Students from Dryden High School Sustainability Club are working on a project to make an impact. Recently, they put electric vehicle chargers in the school’s parking lot and now they're making a big change in the cafeteria.

“I just think it's really important to continue being sustainable and inspiring not only the school but our community,” said Sawyer Dickinson, a junior at Dryden High School.

What You Need To Know

  • Through a mini grant of $750, Dryden School District students were able to remove the plastic utensils in their cafeteria, and get them replaced with reusable metal ones

  •  The district's Sustainability Club has also worked to bring electric vehicle chargers to their parking lot

  • Their next project will be planting a pollinator garden

Dickinson and Peter Nydam helped make the big change in their school’s cafeteria.

“To me, the most important job of any human right now is to try to make it accessible to as many people for as long as possible,” said Nydam, also a Dryden junior.

Through a mini-grant, they were able to remove the plastic utensils, and get them replaced with reusable metal ones.

“It really cost the school no money, the whole project for all of our projects, and it's all fundraised by us or by the grants that we receive. So, I don't see why a school wouldn't get behind it if there's willing students to kind of drive the bus or for making it happen,” said Nydam.

“We are seeking to provide critical infrastructure for something that may last a long time,” said Sasha Paris, a neighborhood mini-grant coordinator with Sustainable Finger Lakes.

Sustainable Finger Lakes provided $750 to drop the 5,000 plastic utensils the schools were using each month.

“So, it's really great seeing students who have the power to make that change in their schools and to be part of the support system that they have for doing this,” said Paris.

“And help provide the skillset that they could use to make a change, make a big difference,” said Sustainability Club Co-Advisor Travis Crocker. “How can a district, a community, a student make a difference, right? So, you have to … bring it down to that level or if you don't bring it down to that level, you'll never see these massive changes. So, kids are really seeing that they can make a difference here."

The school has been making other changes like using reusable plates and cups, and adding a bulk milk machine.

“During COVID, it got really challenging to purchase any of these paper products. So it kind of created an easier segue for the district to make these changes,” said Director of Food Service Megan Munson.