West Long Branch, N.J. (The Verge) – While many students boarded planes to tropical paradises complete with miles of beaches, massive nightclubs, and tons of shopping during spring break, some students chose an alternative spring break in order to help others learn to conserve energy. Members of NJPIRG’s Energy Service Corps traveled to Newark, Trenton, and Atlantic City to educate children from kindergarten to high school about energy efficiency during the 12th Annual Education week.
Energy Service Corps worked with AmeriCorps’ Education Week to increase the impact and deliver the important message about how precious energy is. The goal of the Education Week included simple steps that young people can take to help conserve their environment and become more energy efficient.
Marc Rogoff is the Environmental Education Specialist in the Office of Communications for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, and he explained the importance of conserving energy. “The two biggest threats to the environment are ignorance and apathy.” Energy Service Corps finds that in order to eliminate these threats, education is necessary. Their approach is to relate energy conservation directly to the students’ lives so they are more compelled to make changes and commit themselves to the environment.
Margarita Muniz, Newark Deputy Major of Neighborhood Engagement, and Rowena Madden, Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Volunteerism and the New Jersey Commission on National and Community Service, among many other special guests joined the Energy Service Corps volunteers and spoke to them about the importance of education and community engagement.
There are several chapters of Energy Service Corps and AmeriCorps across New Jersey, including student volunteers from Rutgers University, NJIT, Princeton University, Monmouth University, Brookdale Community College, and Stockton College. Spring break isn’t just for relaxing. There are a number of students who are committed to spreading the word about conserving the environment. After a week off of school, making a difference in conserving energy can be a lot more rewarding than boarding a gas-guzzling plane en route to some exotic location.
Jill Griepenburg is one Monmouth student who dedicated her break to Energy Service Corps for the first time. “One of the best things about Energy Service Corps’ Education Week is seeing college students help to instill the value of energy conservation within tomorrow’s leaders. Our program makes these concepts easy for young students to understand, and they are excited to share their knowledge with their parents.”
NJPIRG’s Energy Service Corps efforts don’t just stop when spring break ends. They will continue teaching young students across the state, and they will expand their goals by educating the community about energy efficiency through workshops and performing free home energy assessments and weatherizations.
Next year, before you plan your spring break, take the idea of an alternative spring break into consideration. It will certainly be more rewarding in the long run than mindless hours spent at the beach. Sometimes spreading a positive and important message will end up being much more memorable.
To learn more about joining the Energy Service Corps at Monmouth University, visit their Facebook page. Or, to read about the organization in general, visit their site.