On December 17, 2019, Take Action members Jack Letterio and Kristen O’Donnell presented the club’s idea to install dual recycling and trash cans in the school’s stadiums and fields to the Safety and Operations Committee. They also requested the school apply for the PAsmart Advancing STEM grant, which could partially pay for “trashbots” in the high school cafeteria.
“The ideal outcome for this grant is ultimately to educate students and our community on ways to increase sustainability. That could be learning how to correctly recycle or applying sustainability to everyday life, in terms of sustainable food sources,” Take Action leader Regan Donovan says.
The club and superintendent Dr. Russell have been working together to accomplish their two shared goals: recycling bins in the stadiums and artificial intelligence trashbots in the cafeteria.
“We originally only intended on adding recycling cans to Thomas J. Keenan stadium. By the time we left the first meeting, it was already being discussed as to whether we should extend the initiative across the district,” Jack Letterio, another leader of the club, says.
The ideal outcome for the club is the installment of recycling bins in the stadium and outdoor fields, updated recycling bins throughout school buildings, and the trashbots in the cafeteria. These trashbots can sort waste, using artificial intelligence, into the waste or recycling bin, taking the responsibility off of students’ hands.
The PAsmart Advancing STEM grant, should the school receive it, would cover the costs of implementing Take Action’s ideas, along with creating a “food forest” at Ursinus where PV and the college could collaborate to grow more local produce.
“The goal of the project proposal is to partner with a community group or organization and engage in STEM. In our proposal, we have partnered with Ursinus. They currently have established food farms and are interested in reigniting their recycling program, as is PV,” Dr. Russell says.
Perkiomen Valley already received the PAsmart Targeted grant, but is waiting to hear whether or not they have been granted the advancing STEM grant that would allow for all of these environmental goals to be accomplished.
“This grant application requested $328,000 to cover the costs of the equipment, a research station on our property, digital/AI equipment, new recycling bins for campus, and several Trashbots. Some of the funds will cover the costs of substitutes as professional learning for staff is again emphasized in this grant,” according to Dr. Russell.
In the future, with or without the grant, Take Action and the administration plan to continue working together to educate the Perkiomen Valley community about proper environmental practices.
“Climate change and environmental degradation are worsening now more than ever, so our community should be doing everything we can to help mother nature,” Donovan says.
The club is actively accepting new members. “Take Action is a club for everyone. Regardless of your beliefs, there are a variety of initiatives within take action that work toward a better community for all of us,” says Letterio.
If you’re interested in learning more about Take Action’s plans, the club meets every week in Mr. Craven’s room.
Image Source: Barbara Russell