On June 5, The Sustainability Workshop held an end-of-year celebration to recognize the accomplishments of their first ever graduating class. The school provided a project-based learning environment for 27 students from three Philadelphia public high schools. The students were dramatically impacted by their year at The Sustainability Workshop and their exposure to the work of the EEB Hub. Seven students plan to attend Penn State campuses in the Fall, and almost all others have been accepted to colleges as well. A number of students want to be environmental engineers, and others are excited to pursue educational and career opportunities in engineering, energy efficiency and the building sciences.
At the celebration, Dr. Hank Foley, the Executive Director of the EEB Hub challenged the students to continue to learn and pursue their passions to not just make a living, but to also make a difference in the world. Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams also spoke and commended the students for their great attendance rate and clear commitment to learning. The students led guests on a tour of the school and showcases of their work during the year.
Two specific projects that contributed to the mission of the EEB Hub were La Casa Verde and Bright Lights. La Casa Verde has proposed recycling shipping containers to build energy-efficient housing to solve the related Philadelphia problems of homelessness, abandoned lots, poverty and high utility costs. The students will build a workshop from shipping containers- with the support of the Philadelphia Business Trades- as a prototype to test insulation, lighting, solar energy and more. Bright Lights is developing a lighting assessment tool to use in private homes as they switch incandescent bulbs to CFLs or LEDs. They have designed a business plan, with help from the Wharton Small Business Development Center, to partner with light bulb manufacturers and alternative energy providers, to incentivize making the switch. The students piloted the assessment and bulb swap on the Martin Luther King Day of Service, changing bulbs for senior citizens and low-income community members. In addition, the students have built a composer, an electric bike generator, and a solar stove, among other projects.
We wish all the students the best of luck in their future endeavors!