Sustainability at Harker
In June 2016 Harker became certified as a Bay Area Green Business by the county of Santa Clara. This honor is a culmination of decades of environmental awareness and a continuing effort to bring sustainability to all aspects of our school. Our Green Mission is "Modeling and teaching a sustainable relationship with the environment."
Harker takes being green seriously, in both big and small ways. Nichols Hall, opened in 2009, was the first LEED Gold certified school building in Santa Clara County. And our two newest facilities, to open in 2018, are being designed to achieve LEED Gold certification. Our new theater and gym will be highly energy efficient, including a 140-kilowatt photovoltaic system to keep the buildings about 25% off the grid. Harker also has an Integrated Pest Management Program that uses a variety of techniques to minimize the use of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. And we have protocols in place to keep water use at a minimum, including letting our fields go brown in the drought; reduce electricity and gas usage in classrooms; and to transform the way we dispose of hazardous waste from art classes and regular maintenance.
Our students know that the food at school is great. But they may not realize that we run our kitchens with the same sustainability goals as the rest of our campus. Batch cooking ensures freshness and reduces waste. Much of our food comes from local farms, including non-GMO produce and our hormone-free dairy products and free-range and cage-free chickens and eggs. And we make sure all our vendors are using good practices. More about food at Harker.
Our transportation system is comprehensive: we have shuttles running between our four campuses, we run home-to-school bus service to three locations in the Bay Area, and we provide carpool vouchers to our staff. All of these measures encourage fewer cars on the road. Our students got into the act by launching a "no idling" campaign to keep cars turned off while in the pickup zone. More about transportation.
Educating Our Students
We may observe Earth Day at Harker, but our efforts to educate students about sustainability last all year. Freshmen enjoy a service day that includes work outings to the Guadalupe Park Conservancy. Teachers host activities in and out of their classrooms that feature green curriculum. And the student club The Green Team gives its members an opportunity to work on their own green initiatives.
Being green isn't just for teachers and students. Our entire community gets into the act. Our Green Committee has representatives from the faculty and several offices including food service, communications and the business office. The committee's Google site has updates about their work and an online suggestion form that allows anyone - parents, students, faculty and staff - to make green suggestions. We also have an environmentally friendly purchasing policy; we use 30% recycled paper in printer and photocopies and encourage reductions among offices and classrooms; and our successful implementation of a "wet/dry" recycling system earned us a commendation from the city of San Jose.
Here are some recent stories about sustainability from Harker News.