Student Task Force Organizes the ‘Big 100’ for Renewable Energy


Photo by Will Rene

With a growing emphasis on the fight against climate change, Pali’s Student Task Force (STF) organized the “Big 100” event on Nov. 5 to showcase their efforts toward transitioning the school to 100 percent renewable energy. 

STF, a club run by co-presidents junior Peter Garff and senior Angel Macario-Flores, acts as part of the Human Rights Watch, a global non-governmental organization that advocates for human rights. Pali’s STF chapter works toward solving human rights crises, focusing specifically on children’s rights. 

For the past year and a half, STF has remained focused on its goal to convert Pali to a 100 percent renewable energy campus. Primarily, this initiative would mean placing solar panels on every flat roof on campus, allowing Pali to harness solar energy as an environmentally friendly alternative to the non-renewable energy sources that the campus currently runs on. 

During eLearning, STF used online platforms to raise awareness about climate change and to garner signatures for the group’s solar energy proposal. However, as students returned to campus, STF took advantage of the in-person setting to further promote their efforts for change and gain the Board of Trustees’ approval to start solar panel construction.  

As part of this initiative, STF enlisted the help of active Pali community members to make a statement about climate change and the importance of the switch to solar energy. Students from Steve Engelmann’s Environmental and Spatial Technology class, Robert King’s leadership class, Rick Steil’s Advanced Placement (AP) photography class and Lisa Saxon’s journalism class filled the quad during fourth period, standing shoulder to shoulder dressed in blue. From above, the students formed the shape of a “100,” symbolizing STF’s efforts to segue to 100 percent renewable energy. 

“[The Big 100] served as a huge representation that the whole Pali community was behind this transition,” Garff said. 

This event required extensive planning.

“Organizing over 100 students on a Friday afternoon into the shape of a 100 is really difficult, so we had to think strategically about that,” Garff explained. “Other leadership students and I spent over an hour and a half setting up prior to the event and laying rope on the ground so that students would know where to stand.”

Senior William Rene, a former student of Steil’s AP photography class, used a drone to capture the demonstration. The video was later posted on the STF tab of the Human Rights Watch website.

“It was really fantastic to see such a large group of individuals on campus come together and push for climate reform within Pali,” Rene said. “It just goes to show the kind of community Pali has created, where students are confident in their ability to pioneer change.” 

Garff was also pleased with the outcome of the event, saying, “Seeing over 100 people out there on the quad was really inspiring, not only to me, … but I think that message was also extended out to the students that were actually in the picture, the rest of the students at Pali, and the whole Palisades community.”