The first time I read about Climate Cycle on the REI Events listings, it was the bike ride that drew me in, and the promise of a free t-shirt. Only later was I to realize that I had stumbled upon a unique and outstanding organization that would soon have a large impact on me and on my school.
When we won solar panels that first year, after raising an extraordinary sum selling churros (thus commencing a school fad and ensuring we would never again be able to profit from that product), I was the proudest freshman in the school. We were so excited that when they were finally installed two years later, delayed by CPS regulations, we were still enthused.
Better than being a member of a school team was being a member of Climate Cycle’s Student Leadership Board, a group of students representing different schools in order to reach out to other students and provide climate education. Through this group, Climate Cycle welcomed us into the inner workings of the organization, and allowed us to see how they made decisions, planned events, and reviewed responses. Not only did I have access to a highly intelligent, dedicated cohort of peers, I could glean insight into the complexity behind running such an organization. The former was enlightening, the latter impressive; it was the ideal learning experience.
Climate Cycle is unique amongst the organizations with which I am involved because of the focus on students and on schools. As a four-year member of Walter Payton College Prep’s Environmental Club, I have grown to appreciate the difficulty groups like ours face trying to accomplish something significant. Every year, I am grateful and excited when Climate Cycle helps fund and encourage a project we undertake, and it is no coincidence that these are the most successful, with the most marked results.
This autumn, I will ship off to California to attend Stanford University and, quite likely, study an environmental science such as energy engineering. I hope Climate Cycle branches out to San Francisco, where I will be ready and waiting to dive back in.