By Heath Urie Camera Staff Writer
Posted: 11/30/2010 08:13:02 PM MST
When prom season hits next year, students at Boulder's Shining Mountain Waldorf School plan to make the tradition as green as possible by using compostable dishes and tailoring used dresses for new wearers.
The idea is one of many green programs spearheaded by Boulder-area teens, who want city leaders to take notice that they're not just busy sending texts and Tweets.
To get the point across, a dozen students representing several Boulder high schools met during a special session of the Boulder City Council on Tuesday night.
The meeting, held at Casey Middle School, served as a forum for members of the city's Youth Opportunities Advisory Board -- a city-sponsored group of high school students who tackle youth-related issues -- and students from various environmental clubs to share what teens in Boulder are doing to help save the environment.
Alex Budd, a senior at Fairview High School, said his school has taken on environmental issues head first, inviting the Alliance for Climate Education to give a presentation in September, holding a recycling collection earlier this month and working to develop a "green week" at the school early next spring.
"We think we're making a difference," he said.
But he said the city needs to work to show students that it cares about the input of teens as much as any other interest group.
"It doesn't feel like there's been, up to this point, a real emphasis on youth involvement," he said. "Youth need to feel that they have a voice, a strong voice, a voice that matters."
Other students asked the council to consider providing grants or other support specific to youth-sponsored programs.
Riley Marshall, a freshman at Shining Mountain Waldorf School, said the city could help by providing services such as compost bins in public places. Students at her school are also anxious to take their recycling program further.
"Our goal is to become a no-trash school," she said.
To get a start on that goal, students plan to have "no-trash Thursdays," where students pack out what they bring in.
"It forces us to think and to take action and to realize how much we're throwing away," she said.
Marshall said the idea of the eco-friendly prom is an example of how committed students at the school are to the environment.
"It's our generation that is taking action," she said. "It's us, it's now."
Students at New Vista High School have successfully worked to receive grants for solar panels and efficient toilets, according to youth representatives.
And at Boulder High School, a group of students recently formed an environmental club. Its membership has grown from eight charter members to 51 students. The club is now working to develop an energy audit for the school.
Members of the City Council said they were impressed with the ambition and level of commitment from the students.
"Your special interest is the environment, and I'd say our special interest is the environment, too," Mayor Susan Osborne said. "The kinds of things you're doing are wonderful because they do create an awareness."
Read more: Boulder high schoolers share green visions with City Council