While the rest of us discuss climate change, students at Savio College have rolled up their sleeves and increased the number of indigenous plants at their school by 50%.
The trees and shrubs are watered through an irrigation system fed by a rainwater reservoir, which the college has just acquired EU funds to restore.
Unfortunately, half of the water in the four-metre deep reservoir, which is also used for sanitary facilities, is being lost as the cistern is in desperate need of repair.
The EU fund is not the only source the school has tapped into to become greener. Over the past five years, the Dingli college, which hosts 258 students in 10 classrooms, has acquired government funding and private industry sponsorships to turn its energy consumption into an environmentally-friendly one.
The school installed photovoltaic panels on its roofs, which feed into its electricity grid. Live data is projected on a screen situated at a prominent spot in the school, allowing students to understand the size of the carbon footprint the environment is being spared through the PV system.
The information is broken down in terms of CO2 emissions and the equivalent in kilometres that a car would run on that energy.
All the water heating systems at Savio College, which also hosts live-ins, run on gas, while the electricity system has been changed into an LED one. Corridors have had intelligent lighting installed so lights do not remain on when no one is in the area.
While enhancing the school’s indoor and outdoor spaces, historical sites on its grounds – such as Punic tombs, an 1867 donkey shed and a girna – have also been added to a heritage trail accessible to the public.
The pupils had been inspired by the Pope’s encyclical
Head of school Fr Jeremy Vella told Times of Malta they wanted to create a sense of sensitivity towards the community and, most especially, the environment. This allowed students to put in practice the values the school tried to pass on through its religious ethos.
While the school was becoming greener, inspired by the keen students’ ideas, they were also being exposed to how this all tied in with corporate social responsibility, he noted.
Students’ Council president Juergen Valletta noted that the pupils had been inspired by the Pope’s encyclical on the environment Laudato Si’ and had ensured everyone’s contribution to a greener school.
This included decorating classrooms with recycled materials, such as a Christmas tree made out of plastic bottles, separating waste in classrooms and coming up with ideas on cutting down on the food carbon footprint.
These activities supplemented others within the larger Dingli community where students lent a helping hand to those in need, including banking food for the parish’s most vulnerable.
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