Climate Club Advocates for Energy Conservation

In an effort to promote energy conservation and to raise awareness, Sunrise Trischools — a climate action club coordinated between Gilman, Bryn Mawr, and RPCS with 25 student members — encouraged faculty to choose one class period in which they intentionally stop or limit the use of electricity over the week of May 16. This could involve turning off lights, screens, and projectors, or possibly holding a class outside. The club also asked teachers to spend some time discussing the purpose behind these brownouts — a small but foundational step to facilitating a larger cultural shift in the way consume energy at Gilman.

Below are some Q&As with Andrew Kang ’23, the hub facilitator and founder of the Sunrise Trischools.

Can you tell us more about the Sunrise Climate Club?

Throughout the year, we have focused on climate and political education — learning about climate initiatives at both the state and national level, as well as taking action ourselves through phone-banking for progressive candidates and energy conservation awareness projects such as this week’s brownouts. Within the Gilman part of the hub, I’ve been working together with Jason Sutton ’23, Haroon Malik ’23, and Nick Lutzky ’24 in organizing these Gilman-specific brownouts.

How did the idea for the brownout come about?

The idea of brownouts is actually a recall to tradition — from the 2000s to the mid-2010s, as some members of the community know, Gilman held brownouts, which, due to a variety of factors, had been discontinued. Considering the current climate crisis, we thought it would be pertinent to revive this tradition at Gilman. With the help and support of our faculty sponsor, Mr. Fitzgibbon, we came up with a plan to engage the Upper School in these final weeks of school.

What do you hope comes of the discussions that teachers have with their classes about the purpose behind the brownout?

We understand that the amount of energy saved during the brownouts is small in the face of our total energy expenditure, but we hope meaningful conversations about energy conservation can result from these brownouts, as well as discussions about ways in which we can conserve energy in our everyday life. We also hope to raise awareness about Gilman’s reliance on fossil fuels and bring discussion about Gilman’s energy use into our collective discourse.

We look forward to continuing these brownouts next year and extending them across the tri-schools, as well as overseeing more comprehensive lesson plans within classes, such as is done during the Week of Dialogue. We’ll also be supporting Green New Deal candidates in the upcoming midterms, and we hope to facilitate more change by partnering up and organizing with other Sunrise Movement hubs with Maryland.

On behalf of the planet and future generations, we thank these young climate activists!