Ensuring Sustainability in Nightingale’s Second Century
As we educate our students to become citizens of the world, we convey that global citizenship is deeply rooted in sustainability. Heading into its second century, Nightingale has made a commitment to whole-school sustainability by expanding our understanding of it:
At Nightingale, sustainability means appreciating the interconnectedness of all things. Caring for our common and limited resources is essential for a just and peaceful world. We believe our actions are sustainable when they take an appropriately balanced view of social, environmental, and economic concerns.
Sustainability Initiatives Started By Our Students
Traditionally, Nightingale’s sustainability efforts have been student-led and faculty-supported, including our well-established recycling, composting, and reusable whiteboard marker initiatives. A long-standing Earth Club in the Upper School gave rise to a formalized Environmental Board on the student council, which expanded into the Middle School and prompted the creation of the Lower School’s Earth Ambassadors program. Members of the Upper School Environmental Board recently created how-to guides on topics including sustainable eating, holding sustainable events, and integrating sustainability into the Nightingale curriculum. A current Nightingale senior is spearheading the development of a Green Revolving Fund, a means by which community members can submit proposals to be reviewed by the faculty and staff on the Sustainability Advisory Council. Approved projects will help make Nightingale more sustainable, but the eventual cost-savings of their implementation will sustain the fund over time! By giving students the tools to affect real, meaningful change, we encourage a community culture of sustainability awareness.
Working Together for a More Sustainable Nightingale
Nightingale has partnered with the Green Schools Alliance (GSA), dating back to the organization’s start. GSA recently organized a collective of 25 (and growing!) independent schools to pilot-test START (Sustainability Tracking and Roadmap Tool), software designed for schools to quickly establish sustainability baselines, set organizational goals, and monitor metrics over time. Nightingale was fortunate enough to receive a leadership grant from the E.E. Ford Foundation in November 2019 to support this GSA partnership. Grant funds will enable the fine-tuning of START and executing its final roll-out online, while also helping infuse sustainability throughout the K-XII curriculum.
Taking Charge for a Better Tomorrow
Nightingale must work every day to secure the best possible environment for future Nighthawks, fellow New Yorkers, and all citizens of the world. Our robust community service program ensures that students understand the real value in giving back and in providing a sense of belonging for people whose voices are marginalized.
Nightingale plans to conduct a more thorough greenhouse gas emissions assessment to help us continue to reduce our carbon footprint and overall energy consumption throughout the Schoolhouse and educational program. Food services continually source local, in-season food as much as possible and educate the community about our food supply.
Additionally, our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion is demonstrated by updating our hiring practices to ensure that every person in our community has access to the best experience possible inside our blue doors.