Spreading the LUV: SSEA provide renewable energy to underprivileged Lebanese communities

  1. Arnaout, P. Asmar, R. Mehio
    Contributing Writers

 

Last year, Earth’s surface temperatures were recorded as the warmest they have ever been since modern record-keeping began in 1880. Global warming records are being consecutively shattered year after year, and it has never been more critical that the world begins to shift towards an era of proactive environmental mindfulness.

This shift began on a smaller scale, in Lebanon, when the Students for Sustainable Energy for All (SSEA) club was established. Since then, it has worked on various projects to promote sustainability on and off campus. Its dedicated hard work has manifested in perhaps its most ambitious project – the Light Up a Village project (LUV). LUV is a project that aims to promote and provide renewable energy solutions to underprivileged communities around Lebanon. Thanks to the initiative, SSEA was able to contribute to global efforts, on a local level, in an attempt to reduce the anthropogenic effects on climate change.

LUV 1.0 was the first step in a bold new vision of an eco-friendly, low carbon Lebanese economy. Sponsored by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Lebanon, the American University of Beirut, the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture in Tripoli, Byblos Bank, BankMed, and Deloitte, this version of LUV was executed in Mejdel, Akkar in North Lebanon. Photovoltaic solar light poles (16 poles and 10 solar kits) were implemented, lighting the roads efficiently, and ensuring the safety of all road-users from truck drivers to pedestrians, all through a clean renewable energy source.

Following the success of last year’s project, passionate and dedicated AUB students from diverse backgrounds have once again gathered and teamed up under the SSEA name. The team is looking to step up and amplify the impacts of LUV 1.0, ready to roll out this year’s edition of the project. LUV 2.0 will be illuminating the streets of Al Manara, a village in West Bekaa. The plan has been drafted, and the work has already begun.

Al Manara was selected after a calculated screening process conducted by the LUV 2.0 managing team.

According to LUV 2.0’s Rayan Hanna and Rami Hamdan, the village was selected after a calculated screening process conducted by the managing team. After studying several villages, their choice fell on al Manara, as it met several criteria that satisfied aspects of both feasibility, and critical need for intervention.

They said that Al Manara was a particularly intriguing and inspiring case, given its inclusion of two Jamiis – private and public schools attended by citizens of the village and of neighbouring ones as well – a town square where adults from the village gather each night – and a particularly high influx of Syrian refugees -and most importantly, its municipality’s high interest in the project.

Despite it being a small project, LUV 2.0 will still be another small stride in the movement towards combating the devastating effects of global warming. LUV 2.0 will bring us another step closer to the promotion of hope and positivity by encouraging the use of renewable energy that holds revolutionary potential.

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