IPS Green Initiatives, Education Moving Forward Kristi Hardin, a Buyer in the Indianapolis Public Schools Purchasing Department, has been instrumental in contracting and implementing the recycling/green initiatives IPS has been working on this year.
Hardin is the recycling champion for the district. This is a passion project for her, and through tangible results and exciting educational opportunities, she wants to pass that passion on to students.
“Environmental awareness is the point. Recycling is just the tip of the iceberg,” Hardin said. “We want to create environmental stewards out of our students.”
As part of the program, recycling was rolled out to every school, and Food Services started recycling all its cardboard. The recycling milestones and savings are impressive by themselves (see infographic).
With the district focused on Efficient Operations as part of its ongoing Strategic Plan development, such savings don’t go unnoticed. “For example, for the cost of relamping a gym with more efficient fixtures, you can save back your money spent in less than two years. Then your savings just build from there,” said Deputy Superintendent for Operations Scott Martin.
For the education and awareness piece, Hardin works with two Green Champions she has established at every school. These Green Champions are in charge of recycling and educating about the environment at their schools.
Jennifer Roll, the Parent Involvement Educator at Rousseau McClellan School 91, is one of those Green Champions. She indicated the students there have really taken the basics of the recycling program at the school out into the community.
“Our students are really the Green Champions here at Rousseau McClellan! Students bring in aluminum cans from home, which we give to “The Can Lady,” Mary Stumpp. While recycling the cans, they also bring in soda tabs, which one of our teaching assistants, Judy Hall, takes to the Ronald McDonald House. Plastic water bottles are recycled to give to our Title I teacher, Ms. Schoen. She fills the bottles with laundry detergent to deliver to those in need at local shelters,” she said.

Hardin supports the school champions in various ways:

  • She held a training event for them in November last year and will hold another this coming fall to arm Green Champions with information to take back to their schools
  • She provided resources to add recycling and climate change to their schools’ curricula
  • This April she started a newsletter to push out potential field trip opportunities, ideas for classroom waste reduction, contests to run, free events to go to, etc.
  • Hardin partners with organizations like the Earth Charter Indiana, the Indiana Recycling Coalition and Dumpster Drummers to arrange fun and educational events and assemblies

As we move toward making our operations more efficient in the coming years, we’re thankful to have Kristi Hardin and the Green Champions at our schools helping the district, our students and our communities go green!