By Alex Kizer
In Richmond, Virginia, the trees glow a particular gold in autumn. There is plenty of history and even more friendly folks. Greg Muzik, the principal of Mary Munford Elementary School, is no exception.
â€œI ride it to school most days,â€ Mr. Muzik boasts, showing off his Ego electric scooter.Â Greg Muzik is a large man with a voice that contains life. â€œI donâ€™t live far from the school and so it costs me about a penny a mile in electricity costs!â€
For the last 7 years, Principal Muzik has followed an environmentally responsible personal life. But like all hard workers, it is difficult to separate work and private life. Mary Munford Elementary has been a solar school for a little longer than Principal Muzik has been seen buzzing through the streets on his electric scooter. â€œThe schoolâ€™s 1 kW system was an inspiration to me and the students. Frankly, I hoped it would show our young kids the viability of new energy technologies â€“ I didnâ€™t suspect Iâ€™d be so excited too!â€
American Electric Power (AEP) donated the system to Mary Munford, hoping to create an awareness of energy issues like solar and recycling in the school. Looking at Principal Muzikâ€™s attitude 7 years later suggests that it has been working. The school now has a PTA committee that makes energy efficiency a priority. â€œThey worked on projects to make us more “green” before anyone started using the word “green,â€ said Muzik.
Not all of the Richmond School System has progressed as far and as fast as Mary Munford, however. Maryan Cammarata, a long-time Richmond resident, thinks that the energy efficiency policies of Mary Mumford have influenced her community, with more opportunity to come. â€œMary Munford was the first school, for a long time, to have any recycling policy in the region,â€ she said. â€œIâ€™ve heard about [Mary] Munfordâ€™s recycling and energy management policies for sometime now. Just look at Principal Muzik. Heâ€™s always zipping around, setting a good example for everyone.â€
â€œIâ€™m a big guy,â€ Mr. Muzik laughs, â€œand my weight has limited the range I can get from my scooter.â€ Mr. Muzikâ€™s larger-than-life personality has definitely contributed to his standard-setting example, with students looking up to him for advice, and watching him live by the examples he preaches: â€œThe students and I figured that the power generated by the solar array, while not much, would provide enough electricity to fuel my scooter forever.â€ With his good example and with new technologies on the horizon, Mr. Muzikâ€™s next scooter should get him much farther, hopefully alongside an army of his former students, all embodying Muzikâ€™s lessons of efficiency and excitement for life.