As part of Concord Academy’s Sustainability Plan, adopted in the fall of 2019, the school recently purchased two plug-in hybrid vans. The purchase was spearheaded by Director of Campus Planning, Design, and Construction Don Kingman and Director of Operations Mick McSorely with the intention of helping to transport students to the Moriarty Athletic Campus, weekend events, and more. The two Chrysler Pacificas can each drive around 32 miles using purely electric power and can fully charge in just two hours. With CA’s goal of becoming carbon-neutral by 2050, the acquisition of the vans is an initial foray into reducing the school’s greenhouse gas emissions associated with transportation. They are the ideal addition to help CA offset the carbon footprint caused by transporting groups of students to-and-from the Moriarty Athletic Campus each day for practices.
The current Sustainability Plan addresses all aspects of CA’s carbon emissions from sourcing and cooking food to operating buildings to addressing waste management. These goals are especially relevant for upcoming projects such as the plans for CA’s new performing arts center, which will break ground by late 2024. CA has already achieved certain environmental milestones, however, such as introducing compostable single-use dishes in the Stu-Fac, installing low-flow water fixtures in bathrooms, and using organic products to clean the school and maintain the grounds.
Science teacher and Sustainability Coordinator, Gretchen Roorbach, hopes that CA’s investment in sustainable vehicles will compel students to reflect on the impact of their own transportation. Instead of driving, Roorbach encourages students to “look into carpooling with their peers more, and for local day students to ride bikes to school.” Roorbach, alongside the Environmental Sustainability Committee, has also looked into purchasing an electric school bus through CA’s current bus company to drive local day students to school and move larger groups of students to the athletic campus each day. The inconsistency of the Massachusetts public transportation system makes it difficult to conveniently rely on buses and trains, so reimagining the ways that students can get to school is integral to reaching the goals set forth by the CA community.
Both CA’s administration and greater community is invested in helping turn these objectives into reality. The student body is also very active in furthering CA’s environmental plans, with organizations such as Green Club and the Environmental Co-Head position. The new vans are an important step to help offset CA’s carbon emissions on a daily basis, but the continual move towards a more sustainable institution as a whole is far from complete!