From the Leadership Institute Symposium on Social Change
Author: Thomas Huling
The goal of my Action Plan was to encourage my school, and eventually local businesses to recycle. I strongly believe in environmentally sound practices, and I am against wasteful use of resources.
My main strategy in working on my action plan has been direct action, and engaging with my school’s administration. I have a small organization of roughly five other students that actively work with me. Two fill a role loosely described as “advertising”, in that they are responsible for recruiting new members and publicizing our goals. The others, me included, fill general roles of fundraising and getting in touch with community leaders in order to increase awareness and interest.
The driving force and motivation behind the work I have done is my firm belief that I am making a difference. I have realized that I do have the power to change the world, albeit in a small way. This increased knowledge and awareness of myself has led me, with the help of others, to make a difference in my school. After a small group of students and I met with school administration, the school’s recycling program was better publicized. An awareness campaign by my organization reinforced the message to our fellow students.
As I have moved through this process, I have found myself and my family becoming more aware of our practices as well. Where recycling used to be a simple practice that was usually followed, but not considered overly important, my family makes a specific point never to throw away anything that does not need to be.
This past November, I attended the Leadership Symposium. The Symposium helped me move my Action Plan forward in several ways. Before the Symposium, the extent of my accomplishments was finding out that my school did have a recycling program – but nobody knew about it. After the Symposium, I had more confidence. I was able to build the small organization I currently have, adapt my plan to changing goals, and be more successful in moving forward. I also was less nervous about scheduling a meeting with my high school principal after the workshop on dealing with school administrators than I had been before. This made me more confident and more productive when the meeting actually occurred.
In the coming weeks and months, I plan on speaking to some local business leaders to find out what is being done – or not being done – on this issue outside of my school. Up to this point, my Action Plan has been a moderate success, with some of my preliminary goals accomplished. I hope to continue this trend and make a lasting difference in my community.