A different school of thought
Cape Town’s Hotel Verde, by BON Hotels, rightfully known as Africa’s greenest hotel, is continuing their green crusade into local schools and universities through their invited Eco Outings. It is a welcome relief to know that Hotel Verde has put up their hands and that these young minds are experiencing and learning about what needs to be done in order to live sustainably. These educational outings have been so well received that the hotel has conducted over 80 tours during the past 7 months.
The owners, Mario and Annemarie Delicio, along with their staff at Hotel Verde, are passionate about the environment – implementing green operations on a day-to-day basis at work and at home. “The community is important to us and we want to educate the youth through our considerable greening efforts,” says Mario. They are very pleased with the positive reaction to the Eco Outings and are honoured to have so many students visit and embrace these sustainable practices.
The hotel showcases some of the most environmentally advanced technological installations, design and operational practices in Africa and provides the perfect platform to teach these youngsters the way forward to a safer, sustainable and greener way of life. As you take a stroll through the hotel and spend some time with your personal guide, the children (and teachers) are encouraged to ask questions and imagine means in which they can bring, in their own way, a spirit of positive change and sustainability to their community. “It is interesting to see the different reactions of the students to the many ways in which they can make changes in their lives, that will have a positive impact on how they live and ultimately on the future of our planet,” says Roxanne Norman, Marketing Manager at Hotel Verde.
A clear favourite among the students is the power-generating equipment in the gym and the fact that you can earn rewards, or “Verdinos” as the hotel calls them, for sustainable practices during your stay to spend in the deli. The eco-pool, jogging trail and gym area around the wetlands are also popular, as well as the idea of eating a wood-fired pizza by candle-light during earth hour every Wednesday evening, and the green wall inside the hotel is a show-stopper. “We all learned how to help the environment and how to recycle - this is great not only for the planet but also for the people,” said Magda Coetzee from Hoërskool Overberg.
The student pack that each child receives includesa Verde World Newspaper, aflyer and time-capsule slips. Each student is given a 15% discount voucher for his or her family to use, and the school also receives a voucher for two people, bed and breakfast, to be used towards the school’s fundraising activities. You won’t go hungry either with a snack and a cool drink or hot chocolate to enjoy at the end of the tour.
A fun element to the Eco Outing is a time capsule, a recycled glass jar that is given to each school into which the students slip their promises for the future. The jar is then buried or kept at the school to be opened in the future. Miss Naomi Wentley from John Ramsay High School said, “The outing was most enjoyable and the tour was a great learning experience, especially for those learners who wish to pursue a career in Tourism and Hospitality.”
Hotel Verde hopes to inspire these students and to continue to share their vision with the community in order to create a culture of environmentally aware global citizens and green leaders.