Why I Became A Solar Ambassador for RE-volv

By Colin Joern

In this post I would like to talk about something very important to me. It acts as the founding principle for the solar nonprofit RE-volv that I am doing my Solar Ambassador fellowship with, it helps me find new friends and it ensures that I always have someone to lean on at my school University of Dayton (UD) : community.

My university loves to emphasize the importance of community. UD is famous for its south student neighborhood. It is an area just south of campus where the vast majority of students live at some point in their time at UD. It’s not the houses, or the location that makes this neighborhood truly special. It’s the people. It’s the connection every UD student holds with every other UD student, regardless of if they even attended the school at the same time. Whether it’s holding the door open for someone as they walk to class, enjoying a family style meal with your neighbors or sharing a drink on your porch, the feeling of community is omnipresent. We look out for and care for one another. I would trust anyone (student, professor, maintenance worker or otherwise) at UD to help me out in a difficult situation.

This feeling extends well beyond the borders of the campus into the city of Dayton. I see it when I work with those supporting Mission of Mary Cooperative, an urban agriculture nonprofit which provides fresh and healthy vegetables to low income residents, and I see it when I am doing research on the Great Miami River with the River Stewards to ensure all in the Miami Valley are safe and healthy around our waters.

In our community we hold each other up. We work together in order to make each other the best versions of ourselves. This is exactly why I found RE-volv and its community based solar projects to be such a great model and such a powerful force of good in our world. By bringing solar to community serving nonprofits, RE-volv supports the nonprofit as well as all the individuals in that nonprofit’s community.

My role as a Solar Ambassador is to educate our UD community as well as the greater community. We hold events on campus, hand out tea with simple facts about solar and its benefits, and do site visits of local solar arrays around town. Those of us in the Solar Ambassador program at UD work to find a nonprofit who could benefit from going solar and educate them and others in the community about the benefits. Our events allow for genuine and down to Earth conversations with members of the community.

Providing solar to a local nonprofit allows them to reach their full potential, to focus their dollars on helping those truly in need instead of worrying about how to afford the next electricity bill. By supporting these nonprofits, you are then in turn able to support the members of their community.

The support provided from your one time donation doesn’t end once the nonprofit gets solar on their roof. The nonprofit pays their monthly lease payment for the solar array (which is less than what they were originally paying for their monthly energy bill). Each one of those payments goes into the revolving fund that is used to help other nonprofits around the country go solar. The revolving fund allows more and more nonprofits to better support their community members. It is very easy to see how RE-volv has the potential to create a snowball effect of love and support for communities.

The Solar Ambassador program is special. Movements based off love for your community and all its individuals are always the most impactful. It is easy to say “I’m going to worry about me, you worry about you.” But why would you? Why give up the opportunity to love and to be loved, to support and be supported. RE-volv allows all to participate in spreading that love.

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