’s Climate March in New York City, hosted the Green Schools Alliance Sustainability Conference, and sent their support to Paris during the 2015 climate talks. Tafties are informed, aware, and engaged in both advocacy initiatives and stewardship activities.
EcoMons are the school’s environmental student leaders, educators, and liaisons. They meet weekly to plan events that will raise environmental awareness, consider solutions for sustainability concerns on campus, and review the success of our environmental initiatives. EcoMons play an important role in educating the Taft community on environmental issues in a variety of ways, and are on the forefront of our efforts to reduce our carbon footprint through the constant evaluation of our energy and material consumption, waste stream, efficient technologies, and sustainable behavior. Applications are accepted in the spring for appointment to EcoMon positions for the next academic year.
Each school year Tafties have many opportunities advance their learning and put their commitment to the environment into practice through a variety of meaninful programs and activities, including:
- Sustainability Week
- Farm-to-Table Sit Down Dinner
- Dorm Recycling Challenge
- Trashion Show
- Sustainable Action Day Workshops
- Earth Day Celebration
- Arbor Day Tree Planting
- Black Box/Lending Library Donations Collection
As a fall extracurricular option, a limited number of students participate in partnership programs with local farms, including Waldingfield Farm and Brass City Harvest. Participants visit the farm several times each week. When they are not at a farm, they care for Taft's chickens, who live on campus in our solar-powered chicken coop. Work at the farms may include planting, harvesting, or maintaining farm equipment.
Throughout the year and in a variety of ways, Taft students partner with community organizations in advancing environmental initiatives. Students work with our neighbors on dedicated community service days, on Global Leadership Institute and Global Services and Studies projects, and to provide food for those in need. Our community partners include:
- Waldingfield Farm
- Audubon Center at Bent of the River
- Brass City Harvest
- Flanders Nature Center and Land Trust
- Steele Brook Greenway
- Steep Rock Association
- White Memorial Foundation
Students earn Green Rhino Room Certification by attending a training session, committing to sustainable living habits, and having their room audited by a member of TEAM/EcoMon.