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The Wheels Are Turning on BR's Eco Bus

By Ishleen Sudan


In this day and age, environmentalism seems to be all anyone talks about. With a transition to clean energy being on the brink of initiation, climate change occupying our thoughts, and deforestation rapidly becoming a serious issue, preaching about the importance of saving the environment is rather easy. Lost in the midst of impassioned discussion, however, is pragmatism - a way to achieve goals that seem to be mounting in their number and feasibility.

Thankfully, due to the tireless efforts and extraordinary vision of one teacher at Bishop Reding, Mr. Da Silva, a widespread dream of positive impact on the environment has become a reality. Since May of 2018, students and teachers have been working to create an Eco Bus - a portable home inside a school bus.

Essentially, the project entails taking a school bus, tearing down certain components, and then installing a washroom, kitchen, and bedroom, all inside the space. There have been various phases involved, including drafting the meticulous design and determining the amount and type of materials needed to put the bus in action.

The Eco Bus Team, as well as Mr. Da Silva's automotive classes over the last few years, have been determined and diligent in order to deliver a seamless final product. The bus is now over 50% complete, with most of the main components installed. When finished, it will effectively accommodate living and sleeping quarters within a 94 square foot interior - which is no small feat (unless you mean physically). The bus's interior is almost entirely built from reused and recycled materials, or from easily accessible everyday items. The furniture pieces will also be multi purpose - such as a chair that turns into a bed, increasing both its efficiency and value.

"In essence, the bus promotes a minimalist lifestyle," says Mr. Da Silva, the man responsible for spearheading the initiative. But the Eco Bus's contributions to our school community extend beyond even environmental stewardship. The bus also brings together students from all corners of the school, and encourages cross-curricular learning.

Mr. Modelski's tech students are learning the fundamentals of weldings for physical components of the Eco Bus, Mr. Bubulis's math class applied their knowledge of optimization through observing the bus's use of space, Ms. Michiel's Media Arts students held a competition to see who could come up with the most ingenious design for the bus - and these are only some of the ways in which students have seen theoretical knowledge successfully applied and implemented through this innovation.

Students are also greatly enjoying taking on the challenge of making an Eco Bus as it provides them with an avenue to explore their passion for the automotive industry. One such student, Brandon Launder, remarks, "I've also really enjoyed making Bishop Reding a more environmentally conscious school, and learning about how we can make the world more eco-friendly."

All in all, the Eco Bus and its coming success is a testament to the cooperation of the tightly-knit Bishop Reding community. We can't wait to see what the Eco Bus looks like when it is ready! Until then, be sure to visit https://brecobusproject.wordpress.com/2019/11/26/cross-curricular-ing/, a site that reports back regularly on the progress of this incredible initiative.

One of the entries in Ms. Michiel's class's contest.

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