SAGE Seeks to Make Changes


Every so often on Mondays after school, past the ramp above the cafeteria on the second floor, there will be a small group of students in Ms. Krejnik’s classroom in Ladue Horton Watkins High School. Inside the windowless room adorned with a few posters, they might be listening to someone present, watching a video or simply tossing around ideas. At first glance, this may seem like a quick get-together or maybe even a review for an upcoming test, but it’s actually a meeting for SAGE, a new club at Ladue. 

SAGE, Student Action for a Greener Earth, was founded by juniors Gabe DiAntonio and Anna Reis in attempts to help Ladue play its due role in combating the climate crisis. This club focuses mainly on institutional changes that must be made. 

“We started SAGE because we felt that there was a lack of environmental awareness at Ladue,” Reis said. “More specifically, we noticed how much food was wasted in the cafeteria and we noticed how things like styrofoam plates and plastic utensils were used.”

When the current founders were seeking to start this club, they needed a sponsor, and they found the perfect candidate in Kelley Krejnik, a leadership, personal finance, world history and geography teacher at LEADS Academy. 

“It would come as no surprise that most people would be in support of making such changes,” Krejnik said. “The challenge is finding the people who are able to actually get these changes going. Our school has great clubs such as green team, elements, lexus eco challenge, and now SAGE, and I think it’s really important to make sure that students are aware that they have those opportunities.”

Currently, SAGE is focused on the school’s cafeteria. The founders hope to combine individual student action with policy changes to get the greatest impact possible.

“A lot of change can begin within just our cafeteria,” Reis said. “Besides changing policies and the utensils and whatnot are, we can start with raising awareness and fueling individual change. Bringing lunches is slightly more sustainable because materials and utensils can be reused. Students buying lunch should try not to buy too much food in order to prevent throwing away and wasting any food. There’s a lot of little things like behavior in the cafeteria that students can do to promote sustainability at Ladue.“

At a typical SAGE meetings, members will be discussing ideas. The open-minded environment encourages people to speak out their opinions. Every so often, there will be a few presenters who help the club gain more knowledge about the issues at hand.

“Meetings usually entail planning for our current competition to reduce waste in the cafeteria, with a lot of discussion between members,” Krejnik said. “We also have a member of the local community that works with solar panels that assists us in this competition.”

Some long term goals include getting a larger base of regular members so the club doesn’t die down when the Reis and DiAntonio graduate and tackling some other issues once the current one at hand is handled. 

“Ultimately, we started this club  because we felt that Ladue should set an example and raise the standard when it comes to environmental sustainability,” Reis said. “While Ladue is certainly acting sustainable in many aspects, there is still room to grow— from things like reducing waste to reducing energy— there is still room to improve, and that’s truly why SAGE exists.”