What's a WeBuild? These Orange County students got the answer firsthand while installing with us

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July 11, 2018

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Women in dark blue shirts hold up a sign that says WEBUILD
Young women deepened their engagement with frontline communities by installing for a local family!

WeBuilds are all-women installation days that foster a variety of benefits: exposing more women to solar photovoltaic technology, encouraging a sense of teamwork among those women, and creating safe spaces for learning and teaching new skills in a supportive environment. GRID Alternatives Greater Los Angeles welcomed the women of Lambda Sigma Gamma at the University of California, Irvine to a recent residential install at the home of Mirsa Maldonado de Benavente. Lambda Sigma Gamma is a multicultural sorority, whose involvement with GRID is rooted in its commitment to underserved communities. (They're also involved in the Head Start Program with chapters across California and Arizona.)

True to the spirit of GRID’s growing WeBuild programming in the Los Angeles area, we took in a diverse group of women representing different academic fields who sought to make a bigger impact in their community. On our homeowner's roof this spring, they demonstrated how the power of the sun can bring real-world benefits to real-world economic problems. Leading the install was an experienced GRID Team Leader, Diane Louie, who previously has volunteered over 1,100 hours of her time with America's largest nonprofit solar installer.

The Lambda Sigma Gamma women took away a new sense of how a community-based approach to expanding energy access such as Energy for All  can inspire everyone involved. "Volunteering with GRID Alternatives was an amazing learning experience," said Gabriela Arreola, Lambda Sigma Gamma President. "This opportunity made me feel empowered, brave, and fortunate. Most importantly, I was content to know that our work was going to benefit a wonderful family. Volunteering with GRID Alternatives was by far the best opportunity I’ve had this year and I would love to get in the gear and do it all over again."

By the end of the WeBuild, a working mother was able to thank these women for significant bill savings that she'll enjoy over many future months. The women of Lambda Sigma Gamma were empowered to not only support local communities like this one, but also to understand how their academic fields intersect with contemporary issues in environmental inequality and how solar can be a transformative tool for those facing economic and environmental hardship. This experience fully demonstrated how renewables can drive environmental benefits and economic relief for those communities that need it most.

Learn more about our programs for women in solar. Special thanks to SolarCorps Outreach Fellow Daisy Cruz, a UCI alum, for her leading role in making our spring build possible!