The creation of a group of students, the organisation of the municipality, the contribution of local companies, and the attention of citizens all have come together to foster progress and make a step in the right direction for a sustainable future.
Earlier in the spring of this year, Mrs Jolundi Wilson, The British School in the Netherland’s International Baccalaureate (IB) CAS Coordinator, gave a special presentation for Year 12 IB students and mentioned a new project forming that involved a unique chance to work with the Voorschoten Gemeente. Some of the students and I were intrigued by the subtle sound of opportunity that this announcement contained. One by one, we expressed our interest to join a team that would be the catalyst for change.
(Creativity Activity and Service (CAS) is one of the components needed for the completion of the IB diploma)
A meeting was then scheduled with the project leader of Alignment House and his team. Introductions were made, instructions listed, explanations given, and by the end of the session, all were clear on what the project entailed. In addition, what was demanded of a student when joining the project. Eight students became the first-ever members of this community project. The end of April 2021 marked the start of the ‘De belofte van Voorschoten’ project, commonly referred to as ‘The Voorschoten Promise’ project amongst the English-speaking team.
”Voorschoten Beloofd is the students' contribution to the community and the environment.
The project aims to create an Almanac, widely available to all residents, that lists a set of current information of steps locally known companies and businesses located in the Voorschoten area are taking towards being more sustainable. Ultimately, the Almanac will provide an overview of what is being done to work towards a carbon-neutral 2050.
We’ll be diving into the local companies’ energy profiles, explaining their current setup with reference to their energy consumption, insulation, lighting and heating. Along with the company profiles, an additional section with possible measures residents themselves can take will be included in the Almanac. These measures will complement the drive towards a more sustainable Voorschoten.
‘The Voorschoten Promise’ hopes with this effort to reach the 2050 target set by the Dutch government to have zero CO2 emissions, which coincides with moving from fossil fuels to green energy and be more sustainable in each domain.
From sending out the first questionnaire to companies, the group tackles new tasks one after the other, meeting regularly as the launch date approaches. Success is accompanied by collaboration, being no different in this case; each team member has a specific role to follow to maintain order and clarity.
Students are taking charge of the Almanac’s design, maintaining contact with The Alignment House to meet the project requirements. Despite the numerous obstacles along the way, the project continues to evolve, making continuous progress and mirroring the dedication and passion in the students’ commitment to a more sustainable future.
As we look to the future and what ‘The Voorschoten Promise’ will provide, we can soon celebrate the Almanac’s publication in the early days of December, just as Sinterklaas comes round to distribute gifts. While the children feast on ‘pepernoten’ and Verkade chocolate letters, adults can enjoy the collected information on renewable energy and alternative solutions that will benefit current and future generations.
A version of this article was first published in the Voorschoten Krant on 4 November 2021.