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Jan. 13, 2021

Alumni voice: Saving energy during the COVID crisis

Casey Paskus
Casey Paskus is an MSU alumna who graduated from James Madison College in December of 2017. Paskus majored in international relations with minors in Arabic and Muslim Studies. She is now serving as the Climate Resilience and Development AmeriCorps VISTA with the MSU Student Housing Cooperative, working with members on building a more sustainable cooperative.  

With folks working and studying from home, saving energy has become a bit more challenging this year. I should know — I live in a house full of students taking online classes and young professionals attending meetings over Zoom. As an AmeriCorps VISTA serving with the MSU Student Housing Cooperative as a climate resilience and development coordinator, part of my role is to educate members on sustainable living during COVID — that means saving energy, even as folks are spending more time at home.  

The MSU Student Housing Cooperative is a member-owned and -operated housing cooperative dedicated to providing affordable off-campus housing options to students and the Greater Lansing community. The MSU SHC owns 17 houses across Greater Lansing and houses many current MSU students. 

In order to combat this increase in energy usage, the MSU SHC has teamed up with the MSU Office of Sustainability to host our first joint event, the Energy for our Future Panel, which will be held over Zoom from 5 to 7 p.m., January 20. We are inviting community-members from Greater Lansing to learn about special programs that area utilities offer for saving energy and being green, as well as tips and tricks from local green energy nonprofits.

This panel grew from a desire to educate residents of the 17 cooperative houses about reducing their energy use over the cold Michigan winter, during a year in which most folks are stuck at home 24/7. We decided to expand the audience to the greater Lansing community to reach as many people as possible and share useful information with students, families, residents and members of the MSU SHC. 
 
The panel will be split into two sessions. The first session will feature representatives from local utilities companies who will share resources and tools they offer for homeowners to save energy and money. The following session will highlight examples of groups across the state, including Michigan Energy Options and Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association, who are reducing their energy usage through special programs and partnerships with local utilities. Over the course of this panel, registrants will learn tools and tips that they can apply to their own homes or organizations in order to conserve energy and save some money! You can register here to claim your spot. 
 
We are excited to coordinate with local energy experts to share expertise with the Greater Lansing community. COVID has affected us all in different ways — we hope that this panel will provide the community with the tools needed to lower energy consumption and help people save money.