Catalyzing Change at Lane College

EDF Climate Corps fellow | August 29, 2012

Fellow: Meredith Rowland, 2012 EDF Climate Corps Fellow at Lane College, MPA candidate at Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs

Organization: Lane College

Opportunity: An energy efficient future for a 130-year-old academic institution.

Summary: Infrastructural barriers within an organization often prevent employees from pursuing innovative energy efficiency projects. As a Climate Corps fellow at Lane College, I acted as catalyst for change among campus stakeholders.

Amid the whirlwind of my first few days at Lane College, my supervisor and I came up with a simple idea – to replace the lights in the gym. This undertaking, however, showed me the amount of persistence it can take to complete even a simple project.

The gym lights were extremely energy inefficient, and too dim to light the entire room – problematic characteristics in a space that houses important and frequent events like religious services, graduation ceremonies and student orientations. After conducting an energy audit of the space with a representative from the local electric utility, my supervisor and I decided to move forward with the project in mid-June, just weeks after I started.

Over the next few weeks, I started to understand the amount of persistence needed to complete the project. I was lucky to come to Lane just as all the necessary parts fell into place.

Aleshia Cox, director of Safety and Environmental Health and my supervisor, should be credited with all of the leg work. She compiled information from previous years and pursued the energy grant needed to complete the project. Most efficiency projects are never implemented unless a very persistent and dedicated advocate sees them to fruition, and in this case she was that advocate.

Before the lighting retrofit was complete, Aleshia assigned me several similar projects recommended by previous energy audits. They became my responsibility, and I'm following Aleshia's example – I'm an energy efficiency advocate.

Luckily, that's my job with EDF Climate Corps. This fellowship has provided me with energy efficiency know-how and is funding my full-time dedication to these projects. Though I've only spent a few months here, the pace has been quick. We've completed one lighting retrofit and brought together a “Green Team” of new advocates. I'm also helping Lane apply for an energy grant in January 2013. My work has established the framework for funding and completing new energy efficiency projects, augmenting what Aleshia will be able to accomplish in the future.

EDF Climate Corps places specially trained MBA and MPA students in companies, cities and universities to develop practical, actionable energy efficiency plans. Sign up to receive emails about EDF Climate Corps, including regular blog posts by our fellows. You can also visit our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter to get regular updates about this project.