Thursday, March 20, 2008

Green Global Senn

Nicholas Senn High School is launching a bold new Green Arts and Design initiative; global education and environmental sustainability concepts and projects will be implemented across subject areas. Senn’s Green and Global initiative will have three main strands—Arts and design for sustainability; green jobs and technologies; and global environmental awareness.

First—Arts and design for sustainability. Creative attention to global environmental issues is increasingly important--check out this image by Chicago artist and forager, Nance Klehm. Senn’s students, working with local and international artists and designers, will learn ways that the arts and design can pose questions about and offer solutions to the problems of our environment.

Next—Green jobs and technologies. Senn’s focus on green collar jobs will prepare interested students to enter a growing field. For example, there is a greater demand for solar panel installation, than there are installers. Students doing this work will earn a living while also helping to heal our earth.

And last—Global environmental awareness. Senn is a diverse school, with students and families from every part of the world. In other words, Senn is already global. At the same time, we know more clearly now than ever before, that the earth is one place—what we eat, drive, and wear in Chicago affects the lives of families everywhere else. Senn’s Green and Global focus will ground its celebration of diversity within an emphasis on interrelatedness and our responsibilities to each other as world citizens.

Here are a few specific proposals (the school’s Curriculum Committee will consider these and others before selecting inaugural projects):

1). Starting a corps of international Green Senn Friends to serve as advisors. Possible Friends include Wangari Maathai, Vandana Shiva, Oakland’s Ella Baker Center and Ken Dunn, founder of Chicago’s Resource Center.

2). Founding an independent International Center for Green Art and Design Education within Senn to serve as hub for green-related activities, including visual and performing arts events and exhibits, and a Green Artists and Designers in Residence program.

3). Initiate an international Open Call for Proposals for the Green Re-design of Senn’s Campus and Building. The visual and written plans will be exhibited at Senn.

4). Developing Green Corp Career business and culture partners who will provide internships and resources for Senn’s innovative green programming.

5) And of course…rooftop gardens and beehives (this isn’t a new idea for CPS—there are already beekeeping programs at Marshall High, Roosevelt High and the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences.

More ideas? Send them to me at