Sustainability at BGGS

‘We must shift our thinking away from short-term gain toward long-term investment and sustainability, and always have the next generations in mind with every decision we make,’ Deb Haaland, US Secretary of the Interior.

As educators, we care deeply about our students’ learning and encourage them to think critically and ask difficult questions—to challenge what they already know about the world and, hopefully, become the people who improve it.

It is no surprise, therefore, that, when engaging in strategic planning for the future of our School, sustainability is one of many important issues at the forefront of our minds. The solutions to climate change require creative, critical thinkers, and diversity of perspectives, thought, and experience. I know Grammar girls are passionate about the environment, about doing what they can to address the myriad issues facing our planet—but importantly, they are focused on the possibilities for positive change. They seek ways to restore and renew, to effect individual and collective behavioural change. We were intrigued to hear their visions of sustainability during a meeting at lunchtime on Wednesday, including switching to digital submissions of assessment, scrapping paper use in the classroom, temperature control in classrooms, and removing general waste bins to promote a ‘zero-waste’ space. If you want practical, impactful, and meaningful suggestions, just ask a Grammar girl.

Our School Environmental Sustainability Project, Grammar Goes Greener, is now underway, as a collaborative effort between staff and students. The Sustainability Committee—comprising senior academic and professional staff—is developing a Sustainability Environmental Management Plan, in consultation with all staff and students.  It will focus, in the short term, on calculating our carbon footprint so that we can best determine how to attain a Net Zero target. It is an ambitious goal, but we know an important step in contributing as a School, to future generations.

More than 62 per cent of staff completed a recent Sustainability Staff Survey, and 99 per cent said climate change was important to them personally, with the majority rating their efforts to make individual, sustainable behavioural changes as ‘good’ when it comes to energy, waste, and food consumption and provided many practical and reasonably easy suggestions for improvement. A significant area identified for improvement was focused on travel and transport. I know this will come as no surprise to parents who face morning and afternoon traffic on Gregory Terrace, and we will continue to look at ways—such as our Grammar Bus pilot—to reduce traffic congestion, and simultaneously, our carbon footprint.

Grammar girls will have a chance to offer their feedback on this issue in Term 1 2023, and undoubtedly their thoughts and ideas will inform the development of further sustainability initiatives. GECO has been doing this for years—championing and actioning student ideas to improve our three campuses in big and small ways—and will continue to be a very important student forum.

Year 12 Music Farewell

There was a great deal of nostalgia for many of our parents, and most certainly amongst the students, at the Music Farewell this week. We celebrated the importance of music in a Girls Grammar education and the commitment of our 81 Year 12 musicians and thanked their parents for six years of support. Director of Instrumental Music, Mrs Laurinda Davison, spoke beautifully about the progress of these young women from their earliest experiences at our School and our Music Captains Madeline Khoo (Strings), Sally Grice (Choral) and Pascal Green (Band) delivered intelligent and carefully crafted speeches that spoke of the friendships they had developed and their appreciation for their teachers. We hope the girls keep music in their lives, for the rest of their lives—there would be no greater thanks they could give to their teachers.

BGGS Tour Day and House Afternoon Teas

Last Saturday our Spring Hill campus was energised with more than 600 families on-site for a BGGS Tour Day. We welcomed families who have enrolled for Year 7 2026, but missed out on Open Day this year, to join student-led tours of the School, and meet and converse with senior staff and members of our Parent Support Groups. Many parents commented, to the effect that, while the facilities are impressive it was our student ambassadors who made the most powerful difference to their experience. They so elegantly and enthusiastically role-modelled the qualities of a Grammar girl. The House Afternoon Teas held this week for our incoming Year 7 2023 cohort also served as a timely reminder of the enthusiasm and energy that these future students will bring to BGGS next year. The support group parents who, once again, volunteered their time to welcome parents to our School on the three afternoons this week and last Saturday demonstrated once again the importance of community and their very important role in helping to shape it.

Ms Jacinda Euler Welsh

The Grammar Goes Greener design