Sustainability

The United Nations established the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015 as an effort to “transform our world” by 2030. These 17 goals—and 169 associated targets at its core—aim to end poverty, fight inequality, and stop climate change. They are integrated and indivisible and balance the three dimensions of sustainable development: economic, social, and environmental. Sustainability is the fastest area of growth in all aspects of life and these concepts are crucial to securing a healthy future for our planet. Guided by these goals it is now up to all of us—governments, businesses, civil society, and the general public—working together to implement these environmental initiatives. Suffield Academy maintains a strong focus on using resources responsibly and growing awareness of our carbon footprint. This includes educational programs, campus construction, and various school awards and annual activities. To this end Suffield proudly supports the 17 global goals for sustainable development in all areas of campus life.
When you care about the environment, you feel as if you are never doing enough to protect it. I am extremely proud of Suffield’s effort to weave environmental initiatives into our everyday life on campus. It is an important aspect of our Leadership Program to recognize our role in sustainable development at both a personal and community level.
-Headmaster Charlie Cahn

A Yeti for Everyone

Founded in 2006 and named after the legendary Abominable Snowman said to inhabit the Himalayan mountains, the YETI company was built on an appreciation for wild game, unfamiliar territory, and high-quality gear. Its brand has grown into a popularly proud symbol of adventure and sustainability for outdoor enthusiasts, campers, and weekend tailgaters. This year Suffield Academy unveiled several initiatives aimed at increasing sustainability and decreasing unnecessary waste. In addition to working with Blue Earth Compost in the dining hall and drawing plans for an extensive solar energy project, the school recently supplied each individual member of its community with a YETI reusable tumbler. Wanting to eliminate the use of paper cups on campus and demonstrate responsible environmental practices, Suffield continues to move closer to reducing its footprint by going greener.

Zeno Dancanet is a sophomore from New York City who is providing his own inspired services in response to receiving his YETI. Working in the school’s technology classroom and with a full spectrum laser cutter, Zeno is adding personalized engraving to anyone wanting to add their own unique signature to their YETI. “I knew we had the machine and thought this would be a cool way of introducing it to the community,” he commented. “So, I created a spreadsheet and began taking orders. This process has taught me a lot about management and organization. Everybody loves their YETI and we are all in agreement that sustainability is an important aspect of leadership.”

In The Classroom

Sustainability is impossible without quality education. Suffield's core curriculum centers on providing a robust, diverse learning environment. From math and sciences to technology, arts, and languages, Suffield's academics assert that knowledge is a vehicle for change. Course offerings centered of global initiatives include:

List of 3 frequently asked questions.

  • Environmental Science [Honors]

    This course is designed to provide students with the scientific principles, concepts, and methodologies required to understand the interrelationships of the natural world, to identify and analyze environmental problems both natural and human-made, to evaluate the relative risks associated with these problems, and to examine alternative solutions for resolving or preventing them. Environmental science is interdisciplinary; it includes chemistry, earth science, and biology, as well as history, economics, and politics in making decisions about the environment. As such, the course will explore the following main themes: the environment and society, human population growth and its consequences, renewable and nonrenewable natural resources and energy, waste management, and sustainable solutions. The course emphasizes an understanding of systems and processes, and making connections between various topics, rather than short-term memorization of facts. Students will be asked to integrate information from a number of contexts into a reasoned analysis, analogous to a scientist’s approach of devising and implementing solutions to real-world problems. Laboratory and field investigations will support class and guest lectures, and discussion.
  • Marine Science

    This course serves as an introduction to several different aspects of marine science including, but not limited to, oceanography, marine invertebrate and vertebrate zoology incorporating physiological adaptations to the marine environment, and key marine ecosystems such as the intertidal zone and coral reefs. Students will begin by understanding the chemistry of the ocean and the unique problems marine species face as well as how they have adapted to thrive in such an exceptional environment. Building upon that foundation, topics will cover specific ecosystems and the biotic and abiotic factors within them that make them fascinating. Dissections will allow a hands-on experience in learning and comparing the anatomy of various marine species while laboratory and online inquiry exercises will give students a chance to apply content to practice. Current issues such as ocean pollution, overfishing, and effects of climate change will also be highlighted and discussed throughout the year, giving students another opportunity to see science in action and improve their scientific literacy.
  • Ecology and the Environment

    Ecology and the environment will explore the different levels of ecology such as population, community, and ecosystem. Students will also learn about the biosphere and how humans have influenced changes in different areas. Students will have the opportunity to look at different ecosystems in Connecticut and how native organisms interact with their environments. Students will be able to explore the ecosystem around them and learn about how each level of ecology interacts with each other.

Community Charities

There is no better example of Suffield’s commitment to global sustainability than the annually elected community charity. For nearly 15 years Suffield’s charitable initiatives have supported a wide range of global goals. From poverty and hunger, good health and well-being to clean water and sanitation, quality education, and gender equality, our school recognizes its world-wide citizenship. 
Current Charity Hands for Hunger  Eliminate hunger and reduce food waste in the Bahamas
Past Annual Charities
2018-2019 » TeamBrent  Spread awareness of Neuroblastoma PSA
2017-2018 » Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy  A fight to end Duchenne
2016-2017 » Akshaya Patra  Unlimited food for education in India
2015-2016 » Circle of Care  Supporting families of children with cancer
2014-2015 » Spouts of Water  Water filters in Uganda
2013-2014 » Hearts of the Father Outreach  Homes for orphan refugees in Ghana, West Africa, Tamil Nadu, Southern India and the United States
2012-2013 » Charity Water  Clean water to developing countries
2011-2012 » Autism Speaks  Sponsoring Autism research
2010-2011 » The Petit Family Foundation  Education, chronic illness, and violence
2009-2010 » Camp Sunshine  A retreat for children with life-threatening illnesses
2008-2009 » HARC, Inc.  Quality, inclusion, and dignity for the intellectually disabled
2007-2008 » Jambo Tanzania  A sustainable healthcare focused center in the Kagera Region of Tanzania, that provides quality patient-focused affordable care
2006-2007 » Interval House  Preventing the cycle of domestic violence
2005-2006 » The Jimmy Fund  Supporting adult and pediatric cancer care and research

Professional Development for Faculty

Suffield is proud of its talented faculty and committed to providing an array of vehicles for them to grow as educators and people. To enable faculty members to engage in nontraditional study in order to become more effective teachers and scholars, summer sabbatical funds are available. Sabbatical proposals do not have to be strictly about education or teacher training; these grants are meant as rewards for commitment and excellence, and intended to help teachers to stay invigorated. Listed below are some of the more recent sabbaticals.

List of 5 frequently asked questions.

  • Gis-xi Nahmens • Languages Department

    Culture is not the result of a single eventor unique to one specific country.

    Gis-Xi traveled to La Mancha and Andalucia in southern Spain to perform research on the influence of the Moors in Spanish culture. She visited the cities of Toledo, Malaga, Marbella, Torremolinos, Cadiz, Tarifa, C—rdoba, Jerez de la Frontera, Granada, Sevilla, Gibraltar, Ronda, and Casares.
  • Amy Pentz P’16, ’19 • English Department

    I appreciated the sights that inspired many great writers and am thankful to Suffield for this enrichment opportunity.

    Strongly influenced by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Amy Pentz P’15, ’19 toured the Rhine River in June 2016 to see for herself what inspired so many artists’ imaginations. In teaching two English elective courses, The Literature of Evil and The Literature of the Servant, Amy is particularly interested in the Gothic element of many classic works and the life of the European servant.
  • Rebecca Strong • English Department

    It was wonderful to have the chance to speak from this hands-on experience when telling these stories to my classes.

    Designed to enhance her teaching of Greek mythology, including The Iliad and The Odyssey, and to develop ideas for a new elective course on World Mythology, Rebecca and her family spent 12 days in August exploring ancient sites described in myth and literature. Her tour of Greece incorporated travel by boat to capture the feeling of Odysseus and the other soldiers returning from Troy.
  • Molly Vianney P’12, ’14 • History Department

    The creator (Lin-Manuel Miranda) is in my opinion brilliant. He conveys complex and contradictory visions of the Founding Fathers in an engaging way, weaving old political values with current ones.

    Recognizing the cultural impact the musical Hamilton has made on and off the stage, Molly focused on diversity on Broadway and other unique aspects of this award-winning musical. 
  • Tobye Cook Seck ’88, P’16 • Art & Design Director, Marketing Department

    I experienced the warmest hospitality, a renewed appreciation for the small things, and a powerful family bond.

    Tobye traveled to Daker, Senegal in West Africa and examined family life through film. She presented a documentary to the community at chapel.

Clubs & Organizations

The many clubs and organizations at Suffield provide students the opportunity to explore global initiatives in non-academic platforms. These organizations aim at heightening awareness of differing sexualities, ethnicities, cultures, genders, religions, environments, or economic backgrounds. Equity and inclusion sustain our community and eliminate inequality. Clubs and Organizations offered at Suffield include:

List of 7 frequently asked questions.

  • Kaleidoscope [Multi-cultural Association]

    Kaleidoscope strives to promote cultural awareness and understanding of all nationalities, ethnicities, religions and genders. Kaleidoscope offers programs and events that provide perspective and understanding of all who surround us. Open to all members if the SA community, leaders of Kaleidoscope meet twice a month with the group faculty advisor to plan and prepare events for the Suffield Academy community that educate and inspire social equality.
  • Fellowship of Christians in Universities and Schools [FOCUS]

    FOCUS is a diverse community of students, alumni, parents, faculty, clergy and professionals from a variety of Christian denominations drawn together by a common faith and purpose.
  • The Gay Straight Alliance [GSA]

    GSA is a student organization aimed at heightening awareness of different sexualities. The goal is to sustain a safe and comfortable environment for students of all sexual preferences by focusing on continued education and communication on the Suffield Academy campus and the community at large. Students meet regularly to discuss issues in the news and to build strategies to raise awareness about the organization and related issues.
  • The Jewish Organization of Suffield [JOS]

    JOS aims to provide a community for Jewish students, faculty, and offers programming both religious, secular, spiritual, cultural, and social as desired by the campus community. An all-campus inclusive group, all members of the Suffield Academy community are invited to JOS activities.
  • TREE

    TREE is a student initiated, student led organization whose primary focus is to educate the school community on issues related to the environment. TREE was instrumental in establishing Suffield’s recycling program. Each year the organization sponsors Earth Day. This has included chapel presentations, campus projects, and visiting naturalists. TREE conducts annual fundraising activities and works to join other organizations together to accomplish these environmentally focused projects and activities.
  • Political Action Committee

    Political Action Committee meets weekly to discuss current events making headline news around the globe. Topics range from powerful world leaders to changes in policy and reform. Students involved in political action committee accept an active engagement in politics and the current state of public affairs.
  • Investment Committee

    Investment Committee is an ambitious group of students whose interest falls on the economic sustainability of wealth and resource. Members analyze market trends and investment strategies while considering how differing economic growths effect the overall global market. Investment Committee maintains that supportive, diverse investments benefit economic sustainability worldwide.

Healthy Eating

Responsible consumption and production are hallmarks of everyday life at Suffield. It is therefore essential that our dining services provide ample options for healthy eating. Our staff takes great pride in their ability to offer good carbs, low-fat proteins, limited saturated fats, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and plenty of choices for calcium. Additionally, we are constantly evaluating how to optimize our processes of reducing, reusing, and recycling. Suffield supports health and well-being in a variety of ways:
Meal Prep  purchasing fresh food that can be repurposed for multiple meals.
Supporting Local Businesses  working with local farmers whenever possible to reduce the overall impact on the environment.
In-house Offerings  hand-crafted, specialty pizza baked in our own commercial pizza ovens.

On Campus

To sustain our community and support economic growth, the physical plant at our school maintains ongoing initiatives to reduce our carbon footprint and operating expenses. The utilization of affordable, clean energy is a major way we demonstrate responsible consumption while respecting a global climate and life below water and on land.
Suffield’s ongoing initiatives to support responsible consumption include:
• Discontinued Poland Spring deliveries & added water machines in several buildings to fill water bottles
• Natural gas heating capabilities added to four major buildings on campus
• Updated efficiency for major boilers on campus
• Re-lamped exterior and interior lighting to LED bulbs
• Enhanced the recycling and waste program [single stream recycling collection]
• Initiated a campus-wide electrical reduction competition in 2007
• Incorporated biodegradable trash bags and reusable coffee mugs campus wide
• Biodiesel in various maintenance vehicles and select faculty residences
• Use of post-consumer recycled materials around campus [toilet paper, paper cups, cleaning supplies]

Leadership Awards

The Leadership Program at Suffield is of lasting significance and greatly enhances our role as global citizens. It prepares students and alumni to make a substantial difference beyond our campus. Core elements include an emphasis on understanding a moral foundation, goal-setting, communication skills, problem-solving, self-awareness, and inspiring others. It is in this way we fully embrace our partnerships with the 17 global goals for sustainable development. Only by working together can we secure a future for our planet. Suffield recognizes leadership is several ways:

List of 3 frequently asked questions.

  • The Leishman Family Energy Conservation Award

    The Leishman Family Energy Conservation Award is granted to a student who either best demonstrates knowledge and commitment to using less energy through conservation strategies, recommends the installation of energy efficient technologies that preserve natural resources and reduce carbon and greenhouse gas emissions, or implements a practical project that improves Suffield Academyís environmental management. The student has to show creativity and commitment to educate others about environmental issues, as well as an interest in environmental problems and solutions. Previous projects included cold water laundry, differing approaches to heating the swimming pool, and various heating efficiency ideas in school buildings.
  • The Robinson Environmental Award

    The Robinson Environmental Award is presented at Commencement each year to the graduating senior who shows sustained interest and passion for environmental initiatives.
  • Alumni Leadership Awards

    Alumni Leadership Awards honor Suffield graduates who have displayed notable leadership in their professional careers or in a humanitarian endeavor. The selection committee is comprised of alumni, current students, and members of the faculty. Past recipients include Tor Peterson ’82, Gretchen Schwabe Wilcox ’77, Dr. Paul Sullivan ’58, and Dr. Richard Wahle ’73 (2013), Thomas C. Greene ’87 and Kristin Hostetter Pandit ’86 (2014), Gerard J. Hall ’77, Dr. Michael F. Sheridan ’58, and Joseph G. Thompkins ’58 (2015), David Celentano ’69, Michelle Kaminsky ’84, and Ben Diep ’85 (2016), and David R. Holmes ’60 and Janice H. Lee ’99 (2017).
Suffield Academy   185 North Main Street   Suffield, Connecticut 06078   Phone 860.386.4400  |  Fax 860.386.4411