The Los Altos High School Green Team is scheduled to host its fifth annual Students for Green High Schools Conference 9 a.m. Saturday at Google Inc.’s Sunnyvale campus. The conference brings together 16 high schools from throughout the Bay Area in an effort to spread environmental awareness and inspire students to “green” their schools.
The conference has been completely student run since 2013, when Sarah Jacobs and Wendy Wu, both Los Altos High juniors at the time, decided that the adult-run conference didn’t inspire high school students to make their campuses greener.
In the past six years, the conference has evolved from just hearing presentations from different schools to a more engaging format with small discussions to develop innovative solutions. This year, Green Team co-captains Anya Gupta and Kung Min Lin hope to gather students from local high schools to spread their message more effectively.
“We do it to bring environmentally minded people from around the Bay Area together to discuss topics like climate change, and most importantly, what things we can do in out schools,” Gupta said. “Our main focus is to learn from what other schools are doing and implement that in our own school.”
According to Green Team parent liaison Sybil Cramer, the conference is a forum for environmentally minded students to generate and implement projects to make their communities greener.
The conference has inspired noticeable change at Los Altos High in recent years. The Green Team worked with administrators last year to develop a parking permit program that encourages students who live within 2 miles of campus to bike or walk to school. After learning about Palo Alto High School’s endeavor to completely eliminate single-use plastic bottles from the school, the Green Team has created the Tap-Out Project with the hope of achieving the same goal.
The format for this year’s conference is heavily focused on small group discussions with student presentations and a question-and-answer session.
“That is the biggest value of these conferences – (they) bring people together. You don’t need experts from Stanford,” Cramer said. “(There is) so much passion and energy among the students I see at these events over the years. It’s just heartwarming to know that students can do this on their own. They have the power, the creativity, the (ability) to make positive change.”
For more information on the conference, visit sfghsconference.lahs.club.
For more information on the Los Altos High Green Team, visit greenteam.lahs.club.