Our Schools’ Meritorious Recycling Program
Imagine a program that collects solid waste for recycling, educates our kids in environmental stewardship and generates income for our schools. Well, imagine no more. This is the Keep Williamson Beautiful initiative, an educational and recycling “merit program” that continues to pick up steam—and trash—for cash!
Open to all Williamson County public schools, this year-round program offers students volunteer opportunities and the chance to earn merit points which translate into monetary awards for their schools. All 51 of Williamson’s public schools participate, and, in 2016-17, each received a merit-based award check totaling $50,000.
Jennifer Goscinak, Williamson County’s Recycling Specialist, serves as the Keep Williamson Beautiful executive director. Jennifer is quick to commend the efforts of others.
“We have a very large volunteer base of dedicated parents, teachers, and school administrators and staff who make the merit program a success day after day, all year-round," she says.
Schools have designated environmental coordinators who organize the programs and track volunteer hours. Volunteers are encouraged to tailor their merit program to their school's circumstances and, consequently, no two programs are the same. However, most schools have developed student “green teams” to implement their merit program.
The results speak for themselves.
“The education program through the Williamson County Recycle Center was invaluable," Girl Scout troop leader Kathy Caudill says. "Our girls are passionate about helping the Earth, and now they have more tools to help them do that and encourage others to do the same."
Environmental stewardship is not limited to public schools. Jennifer is happy to partner with private schools on various programs, too. She encourages any school, organization or civic group in Williamson County to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.