While most college students are enjoying the beach or traveling, more than 40 students from five University of California campuses are foregoing their typical spring break to teach thousands of children in Los Angeles communities how to save energy and save the environment.
Members of the student directed organization CALPIRG Energy Service Corps will travel to Los Angeles, California from March 25 through March 29 to spread the word on energy savings.
The focus of the week is to educate 2,800 children through fun, interactive lessons which highlight simple steps students can take to improve their environment by becoming more energy efficient.
To start off the week, students held a kickoff event at Delphi Academy in Santa Monica with some words from Santa Monica Mayor, Pam O’Connor, and Environment California Federal Field Associate Sean Carroll.
Administration from the school and the mayor then watched the first lesson being taught to an elementary school class on renewable energy.
“This trip is an opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to sustainability and for students to challenge themselves to engage other communities in a dialogue on energy savings,” said Teal Mandzik, a UC Merced student currently serving as an AmeriCorps member with CALPIRG Energy Service Corps.
Student members will even go beyond the classroom and do some simple energy upgrades for local non-profits such as installing weather stripping and switching out inefficient light bulbs, as well as go door to door giving energy saving tips to hundreds of homeowners.
“More than a third of the energy we use in the United States goes toward powering the buildings in which we live and work,” said Sean Carroll, Federal Field Associate with Environment California. “Because much of this energy comes from dirty and dangerous sources like coal, oil, and natural gas, powering America’s buildings is responsible for 30 percent of our global warming pollution, which is fueling extreme weather events like droughts, wildfires, and super storms.”
Carroll said too much of energy is wasted through poor insulation, leaky windows, inefficient lighting, heating or cooling systems, and poor construction techniques.
“To reduce global warming emissions, there are many opportunities to cut back on wasted energy,” he said.
CALPIRG Energy Service Corps is a joint program of the California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG) and AmeriCorps based on fourteen college campuses across the state.
The program’s mission is to mobilize college students to increase energy efficiency in their local community through service and education projects. For their 3rd Annual Alternative Energy Spring Break Trips nearly 100 university students have organized trips in Los Angeles, South Lake Tahoe, the Bay Area, Pomona, and San Jose.
Through these five trips over 10,000 K-12 students will be educated about what they can to do save energy.
Following Spring Break, CALPIRG Energy Service Corps will continue teaching young students across California throughout the semester, in addition to educating the community about energy efficiency through workshops and performing free home energy assessments and weatherizations.