Brigidine students drive change with electric vehicles

Brigidine College Randwick students have hit the accelerator on an environmental sustainability initiative that brings the number of electric vehicle charging stations in their part of the suburb from zero to two.

Information, Digital Media & Technology (IDMT) students in Years 11 and 12 researched the concept before putting the plan to tender, working closely with Sydney Catholic Schools, Randwick City Council – who supplied a $5,000 grant for the project – and industry to install two charging stations in the St Pauls Street public carpark near their school.

Drivers of both electric and hybrid vehicles can use the compact chargers, which are a similar size to an A5 sheet of paper and are compatible with the cables supplied for different vehicle makes.

The project will make electric and hybrid vehicles a viable option for apartment-dwelling residents with limited access to outdoor power points. It also allowed students to gain skills in project management, information design, technology, marketing and economics. Future students will consider data from the systems to potentially install solar panels to help power the charging stations and lower the price per kilowatt-hour of the facilities’ use.

It’s amazing that we get to take this out to the community.

– Izabella Deep-Jones

 “The beauty of this project is that it shows the students they are able to not only create change, but have a real impact,” said IDMT teacher Richard Hainsworth.

Year 12 students Izabella Deep-Jones and Taylor-Maree Raffoul said the project aimed to increase the profile of electric vehicles as a way of reducing CO₂ emissions and tackling climate change.

“It was an interesting experience to have in high school, where you get to create something real and tangible, rather than hypothetical,” Izabella said. “It’s amazing that we get to take this out to the community.”

Taylor-Maree said she and her classmates were passionate about creating environmental change.

“We wanted to do our part for the environment,” she said. “Already, within our school staff there are five or six members that have hybrid vehicles and can use the chargers as soon as they’re installed.”

The beauty of this project is that it shows the students they are able to not only create change, but have a real impact.

– Richard Hainsworth

Fellow Year 12 graduate on the project, Lauren Leung, said she also valued gaining industry experience while still in high school.

“We’ve been really fortunate to be exposed to these opportunities at such a young age and to be able to understand how projects actually develop,” she said. “This started about a year ago, and to see it unfold and become something that has a real impact on society is really rewarding.”

Brigidine students have prior form when it comes to promoting changes of habit that have a positive impact on the environment.

In 2016 they began a ‘Powering Change’ campaign and website to monitor their school’s energy usage and encourage their peers to make energy savings each day. The school’s installation of solar panels in 2018 has also stopped 8.19 tonnes of CO₂ emissions entering the atmosphere.

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