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Green Ninja Gains Momentum

By Amanda Holst, Public Affairs Assistant

The Green Ninja, a climate-action super hero created at SJSU, continues to draw support.

The project has received a $390,000 grant from NASA to support professional development for teachers, and $20,000 from PG&E to pilot an energy reduction contest for Santa Clara County middle schoolers.

And “Green Ninja: Footprint Renovation,” one of nearly a dozen short films produced at SJSU, will be screened in March at the San Francisco Green Film Festival.

“Not only do we try to provide the education, we are also trying to provide them with the tools to do something about it,” said Associate Professor of Meteorology and Climate Science Eugene Cordero.

NASA and PG&E Grants

The Green Ninja team, comprised on faculty members and students from five SJSU colleges, is developing short films, social media tools, and lesson plans.

“There are things that everybody in their daily lives can change but they don’t seem to get,” said senior animation/illustration major Michelle Green.

The 30-month NASA grant will help address this by training teachers to use Green Ninja media tools in the classroom.

The PG&E contest, debuting next month, will encourage sixth to ninth graders to reduce daily energy consumption by tracking home energy usage using PG&E SmartMeters.

“If we can be effective with this contest, maybe we can affect a larger area by providing educational tools that will inspire social change,” Cordero said.

Five-College Collaboration

The five colleges on the Green Ninja team are Science, Engineering, Education, Social Sciences, and Humanities and the Arts.

The College of Education is developing lesson plans while the computer engineering and computer science departments are developing an iPhone application that will “keep people off the sidelines and get them engaged in developing solutions to climate change,” Cordero said.

The animation/illustration program and TV, radio, film and theater department are working on a new Green Ninja video due out this spring. Environmental studies senior Lina Prada-Báez is one of more than 30 students working on the piece.

“I feel very proud of all the progress we have made, and of how we help more people every day learn about the Green Ninja,” Prada-Báez said.