On Saturday, January 16th, students from around the state gathered at UW-Steven’s Point to discuss solar energy and its different intersections with social justice issues, plan events for Solar Education week, and make connections with other UW students.
The day began with breakout sessions for students to discuss transitioning to a clean energy future. Topics included renewable energy technology, energy democracy, intersectionality with social justice, and how students can get involved. The students then heard from various speakers from the MREA and the UW-Steven’s Point Office of Sustainability.
The students organizing the Solar Summit were Sierra Student Coalition’s UW-Stout Seize the Grid students and RE-volv’s UW-Milwaukee Solar Ambassadors. Seize the Grid is a student led movement organizing for renewable energy transitions at high schools and universities across the States. By campaigning for just transitions from fossil fuel use for energy to renewables, Seize the Grid student organizers are driving forces in the clean energy movement.
RE-volv is a nonprofit that works to finance solar energy systems for other non-profits and cooperatives. RE-volv crowdfunds donations from community members to fund the solar array. As the non-profit or cooperative pays RE-volv back over time, the money is reinvested into other solar projects, creating a snowball effect of clean energy while building community at the same time. The Solar Ambassador Program is a year-long fellowship with RE-volv where college students run their own crowdfunding campaigns and complete a solar project. The Wisconsin project is at the Riverwest Co-op in Milwaukee, a natural food store committed to nutritious, affordable food and environmental sustainability. Visit RE-volv.org to keep updated on the Wisconsin project launch in mid-Feburary!
The next collaboration between the Sierra Student Coalition and RE-volv is Solar Education Week the last week of February. Solar Education Week is part of a national movement to spark conversation about solar energy. Community members, high school and college students, and community members will host events to educate and inspire people to support solar energy. If you or someone you know is interested in hosting an event, sign up here: http://solar-education-week.silk.co
This guest blog was written by Laura Donovan of the Sierra Student Coalition at UW-Stout and by Annie Barlas of RE-volv at UW-Milwaukee. Both students have been leading environmental efforts across college campuses, seeing collaboration as a key to achieving a clean energy future.