Nikki Petropoulous, Moreland mayor Oscar Yildiz and judge Cameron Little

4 September 2013 — Nikki Petropoulos, the environment captain at Brunswick Secondary College, made time last week for a visit from a Keep Australia Beautiful judge.

The City of Moreland, in inner-city Melbourne, is in the running for the national Keep Australia Beautiful sustainability award after winning the Victorian award recently.

The judges were keen to hear from Nikki and the work being undertaken at the school.

Nikki told them she had been “privileged” to take part in numerous programs involving environmental sustainability and to help guide those in younger year levels towards a more sustainable future.

“One person can make a difference in helping to preserve the environment, but many can make a huge positive impact,” she said.

“Being a part of this initiative has given me the opportunity to experience and learn new ways in which we as human beings can make a difference to our earth.”

Nikki said the Environment Club met every week and was open to students from all year levels.

“The most rewarding part of my role as environment captain is not only teaching something new to those in the club, but also seeing the positive results and attitudes from the students in what they have learned.

“One program we organised was to make recycled paper.

“Although running around to all the paper bins in the school collecting scraps may not be on everyone’s list of things to do, the outcome was more than worthwhile. Blending, soaking and sieving scrap paper to produce new usable paper demonstrated to students that what we see as ‘rubbish’ can have many other useful purposes.”

Nikki said issues involving the environment were “always circulating throughout the media and politics”.

“Whether it be the carbon tax, or a community’s sustainability, we as students are able to make a difference.

“We must teach those around us how to care and how important it is to protect our sacred planet from human impact.”

Nikki said the secondary colleges next big initiatives were a 25 kilowatt solar system to be installed on the gymnasium roof – funded by the local community – and an application to be a resource smart school, which involves making and measuring school energy and water savings.

“From the small always comes something big, and that’s why at Brunswick Secondary College any environmental support goes a long way in the community and into the future,” she said.