St. Martin’s Episcopal School is a co-educational, faith-based, independent school that provides students from 12 months to grade 12 with a superior and challenging college preparatory education focused on the development of the whole person. We are starting our third year of a school-wide strategic shift toward an inquiry-based, experiential approach to learning. Through our Innovation+Design program, we teach students the design process as a problem-solving tool and cultivate important skills and mindsets through tackling real social and environmental problems, both locally and globally. Director of Innovation and Design Garrett Mason answered our questions about what makes St. Martin's our July Greentrepreneur.
What are some of your proudest moments as an employee of St. Martin’s?
I am so proud of our teachers and our school for creating and embracing experiential, inquiry-based learning in our classes and taking a very forward-looking approach to education. We are leading the way in preparing our children for their ambiguous, complex, interconnected futures and that takes a bold vision and a community to supports it.
How does your organization go about improving your social and environmental impacts?
As a forward-looking school, our social impact is tremendous. We are literally educating and preparing the next generation of creative problem-solvers who will lead the world. St. Martin’s has also been active in working with teachers and school leaders at other schools around New Orleans and beyond to help instill innovative approaches to teaching and learning there as well. We are a small, tight-knit community on a large, 18-acre campus so we are very conscious of our environmental impact. This past school year we set out to improve impact on the environment by rolling out an improved recycling program and beginning an on-going, full school assessment of our energy, water, and waste use. Our students have also embraced this work and we have formed clubs in our Middle and Upper Schools. In fact, the students have taken the lead in many areas, monitoring our environmental impact and looking for ways to improve upon it. We also just received a grant to build a rain garden which students are working to design and build. This will be huge for managing our storm water on campus.
What partnerships have you formed in order to leverage sustainable impact as a company?
St. Martin’s has partnered with LifeCity to help us set our goals and to support the programs that we have begun. We also work closely with our suppliers and vendors to make sure we are choosing products and services that have the least environmental impact.
If you had a magic wand to change one thing that would make it easier for your company or other New Orleans businesses to go green, what would that thing be?
How magic is this wand? The fact is we live in a hot climate and use a lot of energy to run our air conditioning units in our buildings across campus. Seriously though, the biggest obstacle to making important changes is in mindset. If we can continue to make others aware of the environmental impact our choices have and to provide alternative systems that still give us what we need, then we will be on the right track to being a green city.
What advice would you give to other businesses who are trying to improve their internal practices to benefit their city and state?
Going green saves money. Just knowing this is key to shifting mindsets within your organization.
Anything else you would like to tell our community of Green Card members and Green Businesses such as upcoming events or promotions they should look out for?
St. Martin’s is always looking for ways to engage with the other organizations and businesses, especially around projects with social and environmental impact. And our innovative approach to learning, getting students out into the community, falls perfectly in line with this. If you’d be interested in working with us and our students, please reach out to us. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
See Garrett and St. Martin students in this year's Green Games highlights: