EDF Climate Corps Trains The Next Generation Of Leaders At Tribal Colleges And Universities

EDF Staff | April 6, 2012

By: Chaprece Henry, EDF Energy Efficiency Research Associate, and David Fox, EDF Energy Efficiency Coordinator

Last week, students from Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) attended the 31st Annual Student Conference featuring EDF's Climate Corps team, hosted by the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) and NASA Innovations in Climate Education (NICE). The conference, held in Rapid City, South Dakota, attracted students from schools across the Great Plains and Midwest, including the College of Menominee Nation in Wisconsin, Salish Kootenai College in Montana and Haskell Indian Nations University in Kansas.

Chaprece Henry and David Fox represented EDF Climate Corps at the conference by holding an energy efficiency training session focusing on no cost and low cost energy efficiency solutions for college campuses. About 20 students and five faculty members attended the session representing a range of academic sectors, including environmental science, renewable energy and engineering. Participants learned the ins and outs of energy efficiency from thermostat setbacks to lighting and heating upgrades to quantitative energy analyses. Everyone took home a certificate of completion, packet of energy assessment training materials and a flash drive containing financial analysis tools.

What’s most exciting is the impact these students and faculty members will have their newly gained learnings and tools. Students will return to their respective TCUs to perform energy assessments and make the business case for energy efficiency, while faculty members plan to integrate energy efficiency into curriculums.

Reflecting on the training, Andi Geyer, Educational Program Manager at NICE, said, “I think this session had a really big impact on the American Indian students that participated. They are already attuned to the environment and the changes that are happening around them and are actively looking for ways to help.” 

The training by EDF Climate Corps will have huge impacts for TCUs, as many of them are underfunded. Future energy efficiency projects spearheaded by students and faculty will not only generate energy savings to free up resources needed elsewhere, but also reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions.

EDF Climate Corps (edfclimatecorps.org) places specially trained MBA and MPA students in companies, cities and universities to build the business case for energy efficiency. EDF Climate Corps fellows analyze energy-saving opportunities and develop custom energy efficiency investment plans that cut costs and carbon emissions. If you would like to host an EDF Climate Corps fellow at your school, please contact Chaprece Henry at chenry@edf.org or visit edfclimatecorps.org for more information.