As the Spring 2017 semester ends so does year one of the Energize Colleges program. The Energize Colleges at Skyline College provides students with real-world work experience while contributing to meaningful campus and community projects tied to sustainability and energy savings. Energize Colleges develops students’ knowledge, skills, and experience to effectively evaluate energy career options and transition into the green workforce. Energize Colleges has provided 10 student internship positions that have each benefited Skyline College and the surrounding community while giving practical experience to students.
The Energize Colleges team is led by Skyline College Student and Project Coordinator Angelique Fuentes, Faculty Supervisors Dr. Carla Grandy and Dr. Carina Anttila-Suarez, SMT Division Dean, Ray Hernandez, and District Sustainability and Facilities Team Joe Fullerton, Hilary Ego, Julie Barstow, and Denise Lin. We are pleased to share the work that our Energize Colleges interns have accomplished this year:
- Matt Floyd, Fog Catcher Data Analyst, is working with Earth Science Professor Dr. Carla Grandy and Alicia Torregrosa from the USGS on surveying fog patterns on campus, acquiring and placing a weather station and fog catcher and researching best practices for fog water capture and reuse. The goal of this project is to quantify fog water capture on campus, identify opportunities to repurpose the water, and share information with a larger network of researchers in the San Mateo County area.
- Eric Johnson, Water Ambassador, established sampling protocols to measure the pH levels of the water in the hydration stations on campus. Eric is creating signage to inform students about the health and environmental benefits of tap water versus bottled water, and monitoring hydration station water use.
- Joseph Armas, Sustainability Engagement Associate, is working with Skyline View to create a video about Earth Appreciation Day on campus. Joseph also created a Reuse Station, located in the Learning Center, to promote the ethics of reuse and waste diversion and to provide a space for students to both donate as well as receive used school supplies.
- Kelly Wong, Resource Conservation Associate, is exploring the power of emotionally intelligent signage to inform students of resource waste on campus and studying the resulting change in behavior. Kelly also conducted an energy audit on computers located in the library and the Learning Center, which will inform a plan to reduce energy consumption. Kelly presented her findings at the Bay Area Green Careers Conference at the David Brower Center, Berkeley.
- Sophie Borrison, Resource Conservation Associate, conducted a lighting audit to inform the SMCCCD Facilities Team about defective and non-energy efficient lighting. Additionally, Sophie is planning a water audit to inform potential water savings on campuses.
- Zoe Robinson, Sustainability Engagement Associate, created orientation materials to share across the SMCCCD campuses for engaging students with information about sustainability-related classes, club and volunteer opportunities at each of the campuses. Zoe also created the SMCCCD sustainability Facebook and Instagram page to highlight sustainability projects.
- Isabella Colombo, Sustainability Engagement Associate, and Michelle Brown, Resource Conservation Associate, created a Sustainability Literacy Survey for students that was used to inform signage encouraging sustainable behavior.
- Olivia Yancey, Service Learning and Community Education Associate, is working towards conducting research on the structure of existing learning centers at different campuses to inform the creation of our service learning center here at Skyline College. Olivia will also create connections between partnerships around the community that involve service learning opportunities that work around energy savings, clean energy, environmental policy, sustainable building infrastructures, protection of natural resources and social justice.
The first year for Energize Colleges at Skyline College was a great opportunity to assess the energy savings needs and opportunities on campus, and to make connections with faculty, staff and community organizations that are involved in increasing sustainability. For the students, it was a great opportunity to gain exposure to jobs in the green workforce as well as work on professional development through resume writing, interviewing, public speaking and project management. We are hoping that we can extend the Energize Colleges program for the next two years and continue to bring unique, fulfilling internships for the students and deliver the value of sustainability to Skyline College as a whole.
Article by Angelique Fuentes and Dr. Carla Grandy