CoPIRG's Energy Service Corps spend spring break making a difference
By: Jenn Engstrom
While most college students went south for Spring Break, over thirty college students with CoPIRG’s Energy Service Corps went to Durango, Colorado to promote energy conservation and make a tangible difference in people’s lives and the environment.
CoPIRG's Energy Service Corps volunteers outside the Durangp Public Library.
Volunteers from CU Boulder, CU Colorado Springs, the University of Northern Colorado, and the Auraria campus in Denver educated over 750 K-12 youth through fun lessons on energy and the environment and performed over 40 basic energy assessments and upgrades in homes, apartments, and churches.
“We wanted to spend our spring break somewhere fun and be able to help people at the same time,” said Maggie Witt, UNC K-12 Education Coordinator. “We picked Durango because it’s extremely mountainous and faces steep energy bills in the winter, it’s far enough away from UNC that we can’t help when classes are in session, and it’s beautiful place to spend spring break.”
CU Denver campus organizer Kim Stevens and CU Boulder student Helen Katich help kids at New Horizons preschool make “Turn the lights off” covers for their light switches at home.
Over a two week period Energy Service Corps volunteers presented in 36 classrooms and educated over 750 K-12 youth. They went to every school in the Durango school district except one and provided engaging, hands-on educational presentations for students of all ages that focus on the value of conserving energy and promote environmental stewardship. Through fun, interactive games like Energy Jeopardy, volunteers left students with concrete ways that they can save energy at home and at school – from turning off electronics to switching to CFL light bulbs. The presentations received great reviews from teachers and officials in the school district.
Ashley Hillmer, 6th grade science teacher at Escalante Middle School said the presentations in her class were fantastic. “Volunteers were prepared and prompt. Their lesson plan was phenomenal."
From left to right: CU Boulder student Helen Katich and CU Denver student Matt Ferrell with Needham Elementary 1st graders, UCCS student Alison Smith leading a discussion with Durango High School students.
Manna Soup Kitchen
CoPIRG’s Energy Service Corps volunteers with Libby Culver of the Durango School District, Deacon Lou Kiene of the 1st Presbyterian Church, Warren Smith and Sarah Comerford of the Manna Soup Kitchen, and Mayor Michael Renden outside the Manna Soup Kitchen.
On Thursday, March 24th, Energy Service Corps performed a basic energy assessment and upgrade to the Manna Soup Kitchen in Durango. Throughout the week, a group of Energy Service Corps volunteers were in the soup kitchen by 5am every morning to make breakfast for the Durango community. They formed such a great relationship with the soup kitchen employees and patrons that they decided to organize a community energy assessment and basic energy upgrade to the building. Students were joined by Mayor Renden, Libby Culver, Community Partnerships coordinator for the Durango School District, and Sarah Comerford and Warren Smith of the Manna Soup Kitchen, and Deacon Lou Kiene of the 1st Presbyterian Church to seal cracks in the soup kitchen windows and install weatherstripping in the drafty door.The soup kitchen was so pleased with the hard work of Energy Service Corps volunteers that they threw a spaghetti dinner in their honor.
From left to right: CU Boulder student Rachel Bronk and Metro State student Drew Carrick apply weatherstripping to the front door at Manna Soup Kitchen; Bronk and UCCS student Kristen Hayden making breakfast at Manna. Botton: After dinner at the Manna Soup Kitchen.