MSEL Business Projects
It is in MSEL’s mission to interest students about their community through “project- based high school education [and] a focus on environmental issues.” Students are encouraged to create their own business that meet the social, environmental and economic criteria. During their Junior year, students decide on a sustainable business. This year, teacher Jesse Madsen has been in charge of introducing the importance of sustainability. He encourages students to think about their consumption and not only to consume less, but to consume better. He supervises the junior class and helps guide them on expanding their business.
At the beginning of junior year, students began to plan and create a sustainable business. Students were asked to create three cover letters for their top three business choices, and towards the end of the first semester prepare a ten to fifteen minute presentation to potential investors explaining the social, environmental, and economic aspects of their projects. Only a few businesses out of thirty were selected to implement in the spring semester. The businesses were Hydro Jar, Bounce Back, Green Jean, Initiate Lacrosse.
Junior, Erin Charlton is head of advertisement for HydroJar. Hydro Jar is a sustainable, environmentally friendly student based company that uses the aquaponics process of farming to grow herbs. She, alongside other juniors, created a mason jar that is designed to grow plants and act as a home to betta fish. The mini aquaponics system uses the nitrogen cycle. Unusable fish waste serves as plant fertilizer, feeding the plants–spearmint, chocolate mint, lettuce, or kale– extra nutrients, while the plant filters out the water for the fish. Erin says that from this experience she has gained skills in experience in advertising and teamwork.
Juniors, Everson Smith, Evan Schultz, Matyas Krizek ,and Andreas Mescheryakov designed Bounce Back, a sustainable business that makes air plant terrariums out of used tennis balls that would otherwise be headed to the landfill. Their products are designed to be an earth-saving way to decorate creatively and sustainably. Bounce Back currently sells their products at the farmers market. They hope to soon expand to any other outlet available to them in order to create awareness for their product. Smith is currently working on improving the quality of their prototype product, while also experimenting with the creation of perhaps newer products. From this business Smith gained valuable experience in the business realm while acquiring skills that will be useful in the future.”
Another Junior, Gaby Elias, created her business on reusing unwanted denim and designing them into stylish handmade bags and pouches. She accepts donations on old denim that would otherwise be thrown away to design tote bags and pouches. Nick Slanec also makes durable and reliable bamboo lacrosse shafts out of scraps of wood that wouldn`t be used. He is currently expanding on this project and is focusing on getting these lacrosse shafts into the market.
Through these year long projects students have been able to understand the art of business and greater innovations, while learning the importance of sustainability.