Local School Goes Green

Students at Okemos High School are in the dark.

"I was walking in this morning, and everyone was like, 'Why are the lights off?'" says Senior Matt Hubbard.

The lights are off, because it's the school's first ever Conservation Day.

"Basically it's a movement to promote green volunteerism, to conserve energy, also to save money," says Hemi Gandhi, founder of the Okemos High School Alternative Energy and Sustainability Initiative, which organized Conservation Day.

"It's also to raise awareness of how much we use and depend on electricity," says Dave Chapman, the organization's adviser.

The Okemos High School Alternative Energy and Sustainability Initiative wants to show how easy it is to go green.

"We're trying to change behavior, just simple behaviors like carpooling, or turning off lights, or turning off TVs when you're not in the room," explains Hubbard, one of the organization's team leaders.

And what a big impact it can make.

By incorporating those simple changes into the everyday routine, the team thinks the school can cut down the amount of energy it uses by 10%.

"Every year, Okemos High School spends approximately $300,000 a year on electricity use," Gandhi explains. "So if you cut that by 10%, that's saving $30,000 a year."

"A lot of little actions can add up to a significant savings over time," echoes Chapman.

In between hitting the books, Conservation Day is the talk of the town.

"What they're doing today is really cool," says Senior Sasha Okabue. "I think it's going to start a chain reaction and other schools are going to pick up on it and make more conscious efforts to help the environment."

It seems like students see the light.


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