College students use Solar Spring Break to help DC families

WASHINGTON DC -- About one dozen students from the University of North Carolina braved this past week's winter weather in Washington DC to help families in Southeast DC.

They were part of a Solar Spring Break program which uses students and professionals to install solar panels in existing homes and housing complexes.

This week work was done at the Parkchester Apartments to install new panels on an old building to help residents save money on electricity.

Bailey Recktenwald is a public policy major at UNC who said she wanted to be a part of the install.

"I thought it would be a great experience to actually be on a site and installing solar and seeing what the process is like on the ground," said Recktenwald.

Recktenwald and her friends made the trip from Chapel Hill expecting to work Tuesday through Friday.

The snow slowed down the installation process but, according to the Recktenwald, the group still did a lot of the prep work needed in order for professionals to finish the job.

Grid Alternatives helped set up the student service project. The project will benefit low-income housing in an area where 50 percent of energy options need to be renewable by 2032.

The UNC students are part of Epsilon Eta, the first and only professional environmental-based fraternity, founded in 2007.