Achieving a Greener Future

How Dryden’s Sustainability Club is Achieving a Greener Future
Posted on 05/04/2023
Dryden's Sustainability Club standing in front of their new 2023 electric vehicle charging station

After months of planning, research, and fundraising, the Sustainability Club at Dryden High School has officially revealed their electric vehicle charging station.This journey began over a year ago, when the club’s President, Mckenna Crocker and Vice President, Kate Lee visited the Climate Smart Communities Task Force, a group of climate activists around Dryden who meet monthly to discuss various topics relating to climate change and environmental activism. The task force opened the students eyes on the possibility of looking into getting an EV charging station at school. 

They recommended that Mckenna and Kate connect with NYSERDA (The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority). The Sustainability Club researched more on green energy and received positive feedback from the school community. Now more than ever the students were motivated to bring awareness to their peers and make meaningful change. After further conversations with NYSERDA, they were able to donate the entire EV charging station to the club.

The next challenge arose as the installation of the charging station costs were high. Fortunately, through a meeting with the town board the club received a grant from NYSEG. This grant covered 90% of the installation costs and the rest the club fund raised a little over $1,100 to cover the rest and will not cost taxpayers a dime. When asked how club members felt about taking part in this project overall McKenna said, “Our club responded well to the news of this project. It was a big step for us! It feels really cool to be a part of this change. We all had this vision and now get to see it become a reality!” 

Dryden High School Science Teacher’s Travis Crocker and Karen Taylor oversee the Sustainability Club. It began back in 2008, where students felt they needed to make a difference right there at school. “Originally, the high school science department hosted an event called  Conversation with a Scientist. We had three Cornell University professors that came to the campus and shared different ideas to promote sustainability efforts,” explained Travis, “We had a lot of students at this event and they were inspired. They approached Karen and I asking what they could do here to make a difference.” This event was a catalyst for change. Now over a decade later, the Sustainability Club has increased in size, worked on a number of other green efforts and continues to be almost entirely student run. The club's mission is to spread awareness among students, staff, faculty, and the greater community about sustainable issues and the ability to contribute to the development of a more sustainable society.
The club members can start as early as 6th grade, which leaves a lot of room to grow and see efforts come to fruition. Students have worked on multiple projects throughout the years such as building an apple orchard, green houses, and cleaning up local walking paths. Not only do they get to work hands on, but they also develop other skills. “Skills that students build in this club are leadership, building confidence, setting up fundraisers, developing projects, communicating with local businesses and learning how to work in a group,” comments  Karen, “I am going to steal a quote from
Margaret Mead here, ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world...’ This club has done that because students are passionate about this, they don't join this club unless they want to see some changes made, and I want students to realize that you do not need a ton of money to make a difference, just a group of people with the same goal in mind working together.” 

The club's next goal is to make Dryden run on renewable energy and students are also taking a look at how changes can be made to their cafeteria through reusable metal utensils. If you are a Dryden student thinking about your environmental impact and how you can make a change, come join the club! They meet every Tuesday from 2:30pm- 3:00pm in room C-114.