A Greek proverb says, “a society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they never sit.” Carondelet is a society built on students who improve and leave impacts on a place that they might not benefit from but whose shade can be enjoyed by all the sisters who come along after.
Chloe DeSmedt ’22 is one such tree planter—literally. The former Green Team president worked with the environment-centered student council group to create the Carondelet Community Garden, spearhead the installation of solar panels and electric car charging stations, and educate the wider community on environmental issues. Now, a year after her graduation, the project she and her team worked on throughout both junior and senior year has finally come to fruition: Green Business Certification.
“I’m really proud of it,” said Chloe. Green Team pushed the school forward in ways that would not only contribute to the planet’s overall health, but also help it achieve recognition as one of only three other schools in Contra Costa County. It’s worth noting that the Carondelet Cafeteria is also, separately, Green Business certified.
She was on this council for her four years at Carondelet, but when Chloe took the helm during her junior and senior years the team fully immersed themselves in the certification process. “This is one of the biggest things I feel like I contributed to at Carondelet,” she said. “To see it all come together is really exciting.”
Though Carondelet’s Green Team is less than a decade old, Chloe was inspired by environmental leadership councils she saw on other campuses and jumped in head first. To achieve certification, the business must complete a list of 75 tasks from facility and energy efficiency changes to community education and engagement.
Before the school was certified, Chloe’s senior year came to an end. “Passing on something I’d been working on for four years was kind of bittersweet,” she explained.
Months later, though, the Cougars have finally gone green and the one leading the charge is thrilled. “I think a lot of people I talk to lose touch with their high school, but following this project really kept me rooted here,” said Chloe.
Now a freshman Environmental Science and International Affairs student at George Washington University in Washington DC, Chloe explains that she is taking what she learned from her time in high school as she looks to the future. “This is such a great community and it’s really prompted the things I’m doing now and inspired what I want to do,” she said.
“I’m so proud to see what they’re continuing to do with the Green Team on campus,” said Chloe of the current environmental leaders on campus. “I would really like to see the student body as a whole make sure our recycling and composting programs are participated in. Every year you get a new wave of students who might be unfamiliar with it, but having this certification can bring it to the top of mind for more students.”
Learn more about this process by watching Chloe’s Capstone video on this journey.