Sophs Orchestrate Science Text Donation


Gracie Woidat, Lifestyle Editor

After stumbling across 1,000 discarded science textbook books in campus recycling bins over the summer, sophomores Amrita Malhotra and Emma Ngo intervened in order to have them donated to schools in developing countries.

The textbooks were being discarded due to changes in science standards, according to AP Biology and Living Earth teacher Renee Gillibert, and because regular Physics had been changed to Physics of the Universe. “They were also 15 years old, so we needed an update,” said Gillibert.

According to Gillibert, the outdated textbooks were slated to be collected by Follett, an educational company that redistributes textbooks. However, Malhotra and Ngo received permission from administrators to collect and donate the textbooks, according to associate principal Laura Lee.

“I think it was great that we could reuse them and help other schools,” said Ngo.

New textbooks have replaced the textbooks that were discarded. “The new textbooks will include the Next Generation science standards, including different ways to teach normal sciences,” said Gillibert.

To cover shipping costs for their donation of the old books, Malhotra and Ngo created a GoFundMe web page that was published to friends and family and posted on Nextdoor, a neighborhood social network.

According to Ngo, they reached their funding goal of $1,000 within 4 days. “People were very generous,” she said.

Ngo’s father’s company, Moz, provided shipping crates.

The pair then shipped the books to the International Book Project, a not-for-profit organization that sends books to developing countries as well as parts of the United States.

“There’s plenty of countries in places such as Africa and South America that use old textbooks, and these books would probably be in better condition than the ones they usually receive,” said Gillibert.

According to Malhotra, others posted to Nextdoor that Acalanes and Miramonte also had textbooks in their recycling, but there were too many textbooks for the 2 sophomores to collect. “It would’ve been hard to do a fundraiser to ship another 1,000 or so books, and honestly we didn’t have the garage space,” said Ngo.

“Hopefully the students from those schools are willing to step up and do something about that,” added Malhotra.