This article originally appeared in The Inquirer on July 25, 1993.
When she’s at home, Janice Baiada makes sure her parents turn off the lights in empty rooms and toss their garbage in the correct recycling bin.
So when Baiada went to her father, Mark, and told him she was working on a project to get the business office of the Moorestown Friends School, where she is a seventh grader, to switch to recycled paper, he wasn’t surprised.
“She’s always had an interest in environmental issues, and then she goes to a Quaker school where they really encourage students to try and make the world a better place,” Mark Baiada said.
But he was downright stunned when his daughter came home from school one afternoon and told him that her efforts, part of an assignment on energy use for her social studies class, had been successful.
"I’d been encouraging her all along, but in the back of my mind I was thinking, ‘I don’t know how she’s going to do it,’ " he said.
Janice Baiada and her partner in the project, Meghan Campbell, are away at camp and could not be reached. But Baiada’s father proudly recalled how, after learning the school buys 200 reams of copier paper every three months - or ''37 trees a year," as Baiada put it - the two students called up various recycled-paper distributors, comparing prices.
The cheapest price for recycled paper they could find was 50 or 60 cents more per ream than the kind the school was using. But when Baiada and Campbell proposed a bake sale to make up the difference, the business office agreed to make the switch.
"The whole class had supported them throughout the effort, so when the business office agreed to the switch, the students started jumping up and down saying, ‘We did it, we did it!’ " said Margaret Mansfield, the girls’ social studies teacher.
Baiada and Campbell scored another victory as well. The school’s first Environmental Club was formed this spring as an offshoot of their original efforts.
“The students had come to me and asked how they could make sure their project was a success,” Mansfield said. "So I told them that whenever you really want to get things done, you need a club. "
The club’s first official activity was raising funds to make up the additional cost of the recycled paper. When three bake sales netted $200, half of the money went to the business office and the other half went to buy a piece of rain forest in South America. Mansfield is confident that when school starts in the fall, the seven club members, including Baiada and Campbell, will find more ways to make a difference.