Share This Page

Sewickley Academy senior chosen as a Green Champion

| Wednesday, March 20, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
Sewickley Herald
Sewickley Academy senior Amy Kolor stands for a photo inside one of the halls at the school Thursday, March 7, 2013. Amy recently was honored with the Green Champion Award by Pittsburgh FLOWW and Mayor Luke Ravenstahl for her work in water conservation. Kristina Serafini | Sewickley Herald

Amy Kolor's “go-for-it” attitude not only won her a free trip to Nepal and Sri Lanka but also gave her a new interest that could turn into a career.

Kolor, 18, a Sewickley Academy senior, along with nine students from four other local high schools were chosen as Green Champions of Environmental Sustainability for their work regarding water conservation.

The Green Champions award comes from Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's Office of Sustainability and Energy Efficiency. It was developed last year to recognize outstanding Pittsburgh-area individuals and organizations for the work they do focusing on environmental sustainability.

Kolor, daughter of Daniel and Elizabeth Kolor of Cranberry Township, recently transferred from Seneca Valley to the academy and said she wanted to try things she never had the opportunity to do at her former school.

She wanted to be a part of the academy's Global Studies Program, which requires students to participate in a summer international trip and then make a presentation about their journey after returning home.

When Kolor saw posters around school urging students to apply for an all-expense-paid trip to Nepal and Sri Lanka, Kolor said, she thought, “What a great opportunity.”

After applying and going through the interview process, Kolor was chosen as the academy's representative. She and students from other high schools stayed with host families for three weeks last summer to learn how to be youth leaders with a focus on environmental stewardship.

The trip was part of the Youth Leadership South Asia/South Asia Youth Summit, or SAYS, program, a student leadership exchange between students in the Pittsburgh area and Nepal, Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

SAYS' goal is to develop and improve student delegates' leadership skills and give them the tools they need to transform their ideas into community-based projects, and collective action in order for them to become agents of change.

Members of Kolor's group were the first Americans to participate in the exchange program. However, students from Sri Lanka, Nepal and the Maldives have been traveling to the Pittsburgh area for a few years. During their last visit in May, Kolor's group was able to participate in some activities with them.

During Kolor's trip, she said, her group visited several Buddhist temples and a monastery, helped wash elephants in the river and went to an elephant-refuge facility. They heard lectures from and discussed water issues with community leaders and environmentalist groups.

They also got a glimpse of the countries' problems with clean-water accessibility.

“We saw dead animals in the water. We couldn't drink the water or even wash our face in the water. We could only use bottled water,” she said.

“It made the problem real to us. They are struggling with water cleanliness, and we take for granted our access to clean water. Most people there don't drink the tap water and only drink bottled water. Clean water is not as readily accessible as it is here,” she said.

When they returned home, members of the group pooled the $250 each that was given to create a community project. Together, they formed the group Pittsburgh FLOWW, or For Lowering Our Water Waste, and decided to concentrate on water conservation.

“We all talked about what we could do that would be applicable to Pittsburgh and the local community. Water is a big part of Pittsburgh's history with its river system and the struggles and progress we've made,” Kolor said.

The first project focused on an educational program for sixth- and seventh-graders in the five different school systems students attend. Students were given water-conservation tips to take home with them. Students were given T-shirts and prizes and saw a video featuring a costumed “water man” created by the group.

The group also organized a public water day that featured several volunteer Pittsburgh-area speakers from businesses, organizations and clubs knowledgeable about water issues who set up booths, gave out information and provided interactive activities at the Pittsburgh School for the Creative and Performing Arts.

Kolor said although Pittsburgh FLOWW's work is done, the next student group that attends the SAYS program has the option of continuing the work, she said.

The trip made such an impact on Kolor, she said, she is looking into environmental studies or business as a college major. She also is working on a senior project with Clearwater Technologies in Sewickley to work with Marcellus shale to meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards.

Joanne Barron is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-324-1406 or jbarron@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.