micheal friend

Friend: Keeping the Planet Clean

Dana Hills has many environmental advocates, but the most notable of which may be the Cleaner Planet Initiative Club. Senior Michael Friend founded the club last year with the vision of educating the youth on the world’s environmental problems and solutions for cleaning up the planet.

Members learn the content of and how to execute basic presentations about human caused pollution and reducing carbon footprints. They then educate younger children through YMCA classes and elementary schools with this information. As president, Friend teaches the members, overlooks presentation creation and plans the events they attend.

The club has about 30 active members. They have presented at Moulton Elementary School 3 times, Malcom Elementary School 1 time, and an environmental fair 1 time. Altogether, the club has taught about 200 students and 25 adults or teachers. Members spent first semester practicing once a month, every month during “prep days.” During these days, they meet at someone’s garage and display the presentation on a projector. Then “verbal and nonverbal community techniques” are reviewed, along with “dry runs of the presentation to the rest of the club” from 2 to 3 members. Presentations in schools and YMCA do not begin until second semester, ensuring they effectively impart their messages to those taught.

Most presentations revolve around the club’s golden rule: reduce your carbon footprint, understand climate change, learn more about the issue and finally educate your peers. In a world with finite resources, we need to make every water bottle, piece of paper, and cardboard box counts.

Friend’s environmental passion began at the dinner table listening to family discussions about the effects of climate change.

He “remember[s] being really terrified about it all.” As he learned more about climate change and human pollution, Friend began loving nature the more he was in it and grew increasingly frustrated about how we are hurting our planet. Mr. Hudson’s biology class sparked the realization for a need to do something. Hudson’ battle against corporations polluting the environment and the class’s plastics unit inspired Friend to help, he just wasn’t sure how yet. At that same, Michael was staffing at a national boy scout leadership camp and realized he teaches people every year how to public speak. His next thought was, “what if I teach people at Dana the same thing, and go to elementary schools and teach the youth environmentally friendly habits?”

The summer before his junior year, Friend “began creating the club curriculum. At the beginning of the school year [he] contacted Moulton Elementary about the club and went to the school to pitch the idea to principal Ms. Campbell.”

From there, he worked with the school faculty to plan the first education day, recruited members, ran club elections and learned how to make club events officially school sanctioned. Now, he is delegating more work to club officers, working on reaching more schools, working towards getting a sponsor to provide funds for club T-shirts. Overall, he is most thankful for his members. They “have dedicated a lot of their free time into perfecting their presentations. What they do isn’t easy, and if it wasn’t for them [they] wouldn’t have been able to accomplish everything [they] have.”

To join the members of CPI, come to a Monday meeting in Mr. Hudson’s room.

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