At least one classroom at James Campbell High School in Ewa Beach will be getting air conditioning later this year, after a student-run fundraising campaign raised $21,710.
Students launched Fahrenheit73 early this spring in an effort to raise awareness about heat challenges in Hawaii schools and create a fundraising model that students at other campuses could adopt.
“We thought that since it’s our generation and our age group, that it would be good if we addressed it ourselves,” Allie Saunders, one of the students behind the campaign, told Civil Beat.
Temperatures at Campbell, one of 242 public schools in Hawaii that lacks central air conditioning, can often reach the 90s.
The students behind the campaign — who are all fellows at the Center for Tomorrow’s leaders and attend schools with air conditioning — were inspired to launch the project after reading Civil Beat’s coverage of the issue last year.
The students hoped to raise $19,000 for to pay for two solar hybrid air conditioning units. The units will work with the school’s electrical infrastructure and have a minimal impact on electric bills.
It would cost an estimated $1.7 billion to install air conditioning in all of Hawaii’s public schools.
Campbell is high on the Department of Education’s list of priority schools for air conditioning. The DOE is also working on other heat abatement measures, including installing ceiling fans in some schools.
Thermal image taken in classroom at Ilima Intermedate in Ewa Beach on Sept. 12, 2014. The Celsius temperature reading of 35.0 in the upper left corner is equal to 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
PF Bentley/Civil Beat
Sign up for our FREE morning newsletter and face each day more informed.