Conferences & Workshops

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Sustainability In School Communities Through Student Voices

Date: Saturday - April 09, 2016
Time: 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Location: The Calhoun School
433 West End Ave, New York, NY
All Grades

Download printable program brochure and schedule here.

A Sustainable future is reliant on our understanding of the critical interconnections between Social Justice, Economics, and The Environment. Establishing school wide understanding of this principle, enables us to push the conversation past "being green" and allows greater community involvement, commitment and action.

Schools strive to be communities of shared commitment and values, but is that collective power used optimally?

Often, work is being done in diversity, ethics, community service, and curriculum, or even at the board level, that is critical in educating students for a sustainable future. But school communities, for various reasons do not see the connections or the alignment of mission. Achieving sustainability in a school setting is often difficult when the various constituents are not all working in concert.

Many schools, while making great strides in achieving sustainable practices, find critical elements still lacking. Education about climate change stands out as a glaring example. It is critically important that schools work to adopt a more holistic view of sustainability, which can serve as an umbrella for a multitude of seemingly disparate initiatives.  We believe that putting students at the front of this work is not only meaningful, but essential.

This conference, organized by students from more than a half dozen schools, aims to bring  stakeholders from participating institutions together with the goal of exploring strategies to implement real systemic change.  Each school is strongly encouraged to send students and adults as a team. Ideally, each team would include several students, a teacher, administrator, board member, and a parent. In order to facilitate the registration process, each school should designate a coordinator to organize and register its team.

The conference will conclude with a town-hall meeting to discuss the most effective ways to sustain the learning and connections that happen at the conference.


8:45 – 9:30 am

Registration, Breakfast & Networking (Calhoun Commons)

9:30 – 10:15am

Introductions & Keynote w/Q&A with Kehkeshan Basu (Theater)

10:20 – 11:00am

Workshop 1 (3rd & 4th floors)


Chef Bobo – Long Term Values of a Sustainable Lunch Program

The Calhoun School started their EatRightNow Lunch Program, a sustainable program, almost 14 years ago. The mission of the program has been to train palates which have eaten a diet of predominantly processed foods, to recognize and appreciate the taste and nutritional value of food in its natural state, never processed. 6 chefs who trained at Calhoun left to go create the same type of lunch program at other schools. A large number of students who graduated from Calhoun have gone into professions in the food industry. This panel which examines the potential long term value of sustainable lunch programs will consist of chefs from various schools who are cooking real food in their lunches and students who have graduated from Calhoun (and perhaps other schools) to pursue a career in the food system.


Solar 1 – How Can We Build a More Sustainable Future for New York

During this workshop, Solar One Educators will facilitate a discussion on the environmental and health impacts of conventional electricity production, and explore methods for climate change mitigation and adaptation through the lens of energy efficiency and renewable energy. Workshop attendees will participate in interactive games and activities, learn about new solar initiatives in NYS, and engage in discussion on best practices for improving energy efficiency in school buildings.


Composting Basics
Sara Gatanas, Other
Urban Garden Center
Grades PK-12

In this workshop we will discuss composting basics & ways to apply these basics at school and home. We will make our own mini compost bins using upcycled coffee containers. After attending this workshop attendees will know how composting works and how to make and use their very own compost bin.


Designing a Curriculum to Engage Students in Sustainable Change
Leitzel Schoen, Administrator
Claire Brennan, Constance Vidor
Friends Seminary
Grades 5-8

Teachers who are part of a team that designed and implemented a service learning curriculum for 5th and 6th grades will share highlights from their experiences in implementing goLEAD. Will cover global environmental themes, changemaker activities and social-emotional learning connections. Workshop for educators. After attending this workshop attendees will be able to consider ways to connect their students to sustainability challenges and solutions.


WATER: Access, Justice and Sustainability
Marcella Rosen, Teacher
Linda Miglierina - 5th/6th grade teacher; Chrysanthi Fairchild-5th grade teacher
United Nations International School
Grades 5-8

In this workshop, teachers and students will present highlights of an integrated fifth grade unit revolving around water, our most precious resource. Through interactive means, attendees will experience the extraordinary journey of one of the Lost Boys of Sudan as well as hearing first hand from students who raised over $15,000 to build wells in drought stricken places around the world. After attending this workshop attendees will be able to empathize with people who lack access to clean water and to act as a global citizen to help solve world water problems.


Environmental Initiatives For Your School
Alec Fleischer, Student
Grades 5-12

The goal of this workshop is to summarize several potential projects that can help reduce your school's carbon footprint. Throughout the workshop we will focus on an array of projects from large scale solar power to replacing single use paper towels with hand dryers. This workshop is great for anyone looking to make a physical change in their school. After attending this workshop attendees will be able to go back to their school and introduce carbon cutting projects.

11:10 – 11:55am

Workshop 2 (3rd & 4th floors)


The Ties that Bind Us
Ken Higgins, Teacher
Rashidah Bowen, US Counselor & Diversity Coordinator
The Town School
Grades PK-12

A sustainable future is reliant on our understanding of the critical interconnections between Social Justice, Environmentalism and Economics. You are all key players in sustaining the culture of your individual schools, and whether or not it is articulated, educating them for a sustainable future. In this session, the facilitators will help to identify the ways in which these tenets of sustainability are already represented in your school’s mission statement, curricula and initiatives. Using a series of hands on activities we will help participants to identify establish a framework and language by which this can be articulated to school leaders. After attending this workshop attendees will be able to build a framework to demonstrate alignment of seemingly disparate initiatives and curricula under the umbrella of Educating for Sustainability.


Know Your (Climate) Rights!
Kazi Ateea, Student
High School for Medical Professions
Grades 9-12

Are you interested in empowering people your age? How about changing public policy? The following workshop will be on a youth led campaign to add onto the curriculum of the DOE. Learn how mandated climate change education will help the youth of New York combat an issue that is affecting them without their knowledge. After attending this workshop attendees will be able to 1) identify why climate change is Important; 2) why youth are the most at risk of climate change; 3) ways youth have been and continue to take action


Time to Take Back the Tap!
Lana Guardo, Other
Alex Beauchamp - Northeast Region Director of Food & Water Watch; Aditi Varshneya - student who runs F&WW
Take Back the Tap Campaign at New York University
Food & Water Watch
Grades 9-12

How much do know about where the water you drink comes from? In this workshop you will hear from NYU student and community organizer, Aditi Varshneya about her work to ban the sale of bottled water at New York University.   Join us to learn about the extensive work going on around the state to make sure our tap water is kept clean, safe to drink, and publicly accessible to every single New Yorker. PLUS! ...Feeling hungry? Take this workshop before you grab your next snack! Come learn about the food we eat, how we don't always know what it's made of, and how New Yorkers are fighting for the labeling of all foods containing genetically modified ingredients (GMOs). After taking this workshop, students will have the tools they need to create real change in their communities. You will walk away armed with knowledge on our current food and water systems and you will have learned what New Yorkers can do to help protect our most precious resources!


Going Green from the Bottom Up
Clematis Everett, Teacher
Kerry Linderoth hopefully a student from the Environmental Club will also join us
Rye Country Day School
Grades 5-12

Sustainability can be daunting, but it doesn't have to be. Here are some of the ways that students, faculty, and staff have initiated and convinced the administration to adopt changes at Rye Country Day School. Small steps have made big differences in our footprint, including food and water consumption. After attending this workshop attendees will be able to identify steps they could bring back to their schools to reduce their environmental impact. Take lessons learned from other schools to most effectively implement these changes.


RE!NEW Building Blocks from Waste
Ica van Tongeren, Other
Grades 9-12

As a product designer I am too acutely aware of the life cycles of the objects we create. I am driven to create new products from what already exists, always looking to develop ways to transform and incorporate waste into sustainable new products, and continue to search for ways to improve all stages of product life, from the way we make them to the way we use and dispose of them.[?]Closing the loop of disuse of industrial and post-consumer waste is a major problem for urban environments and the communities that live in them. Collective power used optimally is the solution to both our environmental and our waste problems. In this workshop I want to share with participants the process of discovering the properties of a material that would otherwise be wasted, and to transform it into something new and valuable. Participants will be challenged to make an object that can be used as a building block (unit of construction), by using only the waste that they have collected together, and additional waste objects provided. The more different functional building blocks we create the more unexpected solutions we create from waste! After attending this workshop attendees will be able to: 1.Participants explore the material properties as well as the constructive possibilities of waste. 2.Participants are encouraged to become more proactive in the collection and awareness of waste, which hold potential for re-use as building material.3.Participants will create unique and unexpected new functional products by freely playing (with guidance and examples from the facilitator) and transforming them into building blocks for one big constructive surprise!


Climate Change Mixer
david hyman, Teacher
Calhoun School
Grades 5-12

Through role play and discussion we will explore the effect that climate change has on people around the world. Through this work we hope to have a better understanding of why there is such difficulty in addressing or even acknowledging the problem.   After attending this workshop attendees will be able to better articulate the many facets of the global warming issues and the effects on different populations.

12:00 – 12:45pm

Lunch (Calhoun Commons)

1:00 – 1:30pm

2nd Keynote w/Q&A with Anjali Appadurai (Theater)

1:30– 2:15pm

Workshop 3 (3rd & 4th floors)


Katherine Hade, Student
Flora Morrison and Celia good man (students at The Calhoun School that are a member of the gardening club)
The Calhoun School
Grades PK-12

Held on the roof of the Calhoun school, students, teachers and parents (etc.) will come together to learn about and take part in gardening. The workshop time will be split into two sections. The first section of the time will focus on the details and aspects of gardening, through a group discussion. Afterwards, we will learn about tower gardens, and how they can bring gardening indoors. The rest of the time will be used to garden on the roof of the Calhoun school, and give the workshop participants a hands on learning experience about gardening. We will toss the soil and plant together in the gardening beds on the roof. If the weather does not permit, we will not be on the roof, but instead only work on the tower gardens. After attending this workshop attendees will be able to garden on their own, as well as manage a tower garden


Green Your School with Eco-Schools USA
Emily Fano, Senior Manager
NYC Eco-Schools
Grades PK-12

The National Wildlife Federation's Eco-Schools USA ( is a student-led program that uses a Seven-Step framework and ten “Pathways of Sustainability” as its core programming. Using the framework, school based Eco-Action teams conduct environmental audits on topics such as Climate Change, Energy, Consumption & Waste, Sustainable Food, and/or Biodiversity. Using data from these audits, they create action plans to solve the problems they identify. From launching recycling and composting programs, creating rain gardens, or gardens that support wildlife, students reduce their school and community’s carbon footprint and save money and resources. NWF Eco-Schools USA’:s student driven program provides students with meaningful real-world learning opportunities and empowers them to become leaders of change in their communities. After attending this workshop attendees will be able to understand how they can use the Eco-Schools framework to launch a successful school and community sustainability initiative.


Outcomes of integrating Sciences and basic principles of sustainability in Spanish as a Foreign Language in 3rd and 4th grades.
Alana Andrews, Teacher
Clive Thompson, Isabel Melián
United Nations International School
Grades PK-4

Students of 4th and 5th grade will present ways in which they have learned basic principles in EfS, long term effects, ability to make a difference and interdependence through collaborative Spanish and Sciences units. Students were able in a fun and appealing way to transfer their previous knowledge in Spanish and Sciences into these units. At the same time they committed to change something in their routines/ behaviors in order to contribute to preserve the planet. After attending this workshop attendees will be able to 1.Devise strategies to create collaborative teams to integrate Education for Sustainability (EfS) in the curriculum.2.Formulate integrated lesson plans that use the basic principles of EfS.3.Design appropriate activities to assess learning outcomes.


Bring Back Ban the Bag
Emma Higgins, Student
Friends Seminary
Grades 5-12

Remember NYC’s campaign to put a 10-cent surcharge on plastic bags in NYC? Maybe; maybe not! Doesn’t actually matter to join this workshop! Students and educators will briefly learn about dangers of plastic bags, the movement’s success in other countries, and the extent of the movement here in our own city. The plan will be to brainstorm answers to FAQs and concerns that a district representative might have before writing letters to our respective district reps in hope’s of spreading awareness and spurring a resurgence of this important initiative! Come be part of the revolution! After attending this workshop attendees will more deeply understand how detrimental plastic bags are to society as well as emerge with a feeling that they can make a difference in advancing such an important issue in a short time period.


Anjali Appadurai - Youth Leadership: Why collective action is so important

Anjali will expand on her work as an activist and organizer with the focus on why we need young people to band together and organize around important issues.


Advocacy as an Integral Part of Student Learning
Alan Cass
Anthony Patierno

Come and learn about how CELF Student Ambassadors (SAMs) engage in youth advocacy on a range of sustainability issues both locally and globally. In the CELF Student Ambassador program SAMs receive training in sustainability issues, gain hands-on experience, and develop interpersonal skills while making a difference in their own community and communities around the globe. Ambassadors build relationships within their schools and with students from other high schools while representing CELF at local, regional and national events.

2:15 - 3:00pm

Focused Discussions (3rd & 4th floors)

3:10 – 3:30pm

Reconvene with POD and fill out action plan (Theater)

3:30 – 4:00 pm

Town Hall meeting & Closing remarks by students (Theater)

Anjali Appadurai is a communicator and campaigner in the international youth climate movement. Specializing in the intersection of international climate politics and social movements, she began this work with the organization Earth in Brackets which aims to translate political processes to civil society around the world.  Anjali has worked as an activist, campaigner and strategic communicator at a local and international level around issues of climate change and environmental governance. She has been a delegate at six major UN conferences, organized youth from all over the world, and helped to build a strong youth voice in the UN Climate Convention.

Anjali is currently a part of the Global Campaign to Demand Climate Justice, an international coalition of people’s movements around the world taking action on energy. She is co-founder of the nascent online political platform, Tipping Point Collective. She is also currently a Vancouver-based activist, telling the story of the three-way struggles and tensions between indigenous peoples, the government, and the fossil fuel industry, and speaking up for environmental and social justice.

Anjali’s work has focused on the intersection of international environmental governance and social movements. She continues to explore the question of how to tell the story of climate justice in a way that re-frames the values we want to live in accordance with.

Kehkashan Basu, 15 years old, has been spreading the message of peace and sustainability since she was only 8 years old working tirelessly to enlist the support of children and youth across geographical boundaries. In 2013 at the age of 12, she was elected for a 2year term, Global Coordinator for UNEP’s (United Nations Environment Program) Major Group of Children & Youth and a member of its Major Groups Facilitating Committee making her the youngest person and the first minor, ever, to be elected into this position in the history of UNEP. She is also the Youth Ambassador of World Future Council, Global Advisory Council member of Young Men 4 Gender Equality, the 2013-14 Global President of the Children’s Board for Plant-for-the-Planet and a Global Youth Ambassador for A World At School to promote the cause of global education.
In her role as the voice of children and youth, she has spoken at over 45 United Nations and other international summits, traveling to over 20 countries. In addition to being a climate justice activist, Kehkashan campaigns globally for gender equality, sustainable consumption, future justice, rights of the girl child and the right to education.  For her environmental advocacy at a global level, Kehkashan has received international awards from UNCCD (United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification) in 2012, the 2012 Korea Green Foundation award , the 2013 International Young Eco-Hero award from Action for Nature, USA, the 2014 Kids are Heroes award, the 2015 Solar Pioneer Award, the “Ambassador for the Environment“ from GESS Education Awards 2015, the 2015 Diana Award and the prestigious 2014 NRI (Non-Resident Indian) of the Year award.

Register Here

In order to facilitate the registration process, each school should designate a coordinator to organize and register its team.

Workshops! It is not necessary to sign up for workshops in advance. They are first come-first served. Be sure to have a second choice in mind in case your first choice is full.

Fee includes Continental breakfast, lunch and all materials.

Group Discounts for 6 or more registering together.

  • NYSAIS members
    • $50.00 Per person (1-5 Participants registering together)
    • $40.00 Perpson (6 or more Participants registering together)
    • Late fee of $5 will apply beginning April 4, 2016)

  • Non-members
    • $60.00 Per person (1-5 Participants registering together)
    • $50.00 Perpson (6 or more Participants registering together)
    • Late fee of $10 will apply beginning April 4, 2016)

* Note: Payment is by credit card only.
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