Small Choices, Big Impact for Earth Day
Posted 04/21/2018 03:12PM

William Shain, a first-year student from the U.S., had an idea recently to help UWC-USA take another step closer to living its mission of stewardship of the earth's resources.

"Three times each week UWC-USA students seemingly take over the Las Vegas, NM Walmart and buy items the school store doesn't stock." William explains. "Though a bus of only around 40 students makes the trip at a time, you often see students coming back with 3 or 4 bags. Of course, despite our protests, the baggers at Walmart like to double bag items or simply use more bags than are strictly necessary." In honor of Earth Day 2018, William is implementing a Walmart bag program that will provide a supply of reusable tote bags on each of the school's buses so students can use them when they make purchases in town each week.

"My goal was simple," said William. "I wanted to find a way to reduce the number of single-use plastic bags that will quickly find themselves headed to the dump. Estimating about 40 UWC-USA students make the Walmart trip three times each week for roughly nine months of the year, our campus uses more than 8,000 plastic bags annually."

It's easy to point to "big polluters" or industries that have a significant carbon footprint or produce large amounts of waste. But William and his friends at UWC-USA recognize that we all make little decisions every day that, over time, can have a big impact managing our resources more responsibly.

Meet Mzwakithi Shongwe, '12, who came to UWC-USA from Swaziland.


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UWC-USA is one of 17 UWCs on five continents. Other countries that have UWCs include Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Swaziland, Thailand, and Wales.


UWC-USA students perform more than 18,700 hours of service every year through our association with 25 community partners. More than 2,500 people in Las Vegas, N.M. and the surrounding community have benefited from service projects led by UWC-USA students.


UWC-USA has 228 students representing more than 70 countries, from Armenia to Zimbabwe. Eleven students come from countries identified as conflict regions. Representation within our student body includes: Africa 10%, Asia 28%, Europe 29%, North America 23%, South America 10%.


Students don’t apply directly to the school; they are selected by committees in their home countries based on academic achievement, leadership, and curiosity about and involvement with global events and cultures.


Philanthropist Shelby Davis has created a $40 million endowment that provides 50 U.S. students with full scholarships to attend a UWC every year.


Our more than 3,357 UWC-USA alumni are spread across the globe: North America 26%, Latin America and Caribbean 16%, Africa 10%, Middle East 6%, Asia 14%, Europe 21%, Pacific 2%


UWC-USA offers the International Baccalaureate diploma program. Students can choose from IB classes in 28 subjects – a remarkable number given the size of the school.

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