Earth Day Network, University of Phoenix Green Thurgood Marshall Academy in DC

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Greening includes solar panels, energy-efficient products, school vegetable garden, and other sustainable initiatives

Earth Day Network and University of Phoenix today announced the greening of Thurgood Marshall Academy (TMA), a law-themed public charter high school in Washington, D.C. The “green makeover,” which marks the second school greened through the Earth Day Network and University of Phoenix partnership, is part of Earth Day Network’s “Green Schools Campaign,” which aims to create healthy, energy-efficient and sustainable learning environments – both indoors and outdoors – at schools across the nation.

The centerpiece of the greening project at TMA is the installation of a 2.8k/W solar panel system that will save the school an estimated $30,000 and 150,000 lbs of carbon emissions over 25 years. Earth Day Network is also providing the school with an educational energy monitoring system so teachers and students can keep track of energy generation and savings.

Earth Day Network has worked with students and faculty at TMA for the past three years, paving the way for the greening and offering support for different environmental initiatives, including waste reduction and civic education through Earth Day Network’s National Civic Education Grant Program.

“Green schools reduce toxins while increasing attendance, lowering illness rates and raising test scores. Students fare much better with green schools and so does the planet,” said Sean Miller, Director of Education at Earth Day Network. “Reducing energy consumption is often a challenge for schools across the nation. With a solar panel installation, not only are we helping the district save money and carbon emissions, we are also providing the students with a learning experience that will prove useful for future careers in the green jobs sector.”

Around the campus, volunteers from University of Phoenix and Earth Day Network staff will carry out other projects, such as painting an eco-mural with non-toxic paint, installing efficient lighting and power strips, and distributing planters with native seeds to the classrooms.

“This school greening has opened a new world of possibilities to our students and the community at large,” said Sam Ullery, AP Environmental Science teacher at TMA. “Now we will be able to teach sustainability with a hands-on approach. We are very proud and honored that TMA has been chosen for this project.”

“University of Phoenix is committed to making our operations more sustainable. We support environmental education programs, and our grant to support the greening of Thurgood Marshall Academy is a perfect way to further branch out these efforts into the community,” said Ayla Dickey, Senior Vice President, Public Affairs and Corporate Social Responsibility with Apollo Group, the parent company of University of Phoenix. “We are thrilled to team up with Earth Day Network to bring this exciting project to a school within our Washington, D.C. campus community and help educate the environmental stewards of tomorrow.”

About Earth Day Network

Earth Day Network, www.earthday.net, seeks to grow and diversify the environmental movement worldwide, and to mobilize it as the most effective vehicle for promoting a healthy, sustainable planet. It pursues these goals through education, politics, and consumer activism. Earth Day Network has a global reach with a network of more than 15,000 partners and organizations in 174 countries. More than 1 billion people participate in Earth Day activities, making it the largest secular civic event in the world. Launched in 2007 with the U.S. Green Building Council and the William J. Clinton Foundation, Earth Day Network’s “Green Schools Campaign” aims to green all of America’s schools within a generation.

About University of Phoenix

University of Phoenix is constantly innovating to help students balance education and life in a rapidly changing world. Through flexible schedules, challenging courses and interactive learning, students achieve personal and career aspirations without putting their lives on hold. As of February 28, 2009, 397,700 students were enrolled at University of Phoenix, the largest private university in North America. University of Phoenix serves a diverse student population, offering associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs from campuses and learning centers across the U.S. as well as online throughout the world. To learn more, visit www.phoenix.edu.

About Thurgood Marshall Academy

Thurgood Marshall Academy was founded upon the belief-articulated by US Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall-that all children have the right to a first-class education and the opportunity to reach their full potential. As the District’s first law-themed public charter high school, Thurgood Marshall Academy combines a comprehensive, standards-based curriculum with education about law, democracy, and human rights. Thurgood Marshall Academy’s goal is to help students develop their own voices by teaching them the skills lawyers have-the ability to solve complex problems, think critically, and advocate persuasively for themselves and their communities. Thurgood Marshall Academy currently serves 365 students in grades nine through twelve.