Reaching Out: NREL Community Connection

Welcome to the summer 2022 Reaching Out: NREL Community Connection Newsletter.

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In This Edition

Happy Birthday, NREL!

The Reconnect Effect: A Wave of Volunteering

NREL Celebrates Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in May, Pride Month in June

Education and Outreach

Happy Birthday, NREL! 45 and Continuing To Thrive

Back on July 5, 1977, the U.S. Department of Energy opened the Solar Energy Research Institute (SERI). It was a time when the country knew the trajectory of how we use energy had to change, especially after the oil embargo in 1973.

Designated a national laboratory by President George H.W. Bush on Sept. 16, 1991, NREL's credentials are aplenty. Projects such as revamping recycling and creating a path for Los Angeles to become 100% renewable through the Los Angeles 100% Renewable Energy Study are just two of the many, many accomplishments during our 45 years.

Not only have we made our mark in the world of renewable energy, but NREL also continues to make its presence known throughout the community every year, most recently raising a record-breaking $675,000 in 2021 and supporting 449 charities in the process!

After all that, we are just getting started; discover what's next with NREL. Happy 45th birthday, NREL! Here’s to many more years!

Learn more about NREL's history.

The Reconnect Effect: A Wave of Volunteering

10 people in hard hats standing in front of a house holding a banner bearing "NREL - Transforming Energy: A proud sponsor of Grid Alternatives."
NREL staff members volunteer with GRID Alternatives  Colorado to install solar panels on a home in Golden, Colorado. Photo by Joe DelNero, NREL
NREL's commitment to bettering the world is deeply rooted in our culture of giving back and engaging in the community as a habit, expectation, and way of life. NRELians have been energizing their communities and reconnecting with one another this summer by volunteering their time to support several local charitable organizations. Together they made fleece blankets for patients at Children's Hospital Colorado, helped install rooftop solar panels in Thornton, gathered after hours to help clean up parks and maintain trails in Jefferson County, and made it possible for people with disabilities to inspire us all.

Volunteering Highlights

  • Collected 45 pounds of trash and 7.5 pounds of recyclable materials in 2 hours
  • Made fleece blankets for Children's Hospital Colorado
  • Installed rooftop solar panels on homes in Thorton, Colorado
  • Volunteered at the 2022 Move United, Junior Nationals.

NREL Celebrates Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in May, Pride Month in June

NREL is proud to continue our cultural celebrations that recognize the diversity of all staff. Our diverse backgrounds enable us to create clean energy solutions built upon a wide range of experiences, and fostering an inclusive work environment maximizes our unique talents and innovative ideas.

In May, NREL’s Asian Employee Resource Group celebrated Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month with a series of events that focused on the personal and career journeys of AANHPI employees. The events were presented in coordination with the National Institutes of Health's message, "We Are Not a Monolith," to remind everyone of the differences and uniqueness in each group. The celebration acknowledges those from many countries and a variety of ethnicities that differ in political, social, and familial meanings. The Asian Employee Resource Group created a video series reflecting on diverse identities and stories.

In June, NREL’s Full Spectrum Network (which represents the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, and gender diverse community at large—or LGBTQIA+—community), organized events and trainings for Pride Month that offer resources to help NREL staff become more inclusive in their work environments and spaces. The Full Spectrum Network also raised the Progress Pride Flag at NREL's South Table Mountain campus for the first time in NREL's history on June 21. Watch the video of staff celebrating being LGBTQIA+ and Pride Month.

The Colorado state flag, the American flag, and the Progress Pride Flag flying, with a sign that says "NREL" in the foreground.
The Colorado flag, American flag, and Progress Pride flag fly on NREL's South Table Mountain campus in Golden, Colorado. Photo by Werner Slocum, NREL

Educational Opportunities

NREL's education programs promote science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) using clean energy technologies to capture student interest. Learn more about our tours and STEM programs for K-12 students or contact the program coordinators for additional details.

Join NREL for the virtual Public Campus Experience on the second Friday of every month from 10 to 11:30 a.m. MST. Learn how NREL is transforming energy through research, development, commercialization, and deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. Register for a virtual tour.