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SAAC Visits Environmental Charter High School

Dec. 14, 2009

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Members of various sports teams at LMU attended an event at Environmental Charter High School in Lawndale, Calif. where they learned about the benefits of composting and recycling. Environmental Charter High School provides the basic state education for their students, but also provides students with the opportunity of protecting the environment and maintaining a `green community'.

The ECHS Green Ambassador students presented videos about composting, gave presentations on the benefits of composting and recycling, and sold organic food and products such as shirts and eco-friendly water bottles to help raise money to buy a composting bin for another nearby high school. The Green Ambassador class is a requirement for all 10th-grade students at ECHS. In this class, the students learn about the environment and are given a topic to research and create an event to help educate the community. This semester's topic was composting. The purpose of the class is stated by founder and director of the program, Sara Laimon, "We are an environmental education program that empowers youth to be agents of change in their communities and world. The program fosters personal growth and leadership skills to help youth tackle the most critical environmental issues facing our planet."

Graduates of this class have been speakers at events such as the 2009 Environmental Youth Conference where they were the keynote speaker, and the Go Green: Recycle for a Clean LA press conference. This revolutionary class has created a buzz around the state and the United States, and many more schools are starting to implement this curriculum into their 10th-grade year.

This year, the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) has taken an interest in this high school's aspect of "going green". According to Alexa Cook, SAAC president and member of the women's swim team, the objective of LMU Athletics' involvement with ECHS was to "bring ECHS Green Ambassadors together with LMU student athletes, giving the LMU students an opportunity to learn from the ECHS students about the environmental problems present today with the hope of implementing an on-campus recycling program, which athletics would spearhead." SAAC also hoped to become mentors to these adolescents and help them envision the possibility of attending a college like Loyola Marymount University after high school graduation.

When the student-athletes arrived at the event at ECHS, ECHS Green Ambassadors greeted them in the parking lot with great enthusiasm. The first part of the night included walking around the campus and seeing all that it had to offer. The campus is considered a living ecosystem with a natural river flowing through it with native plants all around. The ECHS students have planted many different fruit trees all over the campus as well. The student-athletes were also amazed by the murals painted on the walls of the classrooms as well as the pride the students took in their campus. The second part of the night included the athletes listening to presentations by the ECHS students. The student-athletes were able to provide feedback to these students in regards to their presentation skills as well as the information they had presented. The final part of the evening was in the classroom where food and merchandise was being sold. Here, the student-athletes were able to interact with the ECHS students. Both the ECHS students and the LMU student-athletes enjoyed meeting the company of the other. The student-athletes were excited to have started creating the bond between LMU athletics and ECHS Green Ambassadors.

The idea to create this program came about based on women's water polo team member and senior natural science major Meghan Moore's involvement with and knowledge of ECHS. Moore had the vision of creating a program where SAAC and ECHS Green Ambassadors joined forces to create a relationship to help each other. SAAC would be taught about the environment as well as recycling while ECHS would be able to interact with college student-athletes and gain friendships and knowledge about college. In one of Moore's classes here at LMU, she created this bond with ECHS students and had them create a banner to advertise the event. This banner has a picture of a basketball player with the jersey number 44 in honor of Hank Gathers slam-dunking a globe into a recycling bin. The ECHS students created this banner in honor of the LMU students coming to ECHS. Moore hopes that this relationship between SAAC and ECHS will continue to grow. Moore's ultimate goal would be to "bring the ECHS students to LMU so that they are able to experience life on the bluff and that they are able to see that the student-athletes are just like normal students and we do care about helping the earth." There are future events in the works for the spring semester between SAAC and ECHS students, where the Rise Above Plastics class from ECHS will come to the LMU campus and give a presentation to the student-athletes to help raise awareness about recycling and the overuse of plastic products. If you would like to learn more about ECHS or the Green Ambassador class, please visit or


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