Running a Green Club (this article)
RUNNING A GREEN CLUB
Where is the time to conduct Club activities?
Time availability is usually the first problem that teachers encounter. Some options that could be explored are:
· If the school has club or extracurricular activity periods, these may be utilized.
· Time set aside for SUPW (Social Useful Productive Work) may be used.
· In some case, students may be able to come early, go late or come on holidays.
As is to be expected, if Club activities are planned before the beginning of the school term, it is easier to accommodate the activities.
How much time is needed for Club activities?
It is desirable to set aside at least two periods a week. Of this, some time will be spent on the regular meetings of the members. The rest of the time will be spent on doing projects and undertaking activities that have been planned.
Certain types of projects will demand that students work individually or in groups outside of school hours also. The Club members must decide whether they may want to take up such projects or not.
Where can Eco-Club activities take place?
The space problem is another one that Club often face. Meetings should preferably always be held in the same place so that there is no confusion. This should be a place which can comfortably seat all the members. If possible, the seating arrangements should be unlike a normal classroom. For example, students could sit around a table, or in a circle on chairs, or on the floor. There should also be enough space to display and spread out material. If the school grounds have a secluded corner under a shady tree, this could be an ideal venue. In many schools, an empty classroom, craft room or labs are used for Club meetings.
Apart from the meeting space, it would be useful if the Club could be allotted a lockable cupboard in which all the material, equipment and work-in-progress can be kept.
What happens at an Eco-Club meeting?
A meeting would normally be an opportunity to:
a. Re-affirm commitment to the Club
b. Report on ongoing activities
c. Plan for upcoming events/future activities
d. Learn something new about the environment
e. Display talents
f. Enjoy and be enriched.
The teacher-in-charge, president and members could plan each meeting to achieve many, if not all these objectives.
Objective (a) could be achieved by taking the pledge, singing the Club song and signing a Club register.
(b) could be done in the form of short reports presented by sub-groups appointed for various tasks e.g. a Water Patrol could report on how many taps were found leaking and how many were found left open at the end of recess during the week, and what they intend to do about this. A group which has taken up the task of convincing householders in a neighbourhood to have their own compost pits could report on how many households have been visited, how they are persuading the community members to undertake composting, etc.
In order to plan for upcoming events anyone who has a project in mind could make a presentation on it. All members could discuss it and participate in planning it. Responsibilities would need to be allocated, deadlines set, etc.
To achieve (d) i.e. learning more about the environment, films/slide shows, etc., could be screened, or resource persons called in to deliver a lecture. Members themselves may research and present on some topic, or present reviews of relevant books they have read, etc. These may be further discussed.
To meet objective (e) small groups may be asked to present environment-related skits, songs, poems, stories, dance, etc., each time.
Objective (f) can be met if the other activities are properly planned, and there is enough variety to keep up the interest of members.
How can all the members be actively involved in the meeting?
It is worthwhile to make special efforts to ensure that it is not just the teacher-in-charge and office bearers who decide what happens at meetings. It may be a good idea to have one or two different members plan each meeting as they like.
A meeting should not be simply a one-way communication, but an opportunity to share ideas, views, etc. To this end, activities planned under objective (d) could take the form of a free discussion on a topic which may have just come up or be pre-determined, where members are encouraged to speak out. Some such topics could be:
How can the school toilets be kept clean?
Who is responsible for environmental degradation?
How can we reduce the incidence of malaria in our area?
What role can we play in improving the environment?
How can we encourage students in the school to use public transport to come to school?
Preferably, open-ended topics should be selected, where all members can add their ideas, rather than end up in a debate-like situation where they take sides.
Some key Club related issues will also need to be discussed, e.g. How do we celebrate Wildlife Week? How do we ensure that the trees we plant survive?
For some special meetings, the principal of the school, administrator, etc., may be called in.
Depending on the kind of activities for the week, a meeting may take 20-40 minutes.
How can all members be actively involved in Club activities?
There could be sub-committees of students for ongoing Club activities – e.g. Water Patrol, Electricity Patrol, Garbage Management, School Gardens, etc.
How to form an eco-club or Green Club
Running a Green Club
Support for a Green Club