Life without electricity… that is what one group of NC State University students asks us to imagine. Now envision students in a rural Haitian school for whom that existence is an everyday challenge. But with the help of NC State’s Students for Solar and One Million Lights, solar lights will soon bring clean, renewable lighting to these students who would otherwise not have access to electricity.
William Lee, a junior majoring in Environmental Technology and Management, is a Global Ambassador for the nonprofit One Million Lights that distributes solar lights throughout the developing world to improve education, health and the environment. William and the other members of Students for Solar are raising funds for purchasing and distributing 50 solar lights to Terrier Rouge School in rural Haiti. They hope to personally deliver the lights to the school next summer.
Students for Solar is a student-led community group whose focus is to both advocate for and implement solar technologies on campus. The group’s principle is that “utilizing clean-energy technologies, such as solar energy, is of paramount importance to NC State University in its efforts to achieve climate neutrality.” One of the group’s objectives is to make solar technologies readily available to the student body, and the NC State Solar Pavilion is an excellent example of how this group put their principles into action.
The Solar Pavilion project, from which Students for Solar was founded, was the 2010 winner of the Student Government Sustainability Commission‘s Think Outside of the Brick competition. Within two years, a pavilion structure in the courtyard between Welch, Gold, and Syme halls was fitted with a solar array of three panels that now provide renewable energy to two outlets in the pavilion. August 21, 2012 was the Grand Opening of the NC State Solar Pavilion.
Recently, the group received a grant to conduct a site assessment on campus to determine which campus buildings and parking garages are suitable for solar array installation. “We worked with the Sustainability Office on campus to complete the site assessment and write a proposal,” stated group member Melissa Keeney, a junior in Environmental Technology and Management. “We have also been asked to do a site assessment for another school, which we are very excited about!”
If ingenuity and hard work are indicators of success, then Students for Solar’s fund drive to bring solar lights to students in Haiti will be a shining achievement. But they can’t do it alone. To donate, go to OneMillionLights.com, click on donate, and select “Students for Solar Project in Haiti” to give what you can.