UPDATED June 20, 2019
High School Students Speak with District Officials, Attend City Council Meetings and Make their Pleas to the Board of Education to End Styrofoam Use in School Food Service Meal Programs
ELK GROVE, Calif. – June 14, 2019— Several Elk Grove Unified School District (EGUSD) high school students representing Cosumnes Oaks, Elk Grove and Franklin high schools including school environmental clubs have worked with district officials and, more recently, brought facts and figures to both an Elk Grove City Council Meeting and an EGUSD School Board Meeting to plead for an end to Styrofoam use.
Prior to engaging in civic activism, in collaboration with the EGUSD Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) team, students from Franklin High School explored food packaging alternatives to reduce the use of Styrofoam packaging in the EGUSD Central Kitchen and in EGUSD secondary schools. Although Styrofoam use within EGUSD has not been prevalent and is not used at any elementary school sites, a Styrofoam cup was used at high schools in 2018-19 for frozen juice slushies.
According to the FNS director, Michelle Drake, “After hearing the concerns about the slushie packaging from the students at Franklin High School last year, we worked with the students and the school to find an alternative package and piloted a paper cup in lieu of the Styrofoam cup. Although the paper cup was a little more expensive, it held up reasonably well.” Due to the success of the pilot, FNS put plans in place to roll out the paper cup to all secondary schools for the 2019-2020 school year.
In response to the recent pleas from the students at Cosumnes Oaks High School, Deputy Superintendent Robert Pierce noted, “We are proud of all the collective efforts that have resulted in new packaging for the slushie, allowing us to further eliminate Styrofoam at secondary sites. As the students’ noted during public comment, the elimination of Styrofoam from our entire food service meal program aligns with our strategic goal for wellness.” Additionally, FNS has taken action to look for hot food container alternatives used at the District Office’s Café Express, which serves a small number of employees.
About the Elk Grove Unified School District
The Elk Grove Unified School District (EGUSD) is the fifth-largest school district in California located in southern Sacramento County. EGUSD covers 320 square miles and includes 67 schools: 42 elementary schools, nine middle schools, nine high schools, five alternative education schools, an adult school, one charter school and a virtual academy. Offering a multitude of educational programs, including over 70 career-themed academies and pathways within 15 industry sectors, we prepare our students for college and career by supporting them with the means to be creative problem solvers; self-aware, self-reliant and self-disciplined; technically literate; effective communicators and collaborators; and engaged in the community as individuals with integrity. We integrate rigorous academics with career-based learning and real world workplace experiences and ensure that Every Student is Learning, in Every Classroom, in Every Subject, Every Day to Prepare College, Career and Life Ready Graduates.
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