While many students spent spring break baking in the sun by the pool, another group of students soaked up rays while installing solar panels.
Thirty-two Cal Poly Pomona students participated in GRID Alternatives’ Solar Spring Break, installing solar panels on three houses in Desert Hot Springs.
This is the third year that Cal Poly Pomona has sent a team of students for Solar Spring Break, and this year was the first that Professor Gerald Herder was able to offer a service-learning course, which helped prepare 20 of the 32 participants and gave them the opportunity to earn credit as part of this laboratory.
“The best engineering efforts aim to improve life and living through the application of technology, whether it be the design of roads, bridges, cars, airplanes or electrical systems,” Herder says. “I hope that in some way they gain something by giving back to the community through the GRID project.”
Elissa Bohanan, president of the Southern California Engineering Technologists Association says that the experience was a great fit for her because after graduation, she would like to focus on working with solar power.
“Not only am I grateful for the friendships that I have created and the knowledge that I obtained from the electricians showing us how to set up the panels and the wiring,” she says. “But the moment we brought the family out to the electrical box to turn on their solar power for the first time, was absolutely priceless.
“It was a two day install and was honestly one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had the privilege to partake in. It definitely helped enhance things I have learned from classes, as well as furthering my interest in solar, all while helping out less fortunate families.”