Our alumni spotlight for this month is Ashwin Barama, Class of 2019. He is currently a junior at Bernard’s High School. After hearing about a renewable energy installation called the WindBush, Ashwin was inspired to implement this kind of technology locally. The WindBush is a clean energy source that is designed to look like a tree, and it also takes up much less space than other kinds of clean energy. At just 16, Ashwin has been communicating with town leaders to gather funding and get this installation plan approved .
Why a WindBush?
Ashwin first heard about the WindBush right before the pandemic in February of 2020. In addition to its obvious use as a clean energy source, Ashwin hopes that this unique technology would also be able to attract visitors and help local businesses recover from the pandemic. For Ashwin, the idea of reducing our carbon footprint is important because he wishes to keep the planet livable for all the generations to follow. A local spot in his community is a good starting point. If all goes according to plan, it will be the first WindBush on public property in the United States.
Can this installation just go up in a day? Of course not. Ashwin has been working hard and communicating with town leaders. He has met with the Borough Council and the Mayor and said both have been extremely supportive. They have been helping him along his journey by trying to find a good location to build the WindBush, as well as possible sources of funding. Funding has been his main challenge so far, but he is already a fifth of the way to his goal and certainly not giving up!
An idea with Willow roots
Willow, of course, has been a major influence for Ashwin. His three years here were his first exposure to a sustainable community, and he wishes to continue this idea in his own hometown. Seeing the environment around you become more eco-friendly sure is rewarding! Willow’s influence didn’t stop there. Ashwin also began his French studies at Willow, and this is a key part of his work. Many of the people helping him work on this project are French (as this technology is designed in France), and he has been able to communicate with them a lot more easily.
What’s next for Ashwin?
Although Ashwin has said that the town leaders have been easy and encouraging to work with, showing the dedication to even meet with them in the first place is more than commendable. At 16 myself, it seems extremely daunting to present ideas in front of a town council. This bravery and drive to make a change will certainly help Ashwin in college and beyond. Ashwin is currently planning on becoming an environmental engineering major because he feels that “sustainability and the reduction of humanity’s impact on our planet should not come at the cost of progress and technological advancement, and environmental engineering teaches us to balance our relationship with the environment with designing and building cutting-edge systems.”
I encourage everybody reading to follow Ashwin’s lead and introduce a few environmentally-friendly replacements into your own life or even your community at large. Remember your Willow roots!
Thank you for reading! If you or any other alumni you know have done something that you think would make for a good spotlight, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you! Read more about our amazing alumni here.