Board Member Champions Sustainable Schools

Daily Point of Light # 6016 Jun 6, 2017

Today’s Daily Point of Light Award honoree, Veronique Choa Pittman, is on a crusade to educate and inspire future generations to be good global citizens. For five years she has served on the board of Green Schools Alliance, an organization that offers schools guidance on best practices for sustainability education and developing a healthy, sustainable school environment. Veronique first began volunteering with Green Schools Alliance in 2008. Over the years, she’s proved to be an invaluable asset by diving into any task thrown her way – from web site management to spearheading fundraisers. Points of Light spoke to Veronique to learn more about her service work.

Veronique (center) volunteering at the Beyond Waste: Join the Recovery Revolution in Bedford and Beyond conference./Courtesy Veronique Choa Pittman

Why did you choose to serve as a board member for Green Schools Alliance?

I chose to serve as board member for the Green Schools Alliance because I not only believe in the mission, but I had firsthand experience as an active parent in my childrens’ school as to why the model is scalable and transformational. Also, I not only funded, but project managed, the build-out of their first collaborative platform and reporting framework.

Why do you think it’s important for children, especially, to be actively involved in sustainability efforts?

While children may not old enough to vote, they are a very influential block. When we helped a school in New York City host a student-led conference around the issue of single-use plastic, the panelists, which included City Council members, were so impressed with their one-minute testimonials that they were invited to the hearings at city hall related to legislation that was up for a vote. They knew that childrens’ voices might actually sway the undecided, since they were the ones that were going to live with the consequences of inaction. Children learn better and more enthusiastically when given a real-world problem to help solve. Project and place-based learning is the way all children should learn in the internet age.

What other service projects or intiatives are you involved in?

I work with the Bedford2020 on the Greenlight Awards. I’m on their board and I serve on their Schools and Waste & Recycling Taskforces. Modeled roughly after the television show “Shark Tank,” the Greenlight Awards inspires local students to put their “Big Green” ideas into action. In this year-long program, students from 5 high schools in my community compete for funding to develop projects that have an impact in our community. At the end of the school year, the finalists compete for $500 and the Greenlight Award. The more students take part in this amazing, replicable program, the more our communities, and the people living in them like myself, will benefit from their inspiring projects. I also like community action days of any sort and have participated in many across the globe.

Veronique (right) moderating a panel at the Beyond Waste: Join the Recovery Revolution in Bedford and Beyond conference./Courtesy Veronique Choa Pittman

Why do you think it’s important that more people donate their time and talent to helping the environment?

If you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem. Humans are the single largest source of carbon pollution, so it’s up to each of us to engage with our communities or with an organization that is addressing whatever aspect of the environment resonates most, whether it be promoting programs that connect people to nature, reducing waste, working on renewable energy-related projects, and yes, even educating girls which is the 6th most impactful way to reduce climate change.

In five words or less, describe how the act of giving back to others makes you feel.

Relevant, connected, helpful, impactful.

Do you want to make a difference in your community like Veronique? Visit All For Good to learn about volunteer opportunities in your area.

Jia Gayles