Congrats to the Fall 2016 Inspire Impact Scholarship Winners

An interview with two deserving students

GIC winner banner

We’ve partnered with Green Impact Campaign to create the Inspire Impact Scholarship that rewards students who volunteer to audit businesses on energy consumption. It was our challenge to students to be effective in their local communities, and we’re thrilled to announce the winners of last semester’s campaign: Rachel Hennessey and Elizabeth Bezilla. Both Rachel and Elizabeth really took the mission to heart and exhibited the values we at Inspire seek to foster in the next generation of movers and shakers. But don’t just take our word for it -- let’s hear what they had to say about the experience.

Rachel Hennessey

winner rachel@2x

What made you want to be a considered for the Inspire Impact scholarship?

Rachel: I wanted to be considered for the Inspire Impact scholarship so I can continue working on my degree while also being able to help out small businesses by providing them with free energy assessments.

What did you find most challenging about the process? Most rewarding?

Rachel: The most challenging part of the process was transferring information to the store owners that were not familiar with some one the energy language. The most rewarding part of the process was learning new ways to conserve energy and being able to relay that information to help the business owners reduce their energy bill.

How did you go about selecting the businesses you audited?

Rachel: I found that most of the stores are small businesses and the owners are very happy to help out university students. While at home over break, I assessed retail stores because they would have more time to complete the assessment.

What tips would you give to future scholarship candidates?

Rachel: My tips for completing assessments is to not be scared to ask business owners. People are usually more willing to help than you think.

How did you hear about the scholarship?

Rachel: I knew about the scholarship through my classmate, Jennafer Hakun, a previous scholarship winner.

What are you studying?

Rachel: I am studying Energy Engineering at The Pennsylvania State University.

What is your dream job?

Rachel: My dream job would be to install renewable energy in areas of poverty around the world to increase their quality of life and ensure that industrial growth in countries is completed through environmentally friendly procedures.

What was the most interesting thing you learned from participating?

Rachel: The most interesting thing I learned from the energy assessments is the importance of unplugging electronics from the wall because they are still consuming electricity even though they are not performing a task.

Now that you're an expert, what advice would you give to a business owner who wants to be more environmentally friendly or energy efficient?

Rachel: My advice for a business owner would be that changing your actions and the actions of your employees is more valuable (and cheaper!) than installing and renovating. Changing your habits to unplug at the end of the day, put sleep settings on your computer's, turn off the lights when leaving a room, and make sure the thermostat is set properly. These are a few examples of things that don't cost any money, but will save you money.

Elizabeth Bezilla

winner elizabeth@2x

What made you want to be a considered for the Inspire Impact scholarship?

Elizabeth: I believe in stewardship and protection of the environment. Participating in the Inspire Impact Scholarship enabled me to reach out to small businesses and show them that they can save money while also minimizing their impact on the environment.

What did you find most challenging about the process? Most rewarding?

Elizabeth: I am an introvert and found approaching businesses to be intimidating. But seeing enthusiasm from the business community was rewarding.

How did you go about selecting the businesses you audited?

Elizabeth: Many of them reached out to us, but there were several in the neighborhood I live in that I thought would be interested, and I was right.

What tips would you give to future scholarship candidates?

Elizabeth: It's great to hit a bunch of businesses that are close in proximity, that way it's easier to get them done at once. And if they are new to the process, you can tell them that their neighbor down the street did the audit as well.

How did you hear about the scholarship?

Elizabeth: Through the Green Impact Campaign.

What are you studying?

Elizabeth: I’m in the graduate program for both City and Regional Planning and Architecture.

What is your dream job?

Elizabeth: To work for the State Department on planning and design projects overseas.

What was the most interesting thing you learned from participating?

Elizabeth: Perseverance pays off!

Now that you're an expert, what advice would you give to a business owner who wants to be more environmentally friendly or energy efficient?

Elizabeth: Recycle, reduce use of paper, use energy efficient products, and make sure your building envelope is secure.

Congratulations again Rachel and Elizabeth! You’re actively helping us to achieve our goal of powering a brighter energy future. Thanks! We look forward to what else you’ll achieve in the future.

Want to make an impact and get a scholarship out of it? Find out how you can get started on the next campaign.

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