A Dunstan High School class is taking learning into their own hands by organising a petition they hope will prevent the closure of the Alexandra Wastebusters.
The social enterprise announced in April its Alexandra operation would close on June 30, ending all its recycling services in Alexandra, Cromwell and surrounding rural communities, including to business customers.
Now, members of a year 10 social studies class has incorporated the closure into their studies, producing a petition they hope will allow Wastebusters to stay open.
Teacher Dan Beck said the project was a good way for the pupils to learn about ways to produce change in the community.
‘‘Ultimately, I think this experience is important to my students because it teaches them that they have the potential and agency to enact change in their own community, at a grassroots level,’’ he said.
‘‘Despite being year 10 school students, they have valid opinions and should act on these.’’
Over the course of the project, they looked into the reasons for the closure and possible consequences.
Pupils also looked at how the closure related to their wider topic of study for the term, the Treaty of Waitangi, he said.
‘‘The students have focused their written work on how the issue relates to the Treaty, and how there is an obligation from the local government, and us as New Zealanders, to acknowledge the issue, and not idly stand by and risk the closure of the asset,’’ Mr Beck said.
Pupil Tahlia Sangster (15) said she enjoyed learning about a local issue.
‘‘It was interesting learning about something in our own community, not from overseas,’’ Tahlia said.
She hoped the council would listen to the people in the community.
Fellow pupil Skye Scott (14) said she did not want Wastebusters to be shut down.
‘‘I want the council to acknowledge people don’t want it closed.’’
The class surveyed school staff and other pupils about Wastebusters’ closure and have put up posters encouraging people to sign the petition.
Pupils in the class were users of Wastebusters, even before the class project. Some of their finds included golf clubs, couches, snow sports gear and bikes.
As one pupil described it: ‘‘It’s a bit of everything’’.
The pupils hoped to present their petition to the council in the coming weeks.