As Newark Academy formulates its next strategic plan, the school continues to uphold the importance of education about sustainability within the student experience. Inspired by Newark Academy’s efforts to create a more ecological and economically vital society, the Martini Education and Opportunity Trust (MEOT), has graciously contributed a very generous grant to NA’s Faculty Innovation Fund in order to incorporate additional education about sustainable solutions within the curriculum.

“The Martini Education Opportunity Trust is all about empowering young people to be effective change-makers in their organizations, whether that’s a charity, a non-governmental organization or a big company, or whether it’s their community or personal relationships, in or outside of the classroom, wherever it is, whatever it is,” says MEOT Founder Brent Martini about the organization which aims to instill environmental, social and governance (ESG) values in young people. Martini has an extensive history of making a profound impact through supporting faculty and student change-makers who are leading the transformation of ESG structures worldwide. This includes volunteering and investing in his alma mater Fordham University to establish its Social Innovation Collaboratory, a network of the school’s students, faculty, administrators, alumni and community members working together to promote social innovation for the achievement of social justice, social entrepreneurship and environmental sustainability.

Martini’s gift is intended to put “wind in the sails” of Newark Academy faculty members from all academic disciplines who are passionate about incorporating sustainability and climate change into their curriculum and pedagogy. MEOT seeks to expand the many activities already taking place at Newark Academy and to introduce new topics or approaches.

“Thanks to amazing student initiatives and faculty support, NA often considers sustainability in the avenues that aren’t discussed in traditional environmental work,” says Navyaa Jain ’23. “However, to build upon conversations we’ve had and truly integrate sustainable thought into the foundations of NA, the efforts must move past our isolated discussion groups and become a core part of our teaching in and out of the classroom.”

In Debra “Deb” Tavares’s sixth grade science classroom, students currently explore pollution, climate change and abnormal wildfire cycles through an array of projects during the year. They also research, study and build a sustainable house using recycled materials and design a 3D-printed sustainable city. “Teaching sustainable concepts and sustainable design to our students is giving them the tools and understanding to solve the social, environmental and economic problems that face our society — it is our responsibility to them,” says Deb.

During the 2021-22 school year, the Office of Community Service centered environ- mental stewardship at the core of its service initiatives in an effort to educate students about sustainability through service-learning projects. The eighth grade is studying the water quality of the Passaic River through experiential lab testing. In the Upper School, students have several opportunities to participate in service that enhances sustainability including the Clean Ocean Action Beach Sweep, where students collect and catalog trash from the beach and the Northern NJ Eco Summit, where NA hosts students from local independent and public schools for workshops and conversations about sustainability. Newark Academy’s Student Sustainability Representatives also work to hold school clubs accountable for sustainable practices and promote eco-conscious living throughout the school year.

“The MEOT donation will allow our faculty to develop and enhance the ways in which we teach sustainability across the curriculum,” says Director of Studies Jeffrey Vinikoor. “These funds will allow Newark Academy students to come to a better understanding of how sustainability can address environmental, economic and social challenges facing humanity.”