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.
“I ride it to school most days,” Mr. Muzik boasts, showing off his Ego electric scooter. Greg Muzik is a large man with a voice that contains life. “I don’t live far from the school and so it costs me about a penny a mile in electricity costs!”
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. “The school’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 – I didn’t suspect I’d be so excited too!”
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 Muzik’s attitude 7 years later suggests that it has been working. The school now has a PTA committee that makes energy efficiency a priority. “They worked on projects to make us more “green” before anyone started using the word “green,” 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. “Mary Munford was the first school, for a long time, to have any recycling policy in the region,” she said. “I’ve heard about [Mary] Munford’s recycling and energy management policies for sometime now. Just look at Principal Muzik. He’s always zipping around, setting a good example for everyone.”
“I’m a big guy,” Mr. Muzik laughs, “and my weight has limited the range I can get from my scooter.” Mr. Muzik’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: “The students and I figured that the power generated by the solar array, while not much, would provide enough electricity to fuel my scooter forever.” With his good example and with new technologies on the horizon, Mr. Muzik’s next scooter should get him much farther, hopefully alongside an army of his former students, all embodying Muzik’s lessons of efficiency and excitement for life.