Spending spring break on sustainability

Visiting college students help residents conserve energy

Drew Carrick and Rachael Bronk, both 19, try to locate an air leak under the door at the Manna Soup Kitchen. College students from the Front Range have been in Durango this month working on energy-conservation projects. Enlarge photo

JERRY McBRIDE/Herald

Drew Carrick and Rachael Bronk, both 19, try to locate an air leak under the door at the Manna Soup Kitchen. College students from the Front Range have been in Durango this month working on energy-conservation projects.

While many of their counterparts lounged on beaches or slid down ski slopes, college students from the Front Range have been in Durango this week spreading the word about energy efficiency and conservation.

If we get enough people passionate about energy conservation and efficiency, we can make changes, Rachael Bronk, co-director of the Energy Service Corps, said.

The visiting students have done energy assessments at 30 homes and talked about conservation to 600 students at Durango High School, two middle schools and all elementary schools but one, Bronk said.

The trip was coordinated by the Energy Service Corps, a campus-based student organization created through a partnership between AmeriCorps and CoPIRG, both public-service organizations.

At a news conference at Manna Soup Kitchen where they have been cooking breakfast for patrons since they arrived, they heard laudatory remarks from Durango Mayor Michael Rendon and Libby Culver, community participation coordinator at Durango School District 9-R.

Rendon said he, as an AmeriCorps alumnus, is well aware of the work that the students are doing.

He spent 1996 building trails in Maine, building homes in Florida, doing stream restoration in South Carolina and cleaning sewers in Louisiana through the National Civilian Community Corps, an AmeriCorps program, Rendon said.

Culver said school officials and students have told her they learned a lot because the visiting collegians spoke at their level.

The college students, who are on spring break, came in two waves. Students from the University of Northern Colorado were in Durango on March 13-19.

The 28 who arrived March 19 and are scheduled to leave Saturday are from University of Colorado campuses in Denver, Boulder and Colorado Springs; Metro State College of Denver; and Front Range Community College.

daler@durangoherald.com

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