At Rock Point School, sustainability is one of our core values. By definition, sustainability is the capacity to endure. It is to ensure that the actions that we take today best serve both our current generations, as well as those that follow us in the future. It focuses on the three E’s: environment, economy, and social equity. In many ways, Rock Point School operates through a lens of sustainability. These ideas of tending to the current needs of our community while thinking about future generations are pervasive throughout our program. Sustainability is supported both in our physical operations, as well as in our curriculum.
Our Green School
Over the past years, Rock Point School has made many gains in its quest to become a “green” school and reduce its carbon footprint. Rock Point School is a 100+ year old historic building filled with a lot of forward-thinking, sustainable practices. As a part of our daily living, the Rock Point community practices recycling, composting (all food and paper waste), and energy conservation. Through our capital campaign, investments to improve the efficiency of our facility are being made, such as upgrading our windows and appliances.
Harnessing the Sun
In the fall of 2011, the Episcopal Diocese of Vermont and Rock Point School joined together with All Earth Renewables and Burlington Electric Department to install a 150 KW solar orchard on Rock Point property. The power produced by the 35 trackers gets fed onto the grid, and in turn the Rock Point properties earn credit on their electricity bills. This renewable energy install is another representation of Rock Point School’s dedication to a better, more sustainable future for our students and our community. In addition to reducing our immediate carbon footprint (in the summer of 2012 this system produced over 80% of energy needs), the money saved in energy costs will be reinvested into making the buildings on Rock Point property more energy efficient.
The concepts supporting sustainability are also strong in our academic and dorm programs. In the classroom, focus on both learning what it means and practicing to be a sustainable community is integrated into the curriculum in many ways. Students utilize the solar orchard to learn about energy production and energy consumption. They participate in local governmental meetings. In many ways, students connect with nature. They conduct ecological studies on Rock Point. They read literature that accentuates humans’ relationships with the natural world. In the dorm there are many opportunities for our students to experience first hand connections to nature and community through hiking, climbing, rafting, fishing, sailing and simply walking. It is with these place-based experiences that students form stronger bonds with the bigger world, ultimately making them stronger stewards of the future.