NEW LONDON, N.H. — Superintendent Winfried Feneberg is pleased to announce that Sustainability Club members at Kearsarge Regional High School recently organized a successful effort to ban the use of plastic bags in the Town of New London.
Students discussed the need to reduce plastic within the community, and to develop reasonable, enforceable, and obtainable solutions.
Their solution was to ban the use of single-use plastic bags at stores, thus encouraging residents to use reusable bags. Such an ordinance required passage by New London’s Town Meeting. In past years, similar efforts were submitted but tabled.
The Club, working with Advisor Erik Anderson, approached Social Studies Teacher Ruby Hill to assist in drafting a warrant article for Town Meeting in March. Students also needed to gather 25 signatures supporting the article’s inclusion. Club members asked New London residents, including their peers, teachers, and faculty at Kearsarge and New London Elementary School, to sign.
Club members had one more obstacle: They could not speak at Town Meeting because they were too young to register to vote, or did not live in New London.
A resident volunteered to speak, but could not when Town Meeting day came. Eventually, Social Studies Teacher Curtis Roddy, who lives in New London, stepped forward on their behalf. Students later learned that another resident, hearing about this obstacle, also had volunteered to speak for their article.
Town Meeting voters approved the ban unanimously, with excited Club members watching.
The vote to ban the use of single-use plastic bags was unanimous, and the ban will start in January 2023.
“I am extremely proud of these students and what they did for their community,” Hill said. “I am truly in awe of their dedication to evoke real change. I know this is just the beginning, but they could truly change the world.”
The project was led by Madelin Prak, Amber Houle, Meghan Blood, and Jane Anderson. Contributors were Molly Ellison, Ava Valle, Amanda Lyons, Laela Moran, Hannah Priest, Megan Lizotte, and Ellie Wimer.
“We are very excited that our students felt so strongly about an issue that they felt the need to take action,” said Superintendent Feneberg. “Their ambition is truly extraordinary, and we look forward to all that they accomplish in the future.”