Social Responsibility Writer's Prize 2007 - School Entry - Third Prize

Sanjay Chandrasekhar - Melbourne High School

25/07/07
West Banks Secondary College
West Banks
Vic. 3298

Dear Mr Phillips,

Re: Proposal for community outreach

It is clear, that our school holds an important position in our society. Moulding the minds of nearly 800 students is no easy task, yet it is an essential service that needs to be provided to all children. Furthermore, there is scope for improvement, in which our school can involve itself further than it currently does in the community. Our schools increased presence in our surrounding community will prove beneficial not only for the school, but, also to the development of the booming municipality of West Banks.

Presently, our school is the only secondary school in the area and remains a high priority for all West Bank residents'. This is proven by the high level of funding receive by the school from locals, to equip the school with state-of-the-art facilities. Yet, presently the school is not repaying the community for the support it receives. The only money raised for the community by the school is by its irregular casual days and fun runs. Surely, West Banks Secondary College can assume a greater role in this community.

The social responsibility of West banks Secondary College is the obligation that the school has to society, beyond the growth of the school. The two main goals of the school should be to provide the best possible study environment for the students, and secondly, to contribute and assume an active role within that community. The school must adopt a triple bottom line. This means that whilst a successful school is important, environmental outcomes must be achieved, and a utilitarian ideal that all conduct of the school must be to benefit the community must be undertaken. A renowned economist, Milton Freedman once said the entity should conduct themselves "in accordance with their desires, which generally will be to make as much money as possible while conforming to the basic rules of the society." 1

Hitherto, the school has only donated money to charities and there is a capacity for the school to become more involved in the community, ensuring that it achieves environmental outcomes and benefits society. Involvement in environmental issues would be pleasing seeing that currently, the majority of Australian states are experiencing a crippling drought which is affecting water resources. By installing water tanks to collect water for use in the school, the message of sustainable living and environmental protection is made. Classes should be conducted to teach children about sustainable living, and environmental protection. Professor of Business Administration at Harvard, Forest Reinhart, admits there is a growing acceptance that is "Business voluntarism (Corporate Social Responsibility)…spending money on the environment, adds to profitability in most cases."2

An increased environmental involvement in the form of conservation and teaching will ensure cleaner school surroundings. With current subsidies of rainwater tanks, the school will stand to save more money, in the form of a reduction in water bills.

After Greenpeace named Canadian company DuPont as the world's number one polluter in 1988,3 DuPont underwent radical changes to reduce its global footprint. It developed a statement entitled "DuPont's global commitment to safety, health and environment"4 where it promised to "conduct (our) business with respect and care for the environment." Now, DuPont is one of the most socially responsible companies in the world, and this has increased its profitability by developing partnerships with companies, that once thought impossible. In 2005 DuPont was Business Week's Number 1 Green Company5 as well as being recognised as 2006 "Best in Class" for their approach to climate change, by the Carbon Disclosure Project, a coalition of global investigators.5 If our school can implement such environmental outcomes, it would undoubtedly be beneficial for the schools social profile, and this can help forge partnerships with businesses both within the West Banks community, and abroad, to help benefit and grow our school.

Further to environmental outcomes, measures must be undertaken by our school to ensure that support is offered to businesses in the West Banks area. Each week the school publishes a newsletter. This is an ideal medium to promote local businesses' in the area. Such support will enable businesses to grow, by providing free advertising. Another beneficial venture would be for students' to perform community service work. Students can become involved in local charities and not for profit agencies in the district as well as interacting with the elderly residence in the area. Community service work is beneficial to West Banks as resources and services that would be otherwise unavailable can be provided. Local non-profit organisations' such as the West Banks soup kitchen have been forced to turn away some local residents, due to lack of staff numbers. Contribution by students' will ensure that nobody in the town goes hungry. A community will prove more cohesive and stronger, if all citizens comprising of businesses, schools, charities, local governments and individuals are unified, offering different skills, money and support to the needy.

Aside from the obvious benefits to the district, the school will benefit from an increased involvement in the community. The majority of the school's students are residence of the West Banks area, and an increased presence in the community will increase the school profile, ensuring that the school remains at the forefront of parents' minds when choosing a school. A socially responsible school will find it easier to attract prospective teachers and administrators, guaranteeing that West Banks Secondary School continues to offer the students teachers of the highest calibre. Advertising local businesses at no cost can also prove important for the school's success. If the owners of the businesses are parents, then they will be more inclined to enrol their children in this school, rather than searching for private alternatives outside the district. Word of mouth advertising of the schools efforts to mould a student in a holistic manner, will enhance the schools reputation, as residents will realise that West Banks Secondary College does not focus solely on marks, rather aims to provide their students with a holistic education. Further, the school may also receive donations from the business owners, in the form of money or goods. By actively encouraging students to participate in charity and volunteer work, students will no doubt benefit. Students will learn how to interact with people outside their age bracket and by taking the students outside their comfort zone; the individual student will mature quickly.

Becoming a school that advocates social responsibility may result in additional work and organisation. However, by assuming a greater involvement in our local area, not only with the school benefit, but this will also be advantageous for the surrounding community and its residents.

Thank you for your consideration.

Yours sincerely

Richard Morales

 

References

  1. Friedman, Milton (1970) The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits (http://www.colorado.edu/studentgroups/libertarians/issues/friedman-soc-r...) New York Times Magazine,
  2. Harvard Business School (2005) Corporate Social Responsibility and the Environment: What is the right thing to do? (http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/5036.html">http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/5036.html)
  3. Fivewinds International - DuPont Case study (http://fivewinds.com/uploadedfiles_shared/CSRDupont.pdf)
  4. DuPont: Safety, health and environment (http://www2.dupont.com/Social_Commitment/en_CA/SHE/)
  5. DuPont 2015 Sustainable Goals (http://www2.dupont.com/Sustainability/en_US/assets/downloads/FINAL_BROCH...)
  6. Dupont website (http://www2.dupont.com/Sustainability/en_US/External _Recognition/index.html)

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