Jerudong International School in Brunei: Transforming students into sustainability heroes
Promoted by Jerudong International School

Jerudong International School in Brunei: Transforming students into sustainability heroes

Small changes can pack a powerful punch in the long run. This is the belief behind Jerudong International Schools “Teaspoons of Change.” Part of JIS’s mission to make a critical difference in the lives of others, this refers to small but significant ideas, attitudes and actions that have a positive impact on both the school and the local community.

There are six focus areas: Engagement, Leadership, Communication, Thinking, Resilience, and Integration. Each time a student does something special aligned to these areas, they receive a Polio Point. JIS then donates US$1 to UNICEF to help in the global fight against polio eradication. So ingrained is this system at JIS that students describe it as “the DNA of the school.”

Sustainability Prefect Eoin Kyle, originally from the UK, describes Polio Points as “a phenomenal concept that provides a means of motivation whilst at the same time saving lives globally.” “The hardest challenge with promoting sustainability at JIS is the motivation. By using Polio Points as an enticement, I’ve found that over time it encourages students to realise the long-term rewards of getting involved, as opposed to the immediate gain it brings,” he says.

Eoin Kyle (left) and Raika Chowdhury (right). Source: Jerudong International School

Kyle has been involved in many amazing projects that benefit the planet and its people. He’s planted trees, cleaned beaches, set up a fig tree nursery with NGO OneStopBorneoWildlife, deployed artificial coral reefs as part of the global Reef Balls Project, set up one of Brunei’s first-ever plastic recycling stations and kickstarted JIS’s participation in the Borneo Wildlife Ambassadors Programme.

At the Outdoor Discovery Centre (ODC), Kyle has made “too many to recount” great memories. The award-winning centre is a student-led initiative to restore 12,000 m2 of tropical heathland. This includes installing rainwater collection systems, fig tree nurseries, and solar panels.

Raika Chowdhury calls the ODC a dynamic outdoor classroom. “Through initiatives like the ODC and the House Forest Level Awards programme, more students engage with the ODC, participating in gardening and learning about sustainable upcycling,” says the student from Bangladesh. “Our senior school houses also use our ODC-cultivated compost, incorporating it into their green businesses. It allows senior students to be involved in the composting process — a skill they can use later in life.”

A personal highlight for Chowdhury was taking part in CNN’s Call to Earth campaign, which involved demonstrating how JIS is working towards being part of the solution.
“We introduced the ODC, the face of sustainability at JIS, with the support of our House Eco Reps who volunteered to participate. I can finally say I’ve been on TV!” says Chowdhury.

These initiatives are commemorated in The Green Phoenix, a memory bank for students and parents to reflect on past eco-friendly events and engagements. “The Green Phoenix is a website I created and developed,” says Chowdhury. “It is a website designed to showcase all the sustainable milestones JIS has accomplished over its history. It currently features four categories: Recycling @ JIS, the ODC, House Pages, and Articles.”

Chowdhury was inspired, supported, and guided by the Economic and Social Fund for Development (ESfD) coordinator of the school. JIS even has a dedicated team of staff who oversee and expand the school’s sustainability efforts. “We have worked with many external organisations and teams to complete many projects, which would usually entail expressed initial interest via digital communication, and then we would meet in person and plan how we would make things happen,” adds Kyle.

In school, Kyle says that his biggest achievements were in Year 12 and 13 where he took on roles in the student council to advocate for more sustainable actions. “My passion grew with each experience, from plastic-filled oceans to positive changes made, and I don’t think it is a part of me that will ever fade,” he says.

The Outdoor Discovery Centre is an award-winning centre student-led initiative to restore 12,000 m2 of tropical heathland. Source: Jerudong International School For Chowdhury, there were specific projects that remained close to her heart. In Year 12, she joined a co-curricular activity called Borneo Project, which focuses on community service, leadership and independence. She became the House Eco Representative for Whistler House and won the House Forest Level Awards. “It was then I realised just how rewarding it is to be a part of sustainability at JIS, to be someone who ‘shapes an inspired tomorrow’,” she says. “And so, just like that, a spark ignited in me to aim higher, to leave my mark, and to pursue a passion I never thought I would.”

So impactful is JIS in engaging students’ sense of purpose that Kyle now aims to fuse his passion for design with sustainability. He’s considering pursuing a degree in fields like Sustainable Design, Sustainable Architecture and Sustainable Engineering. “I feel it would give me fulfillment and job satisfaction whilst allowing me to make positive impacts on the world around me,” he says.

Chowdhury is committed to maintaining this momentum even after she’s left JIS. She plans to continue contributing to her community as a future healthcare practitioner whilst remaining dedicated to her role as a steward of the environment. “Undeniably, the teaspoons of change made today are the key to a cleaner tomorrow,” she says.

About Jerudong International School (JIS)

Jerudong International School in Brunei is an outstanding British International School with over 1660 students, from Nursery through to Year 13, offering the IGCSE, A Levels, the IB Diploma Programme and the International BTEC, with many students going on to top universities around the world.

Learn more about Jerudong International School here.

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