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Making an Impact—Principia Students Tackle Sustainability Challenges

Whether it’s supporting nonprofit organizations in the St. Louis community combating hunger and poverty or raising awareness about coral reef preservation, Principians of all ages are making a notable impact through the school-wide initiative known as the “Impact Challenge.” In essence, educators challenge each School level (Early Childhood, Lower, Middle, and Upper) to make a positive impact in the community. Guided by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), students showcase their understanding of sustainability and highlight their efforts to address these goals during the annual Impact Challenge celebration.

On Friday, February 18, students presented the amazing work they’ve done to peers and regional professionals working in sustainability fields. Student-developed initiatives included collecting and selling produce from school gardens to the community, raising money for local organizations focused on food security and eliminating poverty, educating others about energy consumption on campus, encouraging the reduction of food waste, and much more.

Director of Sustainability and Upper School teacher Lynne Scott launched the Impact Challenge to give students an active role as change agents—not only in their own school community but in the world.

Throughout the year, students and faculty work together to address the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals through various initiatives, classroom projects, fundraisers, and more. The work completed throughout the semester culminates in an educational showcase attended by professionals from nonprofit organizations who provide feedback to the students. This year, Japhet School from Clawson, Michigan, and Notre Dame High School from St. Louis also participated in the event.

Community movers and shakers and experienced professionals from around the country shared their insights during the Impact Challenge Showcase. The School was delighted to collaborate with professionals from Urban Harvest STL, SDG Talks, The Saint Louis Zoo, and Principia College—to name a few. Nick Speed, CEO and Founder of Ujima, gave an inspiring talk during the event’s kickoff. After the presentations, students had the opportunity to hear from SDG experts during breakout sessions. The following professionals lent their time and expertise to bring these important sustainability topics to life:

Jacquelyn Ballard: International Institute Saint Louis Information and Outreach Coordinator
Michelle Boatman: Alliance for Period Supplies
Kirsten Brauch: Administrative Director at Guardian Angel Settlement Association
Hannah Carter: Sustainability Coordinator for Parkway School District
Dr. Karen Eckert: Principia College Professor and Director for Sustainability
Eric Fjone: Key Account Executive at Ameren Missouri
Stephanie Gavin: Civitas and UNA-STL
Pamela Greer Hibbler: UNA-STL Vice President and Advocacy Chair
Justin Idleberg: UNA-STL SDG Chair
Dr. Nicholas Johnson: Principia College Associate Professor of Sustainability
Kyle Knuden: Principal Engineer of McClure Engineering
Kerri Lammering, Emily Bowling, and Lisa Lidgus: Conservation Ed. at the Saint Louis Zoo
Dr. Stacey Parker: MEEA
Ema Phelps: Climate Reality Project, Triple Bottom Line Institute, United Nations Association
Kevin Sofen: SDG Talks Podcast
Dr. Jennifer Stollman: J.A. Stollman Consulting
Diana Sussman Tockstein: Junior Chamber International
Armina Petrescu-Tudor: International Institute Saint Louis Manager of Strategic Initiatives
Arielle Wright: Urban Harvest STL Education and Community Engagement
Jen Young and Kathy Fournier: National Great Rivers Research and Education Center

Get a glimpse of the 2022 Impact Challenge Showcase in this student-created recap.