UCA’s Environmental Alliance will travel to Denver, Colo. during spring break to learn how to install solar panels on low-income families’ homes.
UCA Environmental Alliance President junior Kyndal Saverse said, “Not only will these installations reduce the economic burden of high electricity bills, but it will also significantly decrease greenhouse gas emissions, curbing the impacts of global climate change.”
Grid Alternatives, a nonprofit environmental organization, provided the opportunity for UCA’s Environmental Alliance through a Solar Spring Break program.
The group met members of Grid Alternatives during the Powershift 2013 conference in Pittsburgh last year.
Saverse is an environmental science major at UCA.
“I’ve always grown up very environmentally conscious,” she said. “After going through an application process full of interviews and questions, I got accepted into a program with Greenpeace in Washington, D.C.”
Greenpeace is the world’s largest independent direct-action environmental organization, according to its website.
“Greenpeace left me with a fire that still has not gone out and I’m determined to put it towards good use,” Saverse said. “I found what was left of the Environmental Alliance and dove in.”
Saverse has been UCA’s Environmental Alliance president since last November.
“The group has made me see the importance of uniting people to solve any kind of social or environmental problem,” she said. “Technology has been our best friend, yes, but we cannot forget that our connections to one another are what stimulate any kind of movement. We’ve gotten more done than I ever could have imagined and I have much faith in the people to keep us going.”
Senior Samuel Pettit is one of ten members going to Colorado.
“There we will take classes on how to install, maintain and run solar panels,” he said. “We hope to bring back this information to Conway to help start implanting these clean energy changes here. I really believe in being the change I wish to see. A cleaner and greener future is that change. Every bit helps.”
UCA’s Environmental Alliance is trying to raise $5,000 for the trip and supplies it will need.
The group is involved in a lot of fundraising, and is asking the UCA Student Government Association for its sponsorship as well.
The organization has made a website, rally.org/ucaea, for supporters to contribute.
Environmental Alliance Secretary junior Will Thomason attended a conference in Pittsburgh last fall.
“It solidified my ideals that we have to keep our planet clean,” he said. “I was elected secretary in November and I’ve been very active ever since. I love the group. I have found a second family. We would love to talk to anyone about becoming a member and answering any questions they might have.”
The UCA Environmental Alliance focuses on keeping the community clean, including the nature trail on campus and rivers and streams.
The organization petitions on campus for healthier food options, greener energy sources and other environmentally friendly things.
Thomason said the big thing the organization is focusing on now is getting UCA to invest in more green energy.
“We are gathering petitions and putting together proposed plans of action the university can implement over 10 years,” he said.
Pettit said he is working on making vegetable gardens in the backyards of members’ houses.
The group is planting trees with a wetland conservationist in north Conway on Feb. 19.
“All hands, any majors are welcome,” Saverse said.
Saverse said there’s more depth to the environmental movement.
“This is the first step towards a more harmonious global future,” she said. “You don’t have to be a scientist or activist to care about these issues. Climate change affects us all, across every single border. We only have one planet; there is no second shot. I wholly believe in the power of the people to overcome this corrupt matrix we live in.”