Sandy Spring Friends School



Get Ready for a Great OPOP Day 2024!

Get Ready for a Great OPOP Day 2024!



Acknowledging that the well-being of our planet and its inhabitants are inextricably linked–and respecting the Quaker testimonies of Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Equity, and Stewardship–Our People Our Planet Day seeks to inspire the SSFS community to become caretakers of both people and the planet, cultivating a culture of stewardship in all of us. Honoring that the day was created through the partnership of students and adults and recognizing the wisdom that all individuals in our community carry, adult educators and students will lead and learn together by providing opportunities for education, reflection, and action.

Cultivating a healthier world requires a deep understanding of diverse cultures, identities, and communities. In acknowledgment of this crucial endeavor, SSFS has established Our People, Our Planet Day to:

  1. Raise awareness and educate about global environmental issues, especially those that are linked to our community and its members
  2. Honor and celebrate the various cultures and identities within and beyond our community, emphasizing their contributions to addressing these environmental challenges
  3. Participate in service activities before, during, and after OPOP Day that tackle environmental issues on a smaller scale (on campus) while engaging in reflection to comprehend the broader impact of these projects on the world

Our People Our Planet Day (OPOP Day) is a valued tradition at SSFS, embodying respect for diverse perspectives and the Quaker decision-making process.

See Photos from OPOP Day 2023

History of OPOP Day

In 2016, Victoria Lyu '17 presented a proposal crafted by the School's international student community to the All School Meeting For Business (ASMFB). This proposal called for a unique day dedicated to global citizenship, celebrating and honoring the diverse cultures represented on our campus. After careful consideration, SSFS faculty and staff reached consensus and decided to implement this concept, recognizing the importance of student input and insight. Simultaneously, they acknowledged the potential constraints of the academic calendar and program in accommodating an additional full-day event. The decision was therefore made to merge this proposed day with the existing Earth Stewardship Day, emphasizing the Quaker testimony of stewardship for both people and the planet.

In the spirit of the Quaker testimony of equality/equity and demonstrating the non-hierarchical partnership between adults and students within the community, the Earth Stewardship Day Committee and the student committee, including Victoria, combined these ideas into a single event. This event would focus on the stewardship of our natural environment and human communities. As a result, in 2017, the first-ever OPOP Day was held, merging the initial Environmental Stewardship Day (established by former faculty and current trustee Toni Evans in 2004) with the new proposal.

Theme for 2024: “Renewal: Weaving Threads from the Past into the Fabric of Our Future”

"Renewal: Weaving Threads from the Past into the Fabric of Our Future," within the scope of Our People, Our Planet (OPOP) Day, showcases Sandy Spring Friends School's (SSFS) resolve to illuminate the existing marriage between cultural heritage and environmental responsibility. This initiative emphasizes revitalizing diverse historical and cultural insights and leveraging them for ecological sustainability and justice, reflecting an alignment with the Quaker values of Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equity, and Stewardship. It encourages the SSFS community to foster a conscientious approach to looking after each other, our community, our campus, and our planet.

The theme underscores the deep-seated connection between environmental sustainability and our collective journey toward redefining the confluence of cultural traditions, educational paradigms, and community involvement for a healthier planet. The theme calls on us to raise awareness of how each of us as individuals can contribute to cultural and/or ecological renewal in a way that fits naturally into our lives and aligns with our passions. It stands as a testament to our collective power in driving environmental transformation and cultural sustainability, heralding a united effort to protect our planet as a celebration of shared commitment. It envisions a future where every element of our existence synergizes with the natural world, inviting us to passionately pursue innovative avenues that lead us to a sustainably thriving earth.

Wednesday, April 24 - Reminders and Activities

Don't forget!! All students and faculty-staff should

  • Bring a labeled water bottle
  • Wear/bring sunscreen
  • Dress appropriately for the weather, wearing comfortable clothes and close-toed shoes that are OK to get dirty! 
  • Come ready to learn, reflect, and engage!

Schedule for the Day: Wednesday, April 24 (more details to come!)

  • Advisory (MS/US) & Homeroom (LS) Time: Lower School: Morning meetings will introduce the '“Renewal: Weaving Threads from the Past into the Fabric of Our Future” theme, supported by age-appropriate literature. Middle & Upper School: The day kicks off with an intention setting and a symbolic seed paper activity for aspirations.
  • All-School Assembly: An opening moment of silence leads into an overview of OPOP Day, emphasizing global narratives and our community’s commitment to renewal. The Clothing Swap initiative is also a highlight.
  • Workshops: A mix of presentations and prepared lessons will be led by faculty, students, and guest speakers; topics will include issues such as recycling, upcycling, campus rain gardens, natural playgrounds, and brainstorming ideas for future campus improvements
  • Service Component: Intentionally integrated with our workshops, service projects will include activities such as planting, weeding, trail cleaning, rain garden repair, improving outdoor play spaces and outdoor classrooms, repairing on-campus signage, screen printing, and more.
  • Community Group Activities: A rotation through lunch & conversations, service activity, and reflection will occur. 
  • Closing and Dismissals: Students will return back to their advisory or classrooms for dismissal.

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