Sustainability In Our Schools (SIOS) is a youth-led nonprofit based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. We have observed the condition of our planet worsening day by day because of global warming, and we realized we needed to do our part in not only showing that change is necessary, but also making that change. We believe that the only way to empower the next generation to make the right choices about the environment and follow a sustainable lifestyle is by focusing on elementary & middle schools students and helping them gain awareness about sustainability, through participation in SIOS activities.
Our 4 Branches
We are committed to following the 4 branches of SIOS to help students grow up with the right mindset about sustainability and its importance.
for young students to learn about sustainability
with the environment through hands-on activities
in meaningful conversations with other students in the area
for youth to take our future into their own hands
Why We Do It
Climate change is one of the biggest issues of our time. The end of the Industrial Revolution led to increased carbon emissions and fossil fuel usage, causing greenhouse gases to become trapped in the atmosphere. Excess amounts of carbon dioxide result in the climate warming, sea levels rising, and glaciers melting. The Earth’s current atmospheric carbon dioxide level has reached 412 parts per million, more than 45 percent greater than pre-Industrial Revolution levels. And the situation is getting worse day by day. In 2019, the UN General Assembly announced that we only have 11 years to limit global warming’s catastrophic effects.
Even with the short amount of time we have left to make real change, there is a lack of proper schooling about climate change. A 2019 study indicated that although 86% of teachers say that climate change should be taught, only 42% actually teach it. In fact, our home state of Pennsylvania does not even mention human responsibility for climate change.
After learning about these statistics, we decided to do our part in achieving sustainability by creating SIOS. What sets SIOS apart from other climate education organizations is that we are by students, for students. Students are most impacted and interested when they hear something from a person around their age. We hope SIOS will help students make sustainable choices for the rest of their lives, resulting in meaningful change that will help Earth preserve its beauty.
What We Do
SIOS has 4 main branches:
1) EDUCATION - Since we are students ourselves, we know how to present information in a way that keeps other students engaged. We have created an easy-to-understand, engaging 20 minute presentation that we present at schools across the area to inform students about climate change and how to lead more sustainable lifestyles. We have also created a blog on our website that students visit to read about sustainability-related current events.
2) INTERACTION - We believe that hands-on experience interacting with the environment will strengthen students' passion for sustainability. We work with school districts to set up student-run gardens, start recycling and composting programs, and be more environmentally cautious in general.
3) ENGAGEMENT - We equip students with the tools to have necessary conversations with others from across the area about the importance of sustainability. We are in the process of setting up a pen pal program where students can share their environmental experiences from where they're from.
4) INSPIRATION - We hope our efforts will inspire students to lead more sustainable lifestyles and encourage others to, as well.
Meet The Team
Founder & Executive Director
Alina is 16 years old and a junior. She is so excited to start SIOS activities in hopes to spread awareness about sustainability to as many students as possible. When she isn't advocating for climate action, Alina loves eating Chipotle and going hiking with her family.
Founder & Executive Director
Jackie is 17 and a junior. She is a part of her school's track and field team and plays viola in the Chamber Orchestra. She is very passionate about sustainability and wants to provide opportunities for children, teens, and adults to lead more sustainable lifestyles each and every day. Jackie hopes her efforts will encourage and inspire people to preserve the Earth and its beauty.
CONCETTA BOCHICCHIO: Communications Director
Concetta is 16 years old and a junior. In her free time, she does field hockey, art, photography, and volunteers around her community. She feels that climate change is a prevalent issue today, and it is imperative to incorporate sustainability into our schools. Because of this issue, Concetta believes that it needs to be acted upon as soon as we are able.
ELEANOR PARK: Publications Director
Eleanor is 16 years old and a junior. She believes sustainability is one of the most important global issues today that needs to be addressed. As a part of SIOS, she hopes to raise awareness and motivate students to do their part in creating sustainable and positive change in the community. Other activities she enjoys include piano, art, and fencing.
Alina is 16 years old and a junior. She enjoys writing, painting, baking, and volunteering. Alina has always been passionate for environmental change and sustainability. Being on the SIOS Team, she aspires to spread the knowledge of sustainability to others.