Green Schools

Committee 2019- 2020

Chairperson: Victoria Cottrell

Vice-Chair:  Laragh Hatterell

Secretary: Ellen Duggan

Co-ordinating Teachers: Ms. Carroll,  Ms. Carew and Ms. Ryan

There is one student representative per class group from first to fourth year, and all interested from Fifth and Sixth year.

The committee meets once a week on Wednesday, at 1:30pm.

Our noticeboard is located at the heart of the school, in the Social Area. It is a vital method of communication for us, as it relays information regarding various competitions, actions that we are undertaking and information regarding the various flags as well. Within the school, we collect and recycle batteries, mobile phones and of course normal recycled materials, i.e. Cans, paper, etc.

 

 

Congratulations on achieving their EIGHT Green Flag

Green Schools Committee 19-20

 

 

Green Schools Committee Report 2019-2020

Despite the somewhat unconventional nature of this School Year, Green Schools have achieved our eighth Green Flag, Global Citizenship and Marine Environment, a huge achievement that took a lot of hard work. This makes us the most successful Green Schools Committee in Munster. Chairperson Victoria Cottrell’s speech at the Opening Year Assembly outlined the Committee’s goals for the year. Committee members were voted in by their classes in September.

The year kicked off with a survey into the usage of disposable bottles in the School. Last year it had been decided by Ms Butler and the Green Schools Committee, that the use of disposable plastic bottles would be banned in the Ursuline for the forthcoming academic year, after over four hundred students signed a petition in support of the ban. Our first task this year was surveying the effects of the ban and it was discovered that disposable plastic bottle usage had dropped from 80% to just 14%!

Some TYs did an investigation into microplastics in tea bags, and discovered that many brands contain them. They presented their findings to the committee. Companies that used plastic were contacted and asked if they planned to remove plastic, students were informed of the outcome.

The first major Green Schools event of the year was the annual Swop Shop, which took place after the mid-term break in November. This year’s theme was ‘Disco and Going Out Clothes’, and the turn-out was immense! Students brought in pre-loved, good condition fashionable items that they no longer planned on wearing and in return received tokens that they could exchange for a brand ‘nearly’ new piece. It was a huge success, and over 500 items of clothing were exchanged. Due to the event’s popularity, another one was planned for May… which, for obvious reasons, will not be going ahead. Alongside the Swop Shop, we ran a campaign to make students aware of the environmental effects of fast fashion. A survey was undertaken to find out Ursuline attitudes to fast fashion and it was revealed that students were regularly buying clothes from brands that didn’t have the soundest environmental track record and fashion labels that weren’t known for their eco-friendly credentials! The campaign worked to educate students on how the ways they spend their money on clothes has a knock-on effect on our world.

The Open Night also took place in November. Green Schools set up a stall to provide information about the workings of the Committee to in coming students and their parents. We told them what Green Schools is, what it does within the School, and about the School’s continued progress in all matters environmental.

We organised a competition at Christmas for First and Second Years, to see which class could make the best Christmas decoration from recycled materials. The competition was judged by Sarah C. Fitzgerald, Ms Frend and Ms Carroll and 2D won with their excellent tree made from boxes. We also tried to spread awareness about wrapping paper waste and how to avoid it.

The New Year (and what a year it turned out to be) brought with it preparations for our application for the Flag. Our assessment took place in early March. We were assessed by Catherine Broderick, Environmental Officer for Tipperary. Though technically we are not supposed to know until September, she emailed Ms Carroll informing us that our application has been successful. We have eight Green Flags! This is a tremendous achievement and down to a lot of hard work on behalf of the Green Schools teachers and Committee members. Though we would have liked to take up new initiatives and expand other causes this year, we can continue to be as eco-friendly as possible from the safety of our homes.

A huge thank you and congratulations to everyone who has put their time and energy into Green Schools this year, particularly to our wonderful teachers- Ms Carroll, Ms Carew and Ms Ryan. None of it could happen without you fully on board.
Also a special word of mention and thanks to the Sixth Year members of the Committee who have given so much of their time, their idealism and practical enthusiasm to all things environmental in the School during their time with us. Thanks Mollie Lloyd, Laragh Hatterell, Faye Hogan, Georgia O’Driscoll, Kate Brophy and Victoria Cottrell. You’ll be missed at our Wednesday lunchtime gatherings next year.

By Ellen Duggan, Fifth Year Green Schools Secretary, 2019/2020

Be Wattaware - SEAI National Competition Winner "One Good Idea"

A team from Ursuline Secondary School were the overall winners in the 2017 SEAI National competition "One Good Idea." This annual competition is open to primary and secondary school students. Teams are required to come up with an idea that will inspire lifestyle changes to save energy and help tackle climate change. There were 500 entrants in all. The team from the Ursuline were the first junior team in the nine-year history of the competition to win the overall prize. The group members were six Second year students, Ellen Duggan, Ellie Culitan, Grainne Quinlan, Kellyann Ryan, Victoria Cottrell and Zoe Bracken. They received a huge amount of guidance and encouragement from their dedicated teacher, Ms. Carroll.

They won with their project " Bee Wattaware". This project raised awareness about energy labels on domestic appliances. The team produced leaflets and questionnaires, they created posters and they had a Snapchat and Instagram page with over a hundred followers. They hosted a quiz in school. They even wrote an article for the Tipperary Star. They also visited classes and primary schools to promote their idea.
After a number of preliminary rounds, the ‘Bee Wattaware’ team made it to the top fifteen out of the original 500 entrants. So the next stop was Croke Park for the final where they were invited make a presentation.

All finalists received free t-shirts and 200 euro for their school. "Bee Wattaware" gave a five-minute presentation in front of a panel of three judges. They all dressed up as gangsters and had a giant cut out of a bee and a chocolate bar. This grabbed the attention of all who were watching, as the group rapped about what they had done in their project. As the judges deliberated, the team got to meet the Minister for the Environment, Denis Naughten and convinced him to put on a gangster hat as well!
Then it was time for the big reveal. The judges had made their decision, the runners up and winners of the junior and senior categories were announced. The team sat there hoping that they would hear their names for the most creative presentation. When they didn’t hear their name being called out all hope evaporated as no junior team had ever won the main competition. They were starting to pack up, when the overall winner was declared. Ursuline Thurles had won the overall competition! They jumped for joy and screamed with delight.
They won a trophy and 1500 euro for the school, a 50 euro ‘One For All’ voucher for each member and also an Amazon Alexa. They also got to design a poster, based on their project, that was hung in every AIB branch in Tipperary. After the presentation there was a photoshoot and an interview for the SEAI website. It was amazing, a once in a life time experience!

The September after their phenomenal win they got invited back up to Dublin to SEAI's headquarters for the launch of their poster. Again they met the Minister, Denis Naughten and got a photoshoot with him and the head of SEAI. They received a copy of their poster which now hangs proudly in the school. The team presented their project which helped the school to receive another Green Flag.

On a personal note, doing the "Bee Wattaware" project was an unforgettable experience. It was stressful but rewarding. I would just like to give a huge thanks to Ms. Carroll for helping us throughout this project, it would have not been possible without her.

By Victoria Cottrel

PAST FLAGS:

First Green Flag : Recycling

Second Green Flag : Energy Saving

Third Green Flag: Water Conservation

Fourth Green Flag: Sustainable Transport

Fifth Green Flag: Biodiversity

Sixth Green Flag: Global Citizenship - Litter and Waste

Seventh Green Flag : Global Citizenship - Energy