Mankato Area Public Schools talks climate change with its students

Mankato West High School and its YES! Team receive grant to help reduce electricity usage
The Youth Eco Solutions Team at Mankato West High School received grant funding to help reduce electricity usage.
Updated: Jan. 27, 2020 at 6:49 AM CST
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - Mankato West High School and its Youth Eco Solutions Team recently received grant funding to help reduce electricity usage in the school.

The $5,000 grant comes from the Clean Energy Resource Teams.

This is one of 35 projects across the state to receive funding.

YES! Team member Evan Quilling said he feels like he is making a difference.

“I feel like I’m actually trying to make a change in our school, and I feel like I’m going to be able to hopefully create a domino effect," he said.

The project will help switch out the 28 watt fluorescent light bulbs that currently light up their hallways with 1,333 LED bulbs that will cut electricity usage in half, according to Physics Teacher Eric Koser.

“So the YES! program is all about find ways in which kids can impact our environment and make positive changes in our energy and environmental footprint on the school. And one of the really obvious things around here is lighting," Koser said.

But the project has another element to it.

“An important part of the project is not just changing the bulbs but really helping students to understand why that change matters," Koser said.

For example, less energy usage leads to less fossil fuel use, which means less carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

To talk about the impact, members of the YES! Team, like Miranda Kubek, are talking to their fellow students.

“And I think by doing this, we can kind of show them that once again while people see high school students as maybe not having as much control over these issues, that we’re a group of young people who are making this seemingly kind of small change, but it’s going to have a very real impact," Kubek said.

According to MAPS Director of Facilities Scott Hogen, there are several other separate projects the district has taken part in over the years.

“It’s kind of a district goal to reduce our energy impact that we have on our community and on our environment,” Hogen said.

According to Hogen, Dakota Meadows Middle School recently replaced nearly 80 of their exterior lights with LED lights, saving them nearly $8,000 annually in utility costs.

This past summer, the district also updated lighting to LED lights at Hoover and Kennedy Elementary Schools.

Quilling said he would encourage his fellow students to start learning about energy efficiency and related issues.

“Sciences in general around our climate and our world to just start getting a grasp on what we’re doing," he said.

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