Pleasanton youths doing the literal dirty work for building a greener future -- like sifting every day through piles of garbage -- were commemorated during the annual World Environment Day Celebration at the Veterans Memorial Building in downtown Pleasanton.
The June 6 awards ceremony and luncheon was hosted by the locally based nonprofit Go Green Initiative, which works on environmental issues around the world.
Go Green recently partnered with the city of Pleasanton and the Pleasanton Unified School District to develop a summer internship for nearly several dozen local high school and college students. All of the 33 interns are Pleasanton residents; half of them are in high school and the other 17 are in college.
Cassiedy Walker Jones, a senior at Amador Valley High School, was among the students honored at the luncheon. Walker Jones, who is also interning this summer for Go Green, told the Weekly that she's "always been into the green thing ... I like being able to make a change that's going to matter."
This is the second year that Walker Jones has lent a hand at her school. "I love working with members but I also want to help make Amador more energy efficient," she added.
Over the course of nine weeks this summer, the interns will spend up to 15 hours each week applying their newly found knowledge of the Energy Star Portfolio Manager (ESPM) on various projects to help to benchmark the energy usage of PUSD- and city-owned buildings. The ESPM is considered the national industry standard for energy benchmarking. The project targets multiple goals outlined in the Pleasanton Climate Action Plan, including reducing city and community energy use.
Six PUSD staff custodians joined the students onstage and were also honored for helping with the district's new integrated waste management policy. Working together since last year, staff and interns have completed waste audits at more than a dozen city-owned facilities and all 15 PUSD campuses.
Almost 2,000 pounds of garbage, recycling and compost materials were sorted, bagged and weighed during the first quarter of 2019 with the assistance of Go Green to help determine how many recycling and organic waste bins each school would need to comply with the policy.
Micaela Ochoa, PUSD deputy superintendent of business services, thanked the custodial team "for their enthusiasm, collaboration and support in making the district's integrated waste management policy a reality," and empowering students by setting an example "to support a more sustainable future for generations to come."