Meet Jamie. Senior. Climate warrior. My hero.
She’s got contagious enthusiasm and is one of those people who immediately inspires you to take action.
I first met Jamie at her high school, Loyola Academy, over a year ago at an ACE presentation. Since then, I’ve seen her work non-stop to combat climate change through her school’s environmental club, SAVE. Not only did she lead her club to victory (Yep- Chicagoland winners of the Us vs Waste campaign. Woot!), she is a Project Greenway champion, and recently was awarded the Brost award (an honor given to Loyola’s most outstanding student club leaders).
She’s already making the world a better place and is someone I suggest keeping an eye on (Jamie for President 2040?!)
I recently interviewed her to learn more:
Q: Can you summarize the projects you did at Loyola this year?
A: Our main focus this year was to promote zero waste and recycling. SAVE was able to receive a grant to get new recycling bins for our cafeteria. We went even further and decided to have our members decorate each bin (there were 7 total new bins) in their own way. Then we had a contest to promote the new bins to see which one was the best! We also had an Earth Day Fair with many participating eco friendly vendors to promote earth wellness and conservation. It happened at all the lunch periods on April 12th. A lot of people came and were able to buy green products, listen to music, have free food, and more! There were also smaller campaigns we did to promote zero waste. Like selling reusable water bottles and reusable lunch containers.
Q: What do you think the impact was?
A: I think that the success of SAVE this year really opened up people's eyes to what they were throwing out and purchasing.
Q: What was your role in making those project happen? Who else helped and how?
A: I came up with the idea of decorating the bins from seeing a company in Germany do almost the same thing. I made very many posters to advertise the events and worked during my free time to prepare and take care of each event. Each SAVE member also committed many hours to helping and preparing for these events as well and there are about 20 active members in SAVE. And of course I can't forget about our moderators, Julie Nold and Paulette Page, I can't even begin to say or describe all the work they did to plan out these events and get permission for it. None of our success this year would've been possible if all of these people didn't help out.
Q: What motivated you to do this work?
A: What motivated me this year and continues to motivate me is the happiness I see on people's face when they see our new projects. Even when I see that all of the work that we put in is really working. That people are changing their ways and thinking twice before they throw something out. One of my friends named Lizzy Mayer told me that she was about to throw some thing out and she thought about me and SAVE and remembered that what she was going to throw out was recyclable. She now recycles all the time and tells all of her friends to do the same. Things like that motivate me to dedicated my whole life to protecting and preserving Earth.
Q: What was the biggest challenge? How did you overcome the obstacles?
A: The biggest challenge for me was getting people to change their ways and to plan out everything for the event. Many
people don't like change and it was difficult to show people that this change is a good change. Also when planning for the event it was very stressful that jobs were filled and everyone was committed but trusting that with hard work comes rewards and to believe in people helped me through challenges like these.
Q: What was the most rewarding part of the work for you?
A: The most rewarding part is to see people really change their ways. See them start to care and participate in the events and comment about them. It means to me that all of our hard work is worth it.
Q: What are you up to next? What projects do you hope to take on next year?
A: We are going to try to get new hand dryers to reduce the use of paper towels. Also our school is switching to all iPads next year so we are going to promote green apps and ways to reduce paper waste. Also with those changes, Loyola is going through with some other renovations SAVE is going to try and add green roofs and tell Loyola to think more green when renovating. I know more projects and campaigns will come up but for right now those are the opportunities ready for us to grab.
Q: What advice would you give to another student that was interested in taking on similar work at their school?
A: I would tell other schools to never even think of stopping. Saving the Earth is a constant battle but the rewards of doing something good are better then words can describe. The impact small actions can bring to people and schools are so powerful. The way you achieve them is believing in your fellow peers and know that we live in a world full of change. People will get used to it.