Seeds Need Watering

by Lucy Jackson

Head of School Jeanne Huybrechts said in an interview in September that she anticipated some “real changes in the school,” but, with spring break approaching and fourth quarter already underway, we have yet to see any real change at all. The initiative, like the new schedule proposal and the character education program, seems to be a plan in which the execution has failed to match the ambition of the project.

In all three cases, we’ve heard endless talk about what the possibilities are, but the school has been devoid of any sweeping change. After the initial passing of a new schedule for next year, the decision was soon reversed, and although character building was to be integrated into the classroom, I’ve seen no such education. The green initiative, it seems, has become part of this trend; regardless of efforts on the part of the Green Committee, the Environmental Club and students, no input has resulted in concrete changes.

I don’t doubt that suggestions made by any of the aforementioned groups can pose logistical problems – Head of Campus Operations James DeMatte said that was the case in an interview last week, but surely it shouldn’t take seven months to create an infrastructure for change.

For months, there has been talk of getting rid of the plastic water bottles in the cafeteria, and although DeMatte said that was set to take effect by Spring Break, it doesn’t seem reasonable that something as minor as removing water bottles should take a majority of the school year to plan. True, the administration anticipated that students would want filtered water should the bottles be removed, and that does present a construction problem, but how hard can it be to filter the taps and water fountains? And even if that project were to result in a logistical nightmare, why not just put a filtered water dispenser in the cafeteria? The only source for bottled water now is the cafeteria, so I can’t imagine why the administration would hold up the project just to get filtered water in every tap on campus.

And what about changing out the Styrofoam plates and bowls in the cafeteria — there was talk of putting in compostable ones or using washable dishware instead, but no change of any sort has been made. Even small things, like putting attendance lists online or e-mailing them to students rather than printing copies out every day, have not been executed. Grandiose changes may take time, but there’s no excuse for ignoring small steps in the interim.

I trust that the Green Committee, established this year to propel the initiative, has an agenda, but at what point will any aspects of that be implemented? It seems that initiatives introduced get thrown into a bureaucratic jungle where committees and point people and the administration meet to discuss and plan, all to no avail.

I’m aware that any kind of change requires planning, but I think the school plays it safe when it comes to the execution of those plans. Tasks are delegated constantly, with different committees creating plans that eventually lead to no tangible product, even on the smallest scale. In seven months, the parties involved have had sufficient time to chart their courses. It’s time for that “real