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Article written by: Miles Olivetti, Junior at Wellesley High School and a member of the Evolutions Program
Wellesley High School’s Evolutions students work on different community-based partnership projects, aimed at solving problems facing our community.
This year, my team, including teacher Mindy Hoge, dedicated ourselves to stopping the use of single-use water bottles at Wellesley High School (WHS). We met with Sustainable Wellesley and Wellesley’s Natural Resources Commission to get a pulse on what was happening in our community.
Research we conducted showed that at WHS alone, hundreds of water bottles are thrown away daily. This was due to lack of education, concern and habit. We wanted to educate students and thus create an understanding community that takes action.
To do so, we collected 288 plastic bottles thrown away at WHS during 3 lunch periods and turned them into an eye-catching, provocative monumental sculpture shaped in a giant ‘W’: representing Wellesley Raiders and water (drinking/oceans). This sculpture hopefully will have a lasting effect on students who saw it, showcasing a percentage of plastic we buy and discard daily.
In addition, we created infographics highlighting the pollution that plastic water bottles create in our oceans, as well as a survey about why people buy plastic water bottles. This survey showed that almost 65% of students would support a future single use water bottle ban.
Our final initiative was a “raffle”. The only requirement to enter was to show your reusable water bottle. We advertised the initiative and it was very popular. We gave out multiple gift cards thanks to generous local businesses. We witnessed a significant increase in people bringing in and using reusable water bottles, meeting our goal of showing people how easy and important it is to bring one to school every day.
Educating our peers to think and act differently was impactful. We hope single use plastic reduction will continue in and around WHS.