“They actually wanted to do a whole roof of solar panels for their school, but that’s too big of an undertaking”, Mr. Escobar Torio said. “While the cost has gone down tremendously, [solar panels] are still fairly expensive”. Mr. Escobar Torio, as a mentor, recommended the mentees to “scale down their project”.
Besides learning more about sustainability and the environment, mentees also acquire other skills that may be useful in the long run.
“What I like about this project is that it’s not just the environmental aspect, you’re also teaching them mathematical skills”, Mr. Escobar Torio remarked. “At the same time, they’re also learning language arts skills in the way they communicate their project”.
Currently, Mr. Escobar Torio and his mentees have applied and received funding for their project through the A+ for Energy grant. With funding, they’re now looking beyond solar panels to attain a more sustainable school for the mentees.
“They want to actually build a greenhouse for their school”, Mr. Escobar Torio said. “It’s basically
expanded from a solar panel project to a greenhouse, composting, [and] solar panel project”.
With this newly-modified project, Mr. Escobar Torio noted that the mentees “wanted something more practical”. He added that the greenhouse idea came about when the mentees realized that they “can generate energy [and] at the same time, involve other students”
Regarding any challenges Mr. Escobar Torio and his mentees encountered, he honed in on the idealism of the mentees.
“I think I had to put my foot down, as a mentor, and say [their] project is a little too big”, Mr. Escobar Torio said. “You just have to think more realistically to the point that you want this to go forward”.
Mr. Escobar Torio added that “there’s a wide range of activities that [the mentees] want to get involved in that they . . . get sidetracked and lose focus”. He emphasized that his “job as a mentor is to bring them back into focus”.
The general support far outweighed any possible obstacle. Mr. Escobar Torio remarked that “the school is very supportive when it comes to student projects”.