Houston’s Premier PK3 – 12th Grade International Day School

Sustainability

The Awty International School is committed to educating its students about sustainability, and to fostering in its students the importance of contributing to community. Through working together, the students learn to respect each other and their environment. This belief is reflected in the words of Mrs. Kathleen "Kay" Awty, Awty's founder:

“We would hope that from this tiny spot in this great world, we can send out concepts of children and students and adults working together in a spirit of regard and respect. We can hope that these concepts of relationships based on respect and acceptance will form cornerstones for the attitudes of these same young people when they become the world adults of tomorrow.” (September 1978)

The respect of self, of individuals, and of the environment, and the importance of contributing to community, are the foundation of Awty’s sustainability program. The mission of Awty’s sustainability program, or Awty’s Eco Code is to:

  • Reduce our negative environmental impact
  • Become a more sustainable school
  • Raise awareness of sustainability issues among students, staff, and parents
  • Inspire students and staff to take action in their community
  • Challenge students to come up with innovative solutions to environmental problems
  • Educate students and staff on environmental issues and solutions

Awty is a Bronze Award recipient of the Eco-Schools program. The Eco-Schools program is an international organization that accredits schools demonstrating a commitment to sustainability.

For more information about the sustainability activities in the ELC or LS, please contact Diana Galindo or Federica Simon. For more information about MS and US activities, contact Awty Sustainability Coordinator Olivier Logette.

Upcoming Sustainability Opportunities

Coming Soon!

Our Sustainability Tools

waste

"There is no such thing as 'away'. When we throw anything away it must go somewhere." - Annie Leonard

compost

Awty students have always been intrigued by composting, the idea of turning waste into a useful resource. In 2017, a permanent composting program was established.

 

 

Each day, the Awty kitchen staff fill an industrial-sized bin with organic scraps (such as fruit peels, vegetable stems, etc.) acquired from cooking and baking throughout the day. Then, student volunteers carry the bin from the kitchen to seven specialized compost bins located next to the Awty gardens. They transfer the organic scraps to the compost bin.

Additionally, discarded landscaping materials (such as dry grass clippings) are added to the compost bin. By doing so, this allows the scraps to decompose, reverting to organic materials through breakdown by microorganisms, insects, and bacteria.

Students also maintain the compost by “turning” the scraps, exposing the material to oxygen. Eventually, after months of decomposition, the waste turns into a nutrient-rich fertilizer, which is used in the school gardens to grow bountiful fruits and vegetables.

Awty students of all ages have been involved in this program. Middle School and Upper School students are able to participate in the program in a hands-on fashion, while Lower School students are educated on the compost process by the posters posted around the school.

Furthermore, the program itself teaches students the importance of recycling and being mindful about their consumption, skills necessary especially in today’s world. The kitchen staff also feels assured, knowing the extra food is not simply wasted or added to landfills, but rather benefits the environment and the school itself. Ultimately, the composting program at Awty is not only good for the environment, but it is also good for the student body and staff as it teaches them to be mindful of the world that supports them.

recycling school supplies and school-related waste

At The Awty International School, we go beyond the usual stream of recycling available around the city.

We aim to be a “zero waste" campus. We first identified the waste produced in the classroom. A big portion comes from school-related waste such as writing instruments, glue sticks, tape cores, batteries, ink cartridges, and small electronics.

We then identified places where such waste can be either recycled, upcycled (transformed into different objects such as used plastic turned into a watering can), or refurbished (for small electronics).

All around campus, you will find recycling stations where such waste (writing instruments, glue sticks, tape cores, batteries, ink cartridge, and small electronics) can be dropped off. They are located in the Science Wing, Mrs. Boz's office, Mrs. Nguyen's office, and the Lower School copy room.

 

recycling electronics drive

Each year, Awty hosts an electronics drive where the Awty community can bring all of their old electronics (printers, computers, cell phones, audio equipment, and much more) to be properly recycled. This year, the electronics drive took place on February 11. This was the fourth year that The Awty International School has hosted such an event. To date, the school has been able to divert ten 240-pound bags of miscellaneous electronics from being put in a landfill.

 

Reducing international festival waste

The Awty International School's International Festival is one of the biggest on-campus events of the school year. Students, parents, and faculty/staff get to experience tastes from the many countries represented at the festival during the two-day festival.

This is a great experience for the Awty community, but we do not want it to come at the expense of the environment. In an effort to reduce the waste related to serving the food, we have invested in reusable plates and silverware provided for all to use.

It allows us to reduce the amount of waste by half compared to the years when disposables were used. The students have tracked the collected data since the first year the project was implemented. We went from 846 pounds of waste on day two in 2016 to 420 pounds of waste on day two in 2017. In 2019, we collected 575 pounds of waste on day two of the festival.

food

The edge of the world and the back of a garden have the same quantity of marvelous things.” - Christian Bobin

fall planting

 

In fall 2017, Sandie Masson’s CM1 class, along with Olivier Logette’s support, planted radishes, carrots, bulbs, mustard, and onions in the school's vegetable garden.

The students worked to maintain the garden every week by watering the plants and picking the vegetables as they became ripe. They loved putting their hands in the dirt and reaping the rewards of their efforts by eating the vegetables they had grown; this even included the fresh radishes, which had a strong flavor. The students showed great pride in eating what they planted. The sweet potato harvest was used to make the mashed potatoes that were served at the school's Thanksgiving celebration.

While learning how to garden, the students observed the wide variety of insects that visited the plants, and gained a better understanding of how to take care of our environment. One specialty plant they nurtured was milkweed, which was planted to help attract and feed endangered Monarch butterflies. The students also had the opportunity to observe a spider feeding. The gardening project helped open their eyes to nature and all that it has to offer.

The garden was revived in the spring of 2018; the new season brought its own surprises for the students to discover.

Agathe, Alyssa, Amélie, Antoine, Charles, Chloé, Côme, Constance, Éléonore, Elvire, Fahd, Leilah, Margot, Matthieu, Mylharis, Parisya, Pierre, and Vivienne have become keen gardeners! Some students have even been working on their cooking skills by making carrot-onion bouillon and radishes with salted butter. We are all very excited to be a part of the next harvest, which will include delicious, juicy strawberries! These fresh berries are sure to be quickly eaten and enjoyed by Awty's junior gardeners.

transportation

The only way forward, if we are going to improve the quality of the environment, is to get everybody involved.” - Richard Rogers. 

carpool to school with carpool world

The Awty International School contracts with CarpoolWorld to provide a free carpool matching service for our community. This is a closed group and only Awty families can access it.

Sharing automobile transportation dramatically reduces costs and environmental impact for the driver and passengers. The carpooling program takes the hassle out of finding and contacting your ideal carpooling partners.

There is no obligation - you may join, quit, leave, and come back at any time. This is not a transportation business, just a great tool to help you reduce your carbon footprint.

You can request a personal invitation code in My BackPack>My Forms/Documents>My Forms.

Energy

The nation that leads in renewable energy leads the world.” - James Cameron

charging station

As part of Awty’s commitment to sustainability, the school chose to fund the installation of an electric car charging station and the dedication of hybrid and electric car parking spots on the second floor of the parking garage. This was in an effort to encourage the use of more efficient methods of transportation and to express gratitude towards those who have chosen to sacrifice the many conveniences of a conventional car in order to protect our planet. Electric and hybrid car owners can park in the designated spots without having to search for parking spots during busy hours while enjoying the free charging station.

Furthermore, it is important to realize that many students get their first cars and start driving in high school and it is was only appropriate for Awty, given its sustainable goals, to support students who drive electric cars. As a result, the charging station exists as an encouragement for students and allows them to consider electric cars for their daily commute whereas this would have not been possible for many before due to the limited range of electric cars.

The proposal to designate hybrid and electric parking spots and to install an electric car charging station was made by a group of Awty students as part of the annual ConocoPhillips Total Sustainability Challenge and is an example of a funded project that is used on a daily basis.