Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) students learned a lesson in green technology and social consciousness on Saturday, March 23. Students from Gerber Jr./Sr. High School and the Boys & Girls Club LINKS Academy participated in a green technology workshop at Cosumnes River College where they built solar cases that can generate life-saving energy in developing countries.
Approximately 40 local students built solar cases which will provide portable lighting to an orphanage in Uganda and a medical center in Haiti. The cases will be delivered by the organization Green Tech (Green Technical Education and Employment).
"This project has been an inspiring and phenomenal combination of science, engineering, technology, and humanitarianism," said David W. Gordon, Sacramento County Superintendent of Schools. "The students involved should know they are part of a great and compassionate effort that is improving lives."
The students involved in the program ranged in age from 15-25. They were high school or college students, foster youth, emancipated foster youth, or young adults re-entering society. During the workshop, they received hands-on training in green energy technology.
"It was great. It's actually a new skill that I've learned. I'm also contributing to a different country in need and so I'm doing some good, too," said Boys & Girls Club LINKS Academy student Jordan Collins.
"It feels good because you never know what's going to come back for you. It's like a blessing. It's like doing a good deed," said Gerber student Derrick Butler.
The lack of light and electricity is a reality in many parts of the world and the non-profit, for-public-benefit Green Tech organization has made this dilemma its mission.
"We provided a learning opportunity for youth and young adults to experience the development of a portable lighting system, energized by the use of solar technology," said Simeon Gant, Green Tech Executive Director.
The Solar Case Project has partnered with Cosumnes River College, Sacramento State University, the North State Building Industry Association, We Share Solar, SMUD, and the Sacramento County Office of Education.
"This partnership shows how we can positively impact our world by working together and supporting students' educational opportunities," said Cosumnes River College (CRC) President Dr. Deborah Travis. "I know our students at CRC are excited to participate in the solar case project and are looking forward to building these cases for Africa and Haiti."
Cosumnes River College is part of the Los Rios Community College District. Green Tech trains students, developing their emerging green technology skills. Their focus is on clean energy, environmental protection, and energy efficiency, providing career opportunities for youth from traditionally underserved communities.