Background: In 2012, Chugach Electric Association partnered with Renewable Energy Alaska Project (REAP) to start the first annual Power Pledge Challenge (PPC) for middle school students leading up to Energy Awareness Month in October. Since then, the utility partners have grown and in 2016 also included Municipal Light and Power (ML&P), Matanuska Electric Association (MEA) and Alaska Electric Light and Power of Juneau (AEL&P). Alaska Energy Authority (AEA) and Alaska Housing Finance Corporation (AHFC) also assist with the challenge. In 2017, Enstar and Homer Electric Association (HEA) have joined the team to add more partners!
How it works: PPC partners go to middle school physical science classrooms (7th or 8th grade depending on the district) and present about energy efficiency and conservation, including a hands-on activity to calculate electricity use. The students then go online and pledge to do 3 things to reduce their energy use – such as turning lights off when they leave a room or having less “screen time” each day – to enter to win a regional prize for their class. If more than 75% of a class completes the online pledge, then their class is entered to win the state prize. In 2016, each region (Mat-Su/Eagle River, Anchorage, and Juneau) sponsored a pizza party and power plant tour. The state prize was an ice cream party with First Lady Donna Walker and the teacher won $800 towards energy curriculum and supplies. You can read about it in the Frontiersman article here.
Sign up: For the 2017-2018 school year, the Power Pledge Challenge will be held from the end of September through the end of October. Email Colleen if you are interested in participating in Fall 2017. In May, “save the date” invites will be sent to middle school teachers in Mat-Su, Eagle River, Anchorage, Juneau and the Kenai Peninsula. Check back to this website for more information closer to the time.
Statistics: The graph below shows the growth in the number of students and classrooms that participated in the Power Pledge Challenge over the past 4 years.
State: Mayme Troutman’s 4th period science @ Wasilla Middle School
Mat-Su/Eagle River (MEA area): David Knopp’s 2nd period science @ Teeland Middle School
Anchorage (CEA/ML&P area): Carol McKee’s 3rd period science @Northern Lights ABC
Juneau (ML&P area): Chris Heidemann’s 2nd period science @ Floyd Dryden Middle School
State: Ben Walker’s 3rd period science @ Romig Middle School
Mat-Su/Eagle River (MEA area): Robin Mullican 4th period science @ Palmer Junior Middle School
Anchorage (CEA/ML&P area): Lauren O’Connor’s 4th period science @ Hanshew Middle School
2014 had a different format where the cost of savings from pledges was calculated. Anchorage was also the only participating region. The top three teams won LED bulbs and the first place team was awarded a pizza party. The first, second and third place classroom teachers earned educational energy efficiency materials valued up to $1,000, $750 and $500, respectively, for their schools.
1st Place: Ben Walker, Romig Middle School
2nd Place: Carolyn Rudzinski, Romig Middle School
3rd Place: Katherine Schroeder, Mears Middle School