Spring is rapidly approaching and with it, to the relief of many, comes the return of some much needed sunshine. While we wait for spring to hit its stride, the Hillel House at Bradley University has already taken steps to prepare for some of that additional sunshine. Earlier this month, the Hillel on campus became the first building on Bradley University's campus to begin using solar panels as its primary source of energy.
Though Bradley's Hillel might be small in size, it stands at the forefront of the environmental movement. The Hillel became the first Hillel in the state of Illinois, and the third Hillel in the entire country, to implement solar panels. These panels aren't just for show either. The project consisted of 47 solar panels that were installed over a six-day span and will provide the Hillel house with 90 percent of its annual electricity. This calls attention to the growing importance of environmental issues on Bradley's campus and around the world.
"So often we forget that everything we use requires energy and we are draining the earth of fossil fuels," said Natalie Cabell, student president of Bradley Hillel. "Solar energy is the perfect solution to this issue and utilizes an energy source that will never go away-the sun! Not only are we saving money down the road but we are also saving the planet and that is something I am extremely excited about."
This project did not come together overnight. It took two years of intensive planning to find a financial model that worked best. The planning paid off though, as this installation will not cost Bradley's Hillel any money. The panels were financed by Yona Lunken, president of Bradley Hillel's corporate board. Lunken is passionate about the real difference these projects can make. "The world that we create is the world that the students of today will live in. And creating a world where environmentalism matters was a central motivation in making this solar project into a reality," Lunken said.
There will be an open house to celebrate the addition once the sun fully comes out. The event will be open to everyone, including Bradley students, and Hillel hopes this solar project will begin moving our campus in the direction of cleaner energy. Bradley's Hillel has shown that projects like this are possible, and will continue to shine light on this movement for Hillel houses, no matter the size or the location.
Charlie Cohen is a senior Political Science and Public Relations double major who works as JUF's Israel Education Center Israel Intern at Bradley University Hillel.