Renew PA Works Campaign


Calling Pennsylvania College Students


  • Want our state to have more renewable energy?
  • Believe that renewable energy offers job opportunities for your future?
  • Want to hone your written and communication skills?
  • Have 5 hours a week to devote to clean energy this summer?
  • Want to make a difference in your community?
  • Need volunteer hours to fulfill your college requirements?

Join the PA Solar Center this summer for the Renew PA Works campaign. Here’s some more information:

Goal: To galvanize college students’ energy and availability during COVID-19 to build support for the passage of the 18% by 2025 renewable energy (with 5.5% solar) goal in 2020 as an economic stimulus and jobs incubator in response to the economic crisis caused by the pandemic.

Objective: Engage and train approximately 50-80 college students with preferred groups of at least two students per each of the 67 counties in PA to participate in renewable energy policy education in the communities and counties where they live during the summer of 2020.

Summary: The Pennsylvania Solar Center along with the Renewables Work for PA coalition of more than 100 renewable energy companies will create opportunities for a large number of college students to engage in statewide policy education with decision makers to urge an increase in renewable energy goals in PA. We will launch college student-led teams in every county in Pennsylvania that will:

  • Educate people about the benefits of renewable energy and the economic opportunities of attracting renewable energy development to their counties
  • Create advocacy opportunities to call on legislators to pass legislation that will increase the renewable energy goals in Pennsylvania through direct calls to legislators, letters to the editor, radio interviews, business sign on letters, individual sign on letters, and social media campaigns
  • Provide students with opportunity for professional development to hone their leadership, presentation and communication skills

The Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard (AEPS) of 2004 is the landmark policy in Pennsylvania that drives the rate of renewable energy development. That goal is currently set at 8% renewable energy by May 31, 2021, with a carve-out of 0.5% of solar energy. That goal will be met this year and unless it is increased, renewable development in the state will slow. Most neighboring states now have goals of 50% clean energy (or greater) by 2030. Pennsylvania has fallen dramatically behind and losing job growth and economic development opportunities as well as carbon reduction opportunities by not updating these goals. The Pennsylvania legislature only has a few more months this year to pass the legislation before the sesson ends in November. With the huge job and business losses with COVID-19, it is imperative that we build opportunities for employment and that we do so in a sustainable manner. In addition, many college students are spending their summers at home with a lot of extra time and may feel disconnected from the world. The Renew PA Works initiative is an opportunity to galvanize their interest in tackling climate change and building renewable energy industry for the future. Harnessing their time, energy and their voices around this issue will be inspiring to their communities and to legislators.

Students receive:

  • Certificate for completing the training
  • Communications training, including speaking, writing and social media
  • A handbook that contains instructions about how to write letters to the editor, op-eds, hold meeting with legislators, etc.
  • Weekly check-in meetings (virtual) with PA Solar Center organizers and virtual “office hours” for additional support
  • Weekly instruction email with reminders to fill out weekly tracking forms and suggestions with what to do that week
  • Support from a student leadership team and from the PA Solar Center and other professionals as well as renewable energy professionals from the Renewables Work for PA coalition
  • Volunteer hours that may satisfy some university requirements

Commitment: Each student(s) will agree to ensure that the following occur in their county:

  • Submit minimum of three letters to editor to different media outlets in their county
  • Attempt to schedule and “attend” virtual meetings with three legislators
  • Circulate sign on letters and get a minimum of 10 business sign-ons in their county
  • Circulate sign on letters and get a minimum of 100 individual sign-ons in their county
  • Update the weekly tracking log
  • Post at least one social media to Twitter and Facebook 4-5 times per week (optional as some students choose not to participate in social media)
  • Set up one radio interview in the county with a local radio station (optional)
  • Attend one-hour group meeting every Monday from 5pm – 6pm.

Application Requirements:

  • Fill out the application form HERE
  • Have an interest in advocacy, talking to legislators, policy, public relations, communications, public relations, etc. and an interest in seeing more renewable energy in Pennsylvania
  • Possess good speaking and communications skills (or desire to sharpen those skills)
  • Commit to participating for at least an average of 5 hours a week throughout the summer (could be more less, if desired and depending on the tasks that you want to complete; most hours will be during the work day Monday through Friday)
  • Fill out an emergency contact form
  • Sign a commitment and code of conduct for

Timeline and activities

Watch the virtual training (training was recorded on June 17):

  • Overview of Program, Expectations, Activities
  • Background on renewable energy technology, financing and policy with the Renewables Work for PA industry working group
  • Advocacy Training: Communications and Media Training with a public relations firm that includeshow to talk with legislators, setting up virtual meetings with legislators, social media training, sign-on letters, writing letters to the editor/op-eds
  • Logistics of program: Weekly check-in calls and reporting, available resources, activities

June 15 – mid-August 2020:

Each week you will attend a one-hour virtual group meeting on Mondays for updates, Q&A and check-ins with our team. Our team will also provide weekly instructions with goals and activities for the week and accompanying resources that will include things such as:

  • Reaching out to legislators to invite them to attend our educational webinars about renewable energy
  • Writing letters to editor of your local papers
  • Joining meetings to talk with legislators about renewable energy
  • Circulating sign on letters that local individuals and business can sign on to show support for renewable energy
  • Posting on social media (if desired)