Oberlin College senior Stephen (Sam) Merrett has been named a
recipient of the 2005 Howard R. Swearer Student Humanitarian Award.
The award, which is administered by National Campus Compact, recognizes
five students each year for their outstanding public service and
provides funds toward their continued efforts to address societal
Merrett, an environmental studies major from East Nassau, New York, received
the award for his role in Oberlin's Youth Energy Project (YEP). The student-run
organization, which he co-founded with Avery Book '04, promotes energy
efficiency and renewable energy sources by collaborating with community partners
to raise funds and design energy conservation projects. Today YEP includes more
than 30 volunteers from the College and community.
"Sam's commitment to community service and its linkage to academic
work are exemplary, serious, and sustained," says Oberlin College President
Nancy S. Dye, who nominated Merrett for this award. "His work truly reflects
that of an active, engaged, and thoughtful citizen."
In addition to his work with YEP, Merrett has participated in a program to enhance
the science curriculum at Oberlin's Langston Middle School and developed
hands-on training activities for high school students, including a project teaching
them how to measure and rate energy efficiency within a private residence. Most
recently, Merrett has been active with "Biodiesel Oberlin," a project
that strives to produce and burn biodiesel fuel to offset the local consumption
of petroleum diesel.
"'Biodiesel Oberlin' uses a new, interactive technology to
create fuel that will contribute to local sustainability," Merrett says. "Our
mission is to educate, and to encourage local diesel users to consider biodiesel
as an alternative fuel source."
Merrett plans to use the $1,500 award to expand Biodiesel Oberlin's community
outreach programs, including a series of educational workshops for local residents
and programming in the local schools. In addition, the money will ensure the
local production, distribution, and consumption of alternative fuels in Oberlin.
The Howard R. Swearer Student Humanitarian Award, named after one of the founders
of Campus Compact, is made possible by a grant from the Sallie Mae Fund.