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Saving Energy with Youth Power

The South Chicago Retrofit Project launched on April 30th, bringing together dozens of diverse residents from throughout the Southeast Side. Housed at the Calumet Park Fieldhouse, the launch event was an incredible gathering of 300+ homeowners and tenants, all seeking resources to make their homes more energy efficient.

Among the crowd was a group of young story collectors from a nearby organization called The Zone. These youth, having been trained in research techniques by urban anthropologists at The Field Museum, walked around the event and gathered stories of local residents’ environmentally-friendly behaviors. They spoke with grandmothers, children, and city officials, asking everyone what they are doing to conserve energy in their homes.

Since the launch event, these young story collectors have continued their grassroots research at community events. They will be using the stories they collect to promote energy-saving practices across the Southeast Side, through creative videos, a dynamic website, and partnerships with local artists. Working together with local leaders, these youth are actively strengthening the bond between local residents and their surrounding environment.

Photo: Ryan Lugalia-Hollon