Halfway There: A Mid-Semester Update on Energize Colleges

By: KANAMI OTANI, Energize Colleges Program Coordinator

Energize Colleges is a program funded by California state utility ratepayers and administered by non-profit Strategic Energy Innovations (SEI) which aims to implement academic and workforce development in energy career pathways on college campuses across the state. The goal of Energize Colleges is to provide students with exciting professional opportunities in energy and environmental fields and make sustainability education accessible and relatable. We do this by providing students with energy-related internships throughout the academic year, and by giving them the opportunity to educate high-school students on energy and environmental topics.

Thus far, we have provided on- and off-campus internships for 12 students from Harvey Mudd and Claremont McKenna colleges, each of which address different sectors of energy. Our community partners include Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI), Chino Basin Water Conservation District (CBWCD), US Green Building Council (USGBC), SoCalGas, and Community Home Energy Retrofit Project (CHERP). Interns also hold positions in facilities departments on the HMC and CMC campuses, analyzing energy usage, spreading sustainable education and culture to the campuses, and exploring the feasibility of solar.

We are extremely proud to have our interns being engaged in the sustainability sector and look forward to the outcomes they will achieve! We’d like to spotlight a few of our the interns and their work!

“My internship with the Chino Water Conservation Basin has been very rewarding and has been an amazing learning experience. I have been able to watch High School and Elementary school students get very involved and interested in Air quality and the environment at large. It is so great to see this passion and respect for the environment start so early. It gives me hope for the future!” – Kenlyn Mirbach, Claremont McKenna, ’20.

Kenlyn is heavily involved with educational workshops for both high school and elementary school students supporting and refining the CBWCD curriculum. Outreach and education for the surrounding communities is instrumental in creating a sustainable future!

“I have been compiling the steps necessary to install consortium-wide solar.” – Samuel Becker, Claremont McKenna, ’19

Although Sam has a very modest quote, he has been a major driving force in not only student involvement but also faculty and staff communication and hosting discussions of solar. Currently, he is working on a comprehensive report discuss the financial and environmental considerations for solar power installations on our campuses.

“I want to instill more consciousness in the CMC community about how our daily actions affect our health, environment and other people. Right now, I’m working with different departments and offices across campus to expand their procurement to be more environmentally sustainable and ethical and reducing amount of unnecessary waste produced.” – Jenny Fang, Claremont McKenna, ’19

Jenny has also created a Green Guide for freshman orientation to educate incoming students about the sustainability culture at CMC! Stay tuned for the Conscious College Road Tour in partnership with Turning Green on March 29th!

We also have an exciting event organized by our interns William Masters (Claremont McKenna, ’18) and Yijing Zhang (Claremont McKenna, ’18)! The Net Zero Water Symposium hosted by the USGBC – IE Chapter is happening this Wednesday, March 22, 2017 5-8PM! This will be an amazing event full of knowledgeable panelists. Please RSVP to attend!

And lastly, we have a number of interns working with the Community Home Energy Retrofit Project (CHERP) on a new and growing initiative, Claremont Locally Grown Power. We have included a few images below showcasing the work of those students. Our CHERP interns are Olivia Schneble (Harvey Mudd, ’17), Daniel McCabe (Harvey Mudd, ’17) and Catherine Leon (Claremont McKenna ’19).

I will share more information and updates on the Energize Colleges program as the semester continues! You can stay informed and connected by checking out the @EnergizeCollegesClaremont Facebook Page. Any questions, comments, or inquiries about having an intern or being an intern can be sent to energizecollegesclaremont@gmail.com!