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12E.1.7 Students preparing roof for solar panels

Photograph shows Environmental Studies students working on dormitory roof, preparing it for solar panels.

Students preparing roof for solar panels, San José State University Archives Photograph Collection, San José State University, Special Collections and Archives.

By the 1960s, an increasing number of Americans had recognized that human health and a healthy environment were necessarily linked. As a result, more and more Americans sought the protection of natural resources such as air, water, and forests. By the 1970s, an energy crisis over the amount of foreign oil available for US consumption made many Americans also want to conserve the scarce resource of oil. This source shows students from an environmental studies course at San Jose State University preparing a dorm roof for solar panels in 1975. The goal was to provide the dorms with hot water using only the power generated from the sun, a renewable resource. The leadership of the campus believed in the goal of the project and allocated nearly $200,000 for the project.

Have you participated in or seen, read about, or heard about high school and/or college students using their human capital to focus on projects that will help maintain a healthy environment?

In 1975, students in the Department of Environmental Studies at San Jose State University, engaged in Project Helios, which demonstrated many opportunities to use solar energy on campus. This source can be used as the basis for a classroom brainstorming session on what changes students could help make on their own school campus or in their community to encourage resource conservation and possibly save public funds.

For a recent example of college students participating in their community, consider referring to Sacramento State University students restoring a local wetland and riparian habitat: