Energizing Our World Camp educates on sustainable energy

Katherine Arnold

From June 17-20, the GVSU Regional Math and Science Center (RMSC) will be hosting the third annual Energizing Our World camp for middle school students to learn more about renewable and sustainable energy practices.

Austin Phillips and Chelsea Ridge of the Science Center are organizing the camp, and have many informational and fun events planned over the three day period. The attending students will be able to learn about and create prototypes designed to represent a community becoming self-sustaining with limited resources.

Thanks to the camps partnership with the chemistry, geology and physics departments, as well as the Design Thinking Academy, students will be able to look at different scenarios and approaches to energy in order to develop their problem solving skills. Students will also visit the Sustainable Agriculture Project on campus for the chance to learn more about energy usage and our impact.

Over seven content sessions, they will examine a variety of energy types and models in order to gather the information needed to perfect their prototypes. Wind power, for example, will be a session where the kids can experiment with different variables in order to create the most efficient prototype.

A majority of the learning sessions will be held in science labs on campus, giving students hands-on experience every step of the way. In addition, campers will take an off-site field trip to the Holland Energy Park where they will visit the education center and discover in person how a real-life community provides power to its residents.

“GVSU holds a unique spot in being able to hold high quality experiences for the community,” Ridge said. “It is important for us to continue to reach out to the community, especially the local youth, to expand their horizons. GVSU has various opportunities that we can provide for students that they would not be able to experience in their own local schools.”

Fostering a sense of community, as students collectively learn about important topics like renewable energy, is a key part of the GVSU Laker Effect initiative.

None of this would be possible without contributions from Consumers Energy and the Michigan Space Grant Consortium. The RMSC partners with faculty in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Brooks College of Interdisciplinary studies to make this camp possible and free for the students who will be attending.

On the last day of the camp, the students’ work will be displayed for the community to come and celebrate. Students will be able to share all that they have learned about renewable energy, learn about careers in this field and experience presenting their own projects. The students’ prototypes will be displayed Thursday June 20 from 1-3:30 p.m. in the Henry Hall Atrium.