At Westtown, sustainability is central to how we educate and live. Students are not just learning about environmental issues, they are seeking for solutions that will move us towards a more sustainable future. You can see innovative, sustainable design everywhere on campus from the solar panels on the Athletic Center, to the LEED Gold Certified Science Center, to our organic student farm to our Dining Room’s 4 Star Green Restaurant designation. We are so serious about sustainability, in fact, that we have been named a Green Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education.
Students in all grades get into the act by engaging with natural systems and learning about the complex patterns they model. For example:
- In Lower School, our youngest students are introduced to the wonder of connecting to the natural world through a place based exploration of our campus. Early learners begin to use the principles of Design Thinking to find real-world solutions to environmental issues that they feel need to be addressed.
- Middle School curriculum investigates the complexity of climate change through a focused, interdisciplinary approach.
- Upper School offers many opportunities for students to engage through diverse course offerings, student activism, after school co-curricular options and weekend program events.
- Westtown students plant and harvest organic vegetables from the school’s beautiful student organic farm.
- The Dining Room is strongly committed to sustainability and purchases nearly 40% locally grown food.
- Check out the Science Center's real time energy and water use here.
Learn more about the Sustainability Curriculum in each division!
We, the Westtown School community, will fulfill our mission to “inspire and prepare our graduates to be stewards and leaders of a better world” by committing to protecting and enhancing the environment through our teaching and our institutional practices. Guided by the principles of the Religious Society of Friends, we are called to lead by example in creating a community that sustains ecological systems and that makes environmental awareness and responsible environmental action core values.
The school’s decisions and actions will be guided by their environmental and educational impact now and in the future so that in meeting the needs of today’s Westonians we will support the mission, longevity, and future prosperity of the institution and the larger world. We will pay particular attention in our operations to sustainable land use and management, construction and renovation of facilities, and energy and resource consumption, giving priority to practices that can teach sustainability.
Ultimately, our goal is to create an environmentally literate and responsible community of students, faculty, staff, and families whose daily actions reflect care for the earth and its biodiversity.
~Adopted by the Board of Trustees May, 2008
For students, farm to plate sometimes takes only a few hours at Westtown; students might pick tomatoes as part of their morning work job, then enjoy them for lunch the same day.
Our Dining Room serves produce from the student farm year round, as well as produce from 80 area farms, delivered weekly from Philadelphia’s Common Market.
Westtown helped found the PA Association of Independent Schools Farm-to-School Buying Consortium which has encouraged over 20 area independent schools to source their produce locally.
Campus-wide No Tobacco and No Vehicle Idling Policies, plus use of low or no VOC paints and finishings in buildings where possible improve indoor air quality.
100% of Westtown's energy usage is matched with Renewable Energy Credits sourced from wind facilities. Westtown also models renewable energy generation on campus through:
- a 44 kW solar array on the Athletic Center.
- geothermal heating and cooling in two dormitories, the science building, and five faculty homes
- solar hot water in the LEED Gold science building, which opened in 2014.
Westonians take conservation seriously: Since 2007 we have
- Cut campus electricity use by 18%
- Reduced carbon emissions from heating, cooling, and electricity by 60%
- Invested more than $500,000 from energy savings back into our programs
- Begun setting a timeline for achieving carbon neutrality
The Board of Trustees adopted a green building policy to ensure that new buildings and renovations meet strict energy and conservation guidelines.
- The LEED Gold Science Building which opened in January, 2014
- Balderston Commons and dormitory is geothermally heated and cooled, and is Energy Star Certified
- The renovated Facilities Building received LEED Commercial Interiors Certification
- Stone House dormitory is Geothermally heated and cooled
- All faculty houses and campus buildings have received energy audits and retrofits
- With Single Stream Recycling campus-wide, we divert a whopping 55% of our waste from landfills -- up from 20% only three years ago.
- Compost from all three divisions gets turned into fertility for the campus gardens, or feeds the chickens at our commercial farm.
- Goal by 2015: 65% waste diversion
Westtown’s 600-acre campus provides outstanding opportunities for learning: a 14-acre lake, a 200-acre commercial farm, a 1-acre student farm, old growth forest, and previously logged woodlands.
- Students in all divisions get outside to observe, learn, and interact with the distinct ecosystems on the school’s 600-acre campus
- The lake, used for student canoeing, skating, and fishing, will undergo dam replacement and restoration in spring and summer, 2015
- Students participate in creating native plant gardens and growing food on campus
- Students get into the act to help remove invasive plants in campus woodlands