Fifty-six high school students from across the state returned to school this fall with a better understanding of how electric cooperatives are preparing for the future.
Broad River Electric co-sponsored the Cooperative Youth Summit in July, giving Union County High School senior Bailey Long a chance to tour renewable energy sites, meet with state government leaders, explore careers in the electric industry and take rides in all-electric vehicles. In its second year, the Cooperative Youth Summit included visits to Black River Electric Cooperative’s Community Solar farm in Sumter.
The students also visited the capitol complex in Columbia. There, state Rep. Beth Bernstein (Richland-Dist. 78) encouraged young women and minorities, in particular, to run for office. “I never considered running for office until a friend brought it up,” said Bernstein. “I want you to realize each of you has the ability to run.”
Judge Thomas E. Huff of S.C. Court of Appeals met with the students in his courtroom (pictured), stressing the importance of education. The former legislator also noted his co-op experience as a former counsel to Aiken Electric Cooperative.
Students also visited Mid-Carolina Electric Cooperative in Lexington, learning about line work, taking bucket truck rides, observing pole-climbing demonstrations and hearing of co-op career opportunities. They partnered with S.C. WIRE (Women Involved in Rural Electrification) to fill 320 bags with personal items for homeless students as part of WIRE’s Kids’ Closet initiative. More than 11,000 S.C. students experienced homelessness last year, they learned.
The summit ended at the state association of co-ops in Cayce, where students took rides in electric vehicles, a Tesla Model S and Model 3. Association employees explained the science behind electric vehicles.
Broad River Electric Cooperative supports programs like the Cooperative Youth Summit to show its Commitment to Community, one of the Cooperative Principles. Learn more about the cooperative difference at BroadRiverElectric.com.