Greening the Community
Ongoing Environmental and Community Projects in the College
A. Conferences and Full Day Events
A1. Annual Environmental Education Conference
For the past few years, Kibbutzim College and Bet Berl College, in collaboration with the Ministries of Education and Environmental Protection, have held annual conferences on education and the environment. These conferences provide an unusual opportunity for teachers, students of education, and many interested citizens to meet with policy makers to discuss salient environmental issues. Since the conferences began in 2006, they have addressed issues of much importance to public policy and to education about the environment. In 2007, Kibbutzim College hosted the conference titled The City as Environment. Bet Berl College hosted the 2009 conference that dealt with Consumer Culture in an Era of Environmental Crisis: Educational Challenges and Dilemmas. The 2010 conference, held at Kibbutzim College, dealt with The Connection between Human Health and Environmental Health. In 2011 it will be Bet Berl’s turn to host the annual conference.
A2. A “green day“ for everyone at the college
The “green day“ is a tradition in Kibbutzim College. At the root of this tradition is the desire to strengthen the bond between the natural environment and the community. Members of the college faculty, students, and guests from outside organizations present workshops and lectures on environmental and social issues. The main objective of these activities is to place the subject: “man in his environment and community“ in the limelight.
Over the past two years, green day has become red/green day. This change emphasizes the connection between society and the natural environment. The Hothouse for Educational Initiatives has taken the lead in organizing the day, in the hope of involving more students and introducing novel methods of involvement.
A3. Annual departmental conference days
As part of their regular activities, departments often hold annual conference days which are open to all members of the college community. Several departments and other administrative units may cooperate in organizing the conference. In 2008, for example, the history and biology departments together with the Green Council held a conference titled Politics and environment in Israeli society: past, present and future, which included lectures on environmental policies and legislation. The goal of the conference day was to encourage education towards public protection and respect for the environment.
B. The riddle –“green head“
In 2008 the green council of Kibbutzim College, in cooperation with Gordon College and the quiz master Dan Hamitzer, created the green head riddles in the hope that these riddles would contribute to greater awareness of the environment in the student community and a change in behavior towards the environment. The riddles were an opportunity for the students to experience a novel and meaningful way of learning. Every two weeks a new riddle was displayed on campus for the students to try to solve. The solution to the riddle was hidden in the environment and sustainability website, to which the students were referred. The first student to answer correctly received a prize and the student who gave the largest number of correct answers during the school year, received a valuable prize at the end of the year.
C. Trips,“under my nose“
In 2007 the college conducted a series of trips to trouble spots in the Gush Dan area. These excursions, designated “ under my nose“ trips, were organized by a group of students and were especially interesting because they dealt with community and environmental subjects . Some of the sites visited were: the Hiria garbage dump, Kfar Shalem, the banks of the Yarkon, the Reading power station, Jaffa, and the Tikvah neighborhood in Tel Aviv. The trips intended to show the students diverse kinds of urban environments in their vicinity, just “under their noses“.
D. The Green Film Club
The green film club presents films and lectures on environmental subjects, in cooperation with the cinema association. The environmental crisis finds its expression in the cinema too. Talented film makers from all over the world address the issues, present their stories and frequently offer innovative ways to cope with the problems they encounter. The cinema association brings this approach to Israel. The concern of the college is to advance original, environmental films that can become part of the cultural milieu in Israel and to assist in making the drastic changes needed to enable life to continue here. Green should not be just another “trend“; the actions of our generation will determine the face of our children’s world.
The green film club has been active in the college since 2008 and is open to all members of the college community as well as to the general public.
E. Lecture Series: Social and Political Aspects of Environmental Quality in Israel
The lecture series was aimed at graduate students in Environmental Education, but was open to all members of the college comunity. In the framework of the lecture series students had the opportunity to meet influential personalities from the environmental fields in Israel who represented organizations and government agencies such as the Ministry for Environmental Protection, the Society for the Protection of Nature, the Jewish National Fund, Department of Nature and Parks, Man Nature and Law, and Life and Environment.
F. Sharp on campus
Sharp on Campus was a series of meetings held in 2009, to which students from the college were invited. The meetings highlighted the cultural and philosophical aspects of various social and environmental subjects. The meetings were moderated by a student from the college.
G. Green bazaars
Green bazaars were organized by students in the years 2007-8. These bazaars were socially and environmentally friendly and provided an alternative to the familiar bazaars, that encouraged over-consumption and waste. All products sold at these bazaars were friendly to the environment and often carried a message of social value. Products sold at the bazaars included ecological hygenic products, home made cookies by a group of endangered youth, products of the “Tree in Town“ company, products made by the handicapped.
H. The “give and take“ Market
The consumer culture of the Western world creates mountains of waste. The wrappings and packaging, mostly made from non-recyclable materials, are thrown on the garbage heaps to lay there forever. The same fate is in store for the unnecessary things we often buy, then discard after hardly using them when similiar articles are again produced, wasting energy and resources. This creates enormous damage to the environment.
The “give and take“ markets invite you to participate in an alternative market.
These “give and take“ markets are held a few times during the year on the campus under the slogan, “giving enriches the giver and the taker“. The market is organized by the Student Union and is open to members of the college community and their guests. Since 2008, five markets have been held every year during the recesses between classes. We estimate that the markets have attracted more people each year, both to the market and the message.
J. Green scholarships
The College offers tuition scholarships to students in appreciation for outstanding contributions to the improvement of environmental quality and education for sustainability.
The scholarships are being offered specifically for contributions in the following areas:
• upgrading the college infrastructure, decreasing the use of resources, recycling and dealing with waste, ecological gardening
• environmental education, organizing conference days, taking responsibility for activities in the academic departments, spreading the environmental message throughout the college
• public relations, setting up the green council website, advertising activities, disseminating information, organizing green days
• environmental activities for the community, college inititiated social and environmental activities.
The presentation of the tuition scholarships and the accompanying publicity encourage students to become active in the environmental sphere and to inspire others to follow in their footsteps.