Warrenville, Ill. (Jan. 13, 2009) – Students returning to school from winter break can start the new year off with a resolution for their schools to be more environmentally responsible. The nation’s largest school bus manufacturer, IC Bus, is looking for America’s Greenest School – and students can help.
Students can enter by visiting www.AmericasGreenestSchool.com. On the site, they can learn more about making their school more environmentally friendly and submit a 500-word essay that describes what makes their school “green.” Activities such as setting up in-school recycling programs, keeping lights turned off when not in use, using environmentally smart landscaping and encouraging students to ride school buses instead of driving to school are all ideal solutions for creating a greener school.
The submission should describe how the school shows its commitment to going green, how it teaches its students the value of green living, how it shows its dedication to green transportation or how it embodies the spirit of a greener planet.
“This program can help students, teachers and parents learn that they do have the power to make greener choices that will positively affect the environment,” said Terra Wellington, author of the new book “The Mom's Guide to Growing Your Family Green: Saving the Earth Begins at Home” and one of the essay contest judges. “Making America’s schools greener is a winning lesson plan for everyone.”
Here are some of Terra’s tips for greening your school:
- Ride the bus: Riding the school bus is a great way to reduce your school’s carbon footprint. The American School Bus Council estimates that each diesel school bus takes 36 cars off the road, which significantly reduces fuel use, emissions and traffic congestion. In fact, 3.1 billion gallons of fuel are saved annually by students who ride school buses instead riding in cars.
- Use both sides of the paper: Ask your teacher if you can print reports and other homework assignments “double-sided” to save paper. By printing double sided, your paper consumption is halved, significantly reducing waste.
- Become a light monitor: Ask your teacher to use the classroom’s natural light whenever possible. When the classroom is empty, make sure lights are turned off and computers are in standby mode. A standby setting can reduce power over 90 percent, helping to conserve energy.
- Pack a litterless lunch: Don't use any disposable containers to pack your lunch from brown bags to plastic baggies. Instead, use containers that can be washed and reused.
- Recyle: Ask your teacher or principal about setting up a recycling bin for paper, plastic bottles and cans. If your school already has a program, encourage others to participate.
Finalists will be announced after Earth Day and the public will be able to vote for their pick to win the title of America’s Greenest School. The winning school will receive a plug-in hybrid school bus from IC Bus, which can increase the fuel efficiency of standard school buses by up to 65 percent and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 40 percent. The hybrid school bus has an estimated retail value of $200,000. The student who submits the winning essay will win a $5,000 scholarship. Sponsoring teachers may receive $3,000 to use toward educational materials.
IC Bus, LLC of Warrenville, Ill., is a wholly owned affiliate of Navistar International Corporation (NYSE: NAV). The top manufacturer of school and commercial buses, IC Bus is a global leader in passenger protection, chassis design, engines and ergonomics. The company is also a producer of commercial buses. All IC Bus buses are sold, serviced and supported through a renowned dealer network that offers an integrated customer program encompassing parts, training and service. Additional information is available site at www.icbus.com.