When Shivam Desai, a junior studying physics at Santa Clara University, first heard about GRID Alternatives from his professor, he was intrigued by its multifaceted strategy to address social justice and environmental justice issues at the same time. He was interested enough to reach out and find out about GRID’s collegiate Solar Break programs. He eventually got a team of passionate sustainability-focused students together and raised the funds to join the North Valley office in Chico for a week this month. “I thought it was a great cause so I got a group together.”
The group of 11 students toured Fafco Inc. in Chico to learn about solar heating, watched Van Jones' documentary Catching the Sun, and joined GRID on a large, 3-day installation in Oroville. They returned to Santa Clara having experienced a solar installation from start to finish, full of new knowledge and inspired to continue the work at home. Shivam even plans to start a GRID collegiate chapter at his school so they can increase their knowledge base. “Next quarter, I plan to start a GRID chapter at SCU to invite more students to learn more about solar energy.”
Having enthusiastic young adults like Shivam join us on the jobsite always invites new perspectives into the mix. Shivam was inspired by how GRID empowers people to get involved in their own energy systems while also helping the environment. He emphasized that “GRID addresses two problems at once." When asked about how he would like to see the society evolve in terms of energy generation and distribution, he focused on the need for long-term vision in infrastructure development. “I would love to see more buildings constructed with renewable energy in mind. GRID brings great awareness to the community. I’m really glad I got involved. This is definitely the best volunteer experience I’ve ever had.”
The North Valley office looks forward to hosting two more solar break groups in the spring of 2017. It was a pleasure to kick off our collegiate break season with such a thoughtful and hard-working group of students.