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The Greening of a Chicago Public School:
Agassiz Elementary School students celebrate Earth Day

Students, faculty showcase green initiatives including textile recycling contest, food share program, neighborhood litter collection

CHICAGO – Students at Agassiz Elementary School in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood are getting ahead start on celebrating Earth Day this year by showing off the environmentally friendly initiatives theschool has undertaken in an effort to become “greener.”

A group of Agassiz students helping to manage the program – known as the “Green Team” – convened Thursday to demonstrate programs such as food sharing to reduce waste; neighborhood litter collection with sorting of recyclables and waste; and school‐wide composting. The school is also competing against

138 other Chicago‐area schools in a nationwide textile recycling contest for cash prizes based on pounds of clothes and shoes collected sponsored by textile recycler USAgain.

“The excitement of the Green Team’s programs is driving us to jumpstart other new green initiatives that impact our daily lives for the better,” said Agassiz principal Mira Weber. “Earth Day isn’t something that should be recognized just one day out of the year. Our kids are demonstrating that everyday can be Earth Day.

“I am impressed by the leadership skills these young people are developing and the positive example they are setting for the community,” said Chicago Alderman Tom Tunney (44th Ward). “I look forward to working with Agassiz to help make Lakeview a greener neighborhood for our next generation and for the good of our planet.”

Agassiz officials and students are also discussing new year‐round programs to lower the school’s carbon footprint. On Monday, April 22, they will host a Recycle‐A‐Thon from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm featuring clothing drop‐off by USAgain, shredding and recycling of sensitive documents by Midway Document Construction; and used technology collection.

“It’s wonderful to see our students so enthusiastic about giving back to their community,” said Ian Overway, a teacher at Agassiz who is coordinating the Green Team. “They’re inspired with the range of possibilities that recycling offers – from clothing and shoes to food or even used electronics – and we hope they continue to be leaders for their generation.”

USAgain, a Chicago‐based textile recycling company that helps divert millions of pounds and textiles from landfills each year, challenged area schools to collect clothing, shoes and textiles during the month of April as part of their Earth Month contest. The five schools that collect the most textiles per student will be awarded cash prizes of $1,000, $750, $500, $250, and $100, respectively. All participating schools will earn cash based on pounds of clothes and shoes collected.

The school plans to use any money earned from the USAgain contest to put toward an expanded recycling program at the school, added Weber. Agassiz students have already collected an estimated 1969 pounds of reusable textiles in 2013.

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Visit Agassiz Elementary School on the web.