UniSource supports education in our local communities through charitable contributions, educational and safety programs and volunteerism that promote literacy and learning.
We invest about $160,000 annually in educational programs that assist students and teachers, especially in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). All of these contributions are funded with Unisource’s corporate resources, not customers’ rates.
Here are just some of the ways that UniSource supports education.
Free Educational Materials
Each year, UniSource provides free educational materials to more than 100 schools for use by 120 local teachers. The materials focus on energy and the environment, electrical and natural gas safety and renewable energy and include activities and hands-on lessons.
Thousands of Arizona students in grades K-12 benefit from our supplemental teaching materials, which align with Arizona’s science and health content standards.
Career Fairs and Safety Presentations
In Santa Cruz County, employees from our Nogales office join representatives of other area businesses and government agencies at back-to-school events that provide students with school supplies, health checks and even haircuts.
During the school year, our Nogales line crews also visit 11 schools to participate in career fairs and use live demonstrations to teach students in Nogales, Rio Rico and Patagonia schools about electrical safety.
“All of our employees’ children have attended or currently attend these local schools, so we’re happy to support them,” said Norma Lucero, Administrative Assistant in the Nogales office and Community Action Team coordinator. “UniSource is a big part of this community.”
Supporting STEM Education
UniSource supports STEM programs that teach students critical-thinking skills. These include a robotics club and a high school aquaponics program in Navajo County and environmental education programs through Grand Canyon Youth and the Verde Natural Resource Conservation.
In addition to providing funding, UniSource employees volunteer to support education. Jeff Brown, Supervisor of Construction and Maintenance in Prescott, has hosted an informational booth at the Prescott Regional SciTech Fest for more than seven years.
Brown and his wife, Becki, a second grade teacher at Lincoln Elementary School in Prescott, team up to demonstrate the properties of natural gas and give out safety information to some of the 400 attendees.
Developing Science Teachers
UniSource sponsors a two-day symposium July 13-15 for K-12 science teachers that provides hands-on training and presentations designed to help teachers deliver effective lessons.
“By deepening their understanding of the ‘crosscutting’ concepts of structure and function, teachers can become more effective and confident in the classroom,” said Sara Torres, Executive Director of the Arizona Science Teachers Association. Crosscutting concepts have applications across all domains of science, so learning them helps students succeed in many STEM disciplines.
UniSource’s contribution helped defray ASTA’s hosting expenses and funded scholarships to help pay for teachers’ registration and lodging costs.
Renewable Energy Education
UniSource works with schools and teachers to help educate students about renewable energy and conservation. In May, we sponsored a renewable energy poster contest for third graders at Kingman Academy of Learning and Havasu Preparatory Academy to learn firsthand how solar and wind power works and benefits the community.
The contest prompted students to talk about renewable resources, including solar power, hydropower, geothermal and wind. They also discussed ways to save energy.
Classes were treated to pizza parties, and each teacher received a backpack filled with supplies. UniSource offered the contest in partnership with AZURE, or AZ Understanding Renewable Energy, a nonprofit organization that educates teachers about renewable energy resources.
“The contest was designed to be a family project that would educate not only the students but also the parents and guardians,” said Nikole White, Senior Program Manager for UniSource. “I was proud to see our future generation excited to talk about energy and how important this topic is to their everyday lives.”