Press about Students for Solar Schools:

Vegetarian Times May/June Issue
Carrot of the Month Download PDF or read online

Planet Green

Tree Hugger Blog (Text Below)

Seventeen-year-old Climate Champion Adam Raudonis is the head of Students for Solar Schools, a grassroots organization that aims to outfit high schools with solar panels. The pupil-led group is currently focusing on its first four schools—three in California, one in New York—but has plans to unite with like-minded students around the country. Adam and other young scholars involved in his organization are hard at work, raising funds, collaborating with school leaders, creating petitions and talking to contractors in an effort to create solar-powered, sustainable schools. Treehugger had the privilege of speaking with Adam.

What is a Climate Champion?
The British Council—“the UK’s international organization for educational and cultural relations”—joined forces with the California Air Resources Board to select, via a competition, 15 California students to be climate champions. The British Council also has an International Climate Champions program. Students are selected all across the globe to speak with world leaders about climate change. The US members of the international team are usually drawn from the pool of California Climate Champs.

California Climate Champions
The California Champions are often tapped to work on local, national and international issues. They meet with state and international leaders to discuss environmental matters. In addition to these tasks, each champ has pledged to raise awareness of climate change through a project of their own devising.

Students for Solar Schools
The cause that Adam champions is the Students for Solar Schools. His immediate aim is to reduce the carbon footprint of schools by outfitting them with solar panels. But his goals stretch far beyond just that.

Adam Raudonis:

The concept is old, but the ambition is new. Students for Solar Schools represents more than photovoltaic panels on a school gymnasium. Dozens of grants and programs scattered across the nation are already aiding lucky schools become more sustainable. However, such programs have not come close to the ubiquitous status needed to make a significant impact on the environment (and district budgets). Students for Solar Schools sets out to do this with the philosophy that the students themselves are responsible for the change they seek. This ideal times perfectly with a new wave of civil activism sparked by our president that pleads “if wait for somebody else to do something, to make our communities better, it [will] never get done.”

A Few Words With Climate Champion, Adam Raudonis

When did you first become concerned/interested in climate change?

I first became interested in climate change in middle school when I was old enough to understand the implications of global warming and the benefits of being sustainable. Since then, I’ve tried to involve myself as much as I could with environmental causes, culminating with my founding of Students for Solar Schools.

How did you get involved with the Climate Champion Program?

I got involved with the Climate Champions program after submitting a 3 minute video about the effects of Global Warming and tips about being more eco-friendly. I tried to convey how negatively climate change would impact California and contrast that with the environmental and economic benefits of living a greener lifestyle.

What is the best thing about being a Climate Champion?

The best thing about the Climate Champions is having a support network of 15 peers that care about the environment just as much as I do. Also my favorite part of being a Climate Champion is having the opportunity to speak to large crowds, ranging from Students in Mojave to delegates at the Governor’s Global Climate Summit. Ultimately the Climate Champions program allows you to make a greater impact on the environment and be the voice for California’s youth.

You founded a program called Students for Solar Schools. How can other high school students initiate similar programs?

We’d absolutely love to have as many high schools join the movement as possible! Email to sign up and Students for Solar Schools will give you as much personal help and connections as we can to make your school’s project a success. Similar efforts for solar panels on schools are scattered across the country, but we are trying to unite these projects into a single network and movement. Already we have 4 schools that are at various stages of fundraising and gaining approval for installation.

Energy Matters Australia (Text Below)

“Australian students concerned about energy related carbon dioxide emissions might want to pay a visit to the web site of Students For Solar Schools for a bit of inspiration.

Based in the USA, Students For Solar Schools (SSS) is, as the name suggests, a student-run campaign to engage schools in the uptake of renewable energy. SSS aims to see solar panels installed on school campuses for environmental, economic, and educational benefits.

The group sees solar panels not so much as the end goal of their efforts, but as a symbol for environmental conservation, the beginning of a greater focus on  efficiency improvements at schools and to generate publicity regarding the importance of school sustainability.

Students For Solar Schools offers tools such as a petition template and some basic information for “making the pitch” to school administrators about the importance and benefits of solar power. SSS currently has 4 schools listed where students are petitioning their fellow classmates, administration, and district leadership for the installation of solar energy systems…”

Sustainable Oregon Schools Initiative

Ventura County Star: View Full

“Adam Raudonis, a senior at Westlake High School and founder of Students for Solar Schools, told the Thousand Oaks students about the solar panel project he started on his campus that has led schools throughout the world to do the same.

“As students, we can make a dramatic difference. We can be an example for further action on climate change, and the time to do it is now,” said Raudonis.”

Ventura County Star: View Full

For students Adam Raudonis and Michelle Carney, sustainability meant bringing solar energy to Westlake High School. The two recently spoke to the Conejo Valley Unified School District board about their group, Students for Solar Schools, and their dream to bring solar panels to Westlake High.

By raising money and garnering support from local businesses, Students for Solar Schools has secured 36 solar panels, which it estimates will save the school about $30,000 over 25 years.

“What really makes the project neat is that it created a movement,” said Raudonis, 17, who founded the club last school year. “What we are doing is translating our energy and passion into action and showing that even teenagers can help bring about change in a big way.”

Raudonis recruited Carney and others to help raise money for solar panels. From coin drives to speaking engagements at local community groups and fairs, Students for Solar Schools has raised $5,000 so far for the panels.

The initial plan was to put 16 panels on one school building, but the group recently learned it could get twice that many. The group received funding from the California Climate Champions Program and support from local businesses. SolarWorld in Camarillo will donate the panels, while Advanced Solar Electric in Newbury Park will install them for free.

Raudonis said the panels will help reduce Westlake High’s carbon dioxide emissions by 270,000 pounds over 25 years — equivalent to planting about two acres of trees.

Rick Freed, Conejo Unified’s energy educator and manager, said Raudonis’ and Carney’s efforts are a good example of a districtwide effort to not only save money through green technology, but also to change attitudes about sustainability.

WHS student hopes to bring solar panels to NPHS

By Shannon Alavi – Prowler Sports Editor

A student at Westlake High School, Adam Raudonis, has helped his school go green by raising $5,900 for solar panels through his club Students for Solar Schools. Raudonis wants to encourage other schools, including NPHS, to do the same.

The solar panels will be installed in February or March and will generate enough electricity to sustain five classrooms. Over their lifetime, the solar panels will provide $60,000 worth of electricity. “I wanted to do something that was beyond simply recycling or promoting reusable bags,” Raudonis said.

Eighteen-year-old Raudonis claims he founded Students for Solar Schools in Nov. 2008 because he “realized it was up to students to fight for sustainability” after he went to a conference on climate legislation. “We don’t need to wait for the government, business, or anyone else before taking real action.”

Raudonis, a senior, recently attended the United Nation’s Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen from Dec.7-13. The conference sought to create an agreement between developing and developed countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. “I was able to meet people from Brazil to Zambia and learn about what they were doing in their communities to combat climate change,” Raudonis said.

At first, Raudonis’s goal was not well received. “It was rare to meet a student who believed it was possible. Almost everyone told me it couldn’t be done,” he said. “There were a few people who didn’t even know what a solar panel was.” However, through petitions and a group of supporters, awareness grew on campus.

As expansion director, Sean Stroud is in charge of contacting new schools and helping them start a Students for Solar Schools club at their school. “I help them and give them suggestions on ideas of fundraising and what to do next,” Stroud said. Students from Puerto Rico, Canada and various US states have already established clubs at their schools.

Raudonis hopes that students at NPHS will be interested in raising money for solar panels too. “Students should get involved because solar panels are good for the environment, will help the school district financially, and present a unique educational opportunity,” he said.

“Running the campaign for solar panels on my school’s roof has been the most exciting and challenging experience of my high school,” Raudonis said. “I know it will be the same for others as well.”


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