CHESHIRE – On Sept. 23, the world watched as 16-year-old environmental activist Greta Thunberg addressed world leaders at the United Nations.
Thunberg’s message of panic and anger about climate change inspired millions of young people all over the world.
“Greta Thunberg’s bravery at the UN has been a topic of discussion amongst all my friends,” said Dante Strollo. “She’s an example of how young people like myself really can change the world.”
The Cheshire Academy senior and co-president of the school’s sustainability club “Eco Leaders,” understands Thunberg’s frustration. Strollo and the school community plan to carry her message of conservation and sustainability into the new year . Cheshire Academy has hired USA LED to take on the task of turning each and every fluorescent light on the school’s campus into an LED one.
“The environment is something my friends and I care about deeply,” Strollo said. “This new lighting initiative is a small step to a much larger goal.”
The new lighting will save Cheshire Academy an estimated 386,162 kilowatt hours each year, equating to nearly $82,000 in annual savings. The project will result in over 2,000 bulbs being replaced.
The new lights will be much brighter and longer-lasting, which will also ease the number of work order requests for broken bulbs, according to Jennifer Dillon, Cheshire Academy’s sustainability coordinator.
“Most big businesses start initiatives with input from their shareholders,” said Dillon. “But here, our shareholders are our students and we have to invest in their future.”
The new LED lights are currently being installed on campus with the hope that the project will be completed by the start next year.
“We are constantly thinking of new things to do to promote awareness on campus,” said Strollo. “Eco Leaders has plans to do multiple trash-themed fashion shows, called a ‘Trashion Show,’ and a cardboard box drive.”
Eco Leaders, which has about 15 student members, has put on events ranging from an East Haven beach cleanup to hosting various food drives, all in an effort to raise awareness about climate change and create a more sustainable community on campus.
“For us, it’s all about moving our campus into the 21st century.” Dillon said. “Many of our students are scared about the future, and our initiatives are about moving students’ mindset from panic to empowerment.”