During my first few months on campus, my expectations of Deerfield being an extremely green school were shot down after observing the lack of environmental efforts made by the whole student body. The middle school I attended in Georgia was conscious of little things that people could do for the environment. Although the faculty did not aim to create a strict environment, there was an unspoken rule among us that everyone needs to care. For example, everyone threw their empty chip bags away after school events. Even though the administration didn’t take that much time to explain how important these actions are, people still followed them. I think this is just a matter of everyone taking a few seconds to think about the other people who would have to clean up after them and the consequences for the environment.
On Friday and Saturday nights at Deerfield, plastic and leftover food often linger throughout the Greer tables and within the dormitory halls. During the school day, empty dorms are illuminated by lights, wasting energy. Due to the nonchalant attitude towards these actions in the community, there has been a large disregard for these small and easy actions, especially among new students. When I first arrived eight weeks ago, I was impressed by all the categories Deerfield uses to organize trash: we have separate bins for styrofoam and plastic and even a new system for composting. In spite of the EcoRep program, which teaches new students certain skills such as recycling correctly, the community still seems to be lacking efforts in disposing waste. Easy things such as taking two seconds to throw away a sandwich into the compost bin can make a huge difference in our community or even emphasizing the act of mitigating food waste. Deerfield’s trivialization of this issue damages environmental conservation on campus and beyond, and it makes us, as a school, look as if we could care less. In a way, Deerfield is being hypocritical because of how environmentally aware they seem while looking around campus for the first time. The fancy system for organizing waste has no purpose if no one follows it. This applies to all of the other installations that aim for this goal.
There has been a lack of enforcement from the school as a whole with these environmental crises. Although there are signs above each bin in the dorms, designated for containers, compost, and landfill, just to name a few, people aren’t going to take the time to read the miniscule script detailing each category’s definition under every word. A student representative spoke of the severity of this issue, especially for the ninth grade class. New students don’t have the knowledge that returning students have due to the administration not touching on these problems yet. Therefore, I think older students setting this example is necessary. Speaking from the perspective of a freshman, upperclassmen uniquely act as role models too, and we tend to copy what they do. On Saturday nights, seeing seniors leave trash on the Greer tables leads me to think that it’s okay to do that.
The student-body needs to step up and do whatever it takes to make Deerfield as green as it should be. The cleanliness of the Greer, to take one example, reflects on our community as a whole. It doesn’t take huge efforts to make a change. Small steps matter just as much if everyone participates. As Deerfield students, we want to show that we care and are willing to make a change. We should not only be green in name but green in action.