Students participate in off-campus internships, which may represent themost meaningful portion of their educational experience, and roughly 80Bronx Guild students participate in GreenFab internships each year.The student interns report to GreenFab for a special curriculum thatincludes elements of applied science, engineering and environmentalstudies with a focus on understanding the urban environment, saidCorbett Beder, senior director of research and development at VisionEducation and Media.Four major themes run through the curriculum:
sustainable design, using materials recycled from the localenvironment;
community advocacy in environmental understanding and sustainable living; and
computing and technology.Through hands-on projects, students learn how to work with computers, and they design and build electronic devicesthat address environmental needs. Projects include building working model wind turbines and solar vehicles
thingsthat can have direct impact on the environment. They also learn to apply things they create to help raise communityconsciousness about the environment and how human behavior can help or harm it.
“Many of these students are struggling to find a way to
„do‟ high school that‟s going to be beneficial for them,” Beder
said, noting that the program aims to show they will not only graduate high school, but also find jobs.Students are prepared practically for jobs in the new growth industries, especially green jobs, which are rapidlyexpanding despite the decline of older industrial businesses.
GreenFab in Action
Late last year, a 15-year-old named Jorge was hard at work inside a GreenFab classroom: After sketching a graffiti-inspired design for a neck ornament, he scanned and saved it in a graphics file format, and then imported it intoPhotoshop for some tweaking.He then reopened it in Inkscape, software that takes the design anddirects a high-tech laser cutter to burn the shape through whatevermaterial its beam is trained on. In this case, Jorge used recycledLucite.The laser cutter, an item few high school students have access to, ispart of the Fab Lab, an international project started at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology‟s Center for Bits and Atoms.The Fab Lab aims to bring “digital fabrication,” the modern means of
production, to ordinary people for solving community problems.
Before hitting the laser cutter‟s switch, however
, Jorge had tocalculate size, scale and other factors to get to the finished product
something he was producing as a paid commission for a client.
Later, he would write up his day‟s work and submit it to the
GreenFab student blog, a required part of the program that ensuresstudents learn literacy skills alongside the others.That same day, other students used the laser cutter to produce avariety of items in the Fab Lab, such as elegantly designedcardboard placards to post throughout the community to raiseenvironmental awareness.
At Bronx Guild High School, 100 percentof the student population receives free orreduced lunch, and 60 percent of thestudents are Hispanic, 35 percent areAfrican-American and 5 percent are
considered “other,” said C
o-Director JeffPalladino. With a large number of thestudent population at risk of failing anddropping out, the GreenFab programoffers support for students to improve theirsuccess in life, school and the work forcepost-graduation.Greenfab students at work
after refiningtheir design with software, it will be sent fromthe computer to the laser cutter to fabricate a