Two summers ago, I lived at the Catholic Worker in South Bend for two months. Their drop-in center, Our Lady of the Road, is a laundromat cafe where the most vulnerable can come in and have breakfast, get clothes, have their laundry done and take showers. I have been so inspired by the stories I have heard and the people I’ve met that after graduating in May, I plan on doing a year of service at Our Lady of the Road.
During my volunteer work at Our Lady of the Road, I came to realize that their utility bills are very high due to all the showers and laundry, which places financial constraints on the good work that they are able to do in the community. Therefore, I decided that for my senior capstone project for sustainability and CST, I will have solar panels installed on the roof of Our Lady of the Road. Typically, senior capstone projects include writing research papers or making sustainable designs, but I wanted mine to have as large an impact as possible. This project will save almost $10,000 per year in electricity bills, enabling Our Lady of the Road to assist more people.
I have worked with Tim Powers ’11 of Inovateus Solar, Bill Jordan ’85 of Jordan Energy and The Let's Share the Sun Foundation, and Professor Svetlana Neretina of the Notre Dame’s College of Engineering to design and optimize a roof-top solar array to help meet Our Lady of the Road’s electricity needs. Generous in-kind donations have helped us through the design process and the structural engineering approval, and the project is ready for implementation.
To fund this project, we are raising $17,500 for the materials by May 30th, 2018 for a planned installation this summer. Members of the community have already agreed to donate the project design, engineering, and installation. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to this project.
As Pope Francis said in his papal encyclical Laudato Si, “We are faced not with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental. Strategies for a solution demand an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature.” (139). The Catholic Worker recognizes this connection; please help them to fulfill their dream of generating power in line with their values.
If you would like to learn more, feel free to email me at [email protected]
* Tax-deductible donations should not be made anonymously.