ARLINGTON, Va. — The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) honored Western Farmers Electric Cooperative (WFEC) with its Community Service Award for Youth Programs.

The cooperative, which has been actively promoting geothermal heat pumps, won the award for a unique outreach program to students in two states heightening awareness of geothermal technology.

On behalf of Touchstone Energy Cooperatives, WFEC sponsored the scholarship contest for junior and senior high school students, requiring the applicants to produce a video on geothermal technology. Students living in the service territories of WFEC’s member cooperatives in Oklahoma and eastern New Mexico were eligible.

“By investing in students and education, Western Farmer Electric Cooperative’s unique scholarship program not only increased awareness of geothermal technology, but also strengthened bonds between the cooperative and the community. This program is a shining example of the fifth cooperative principle — educating members — in action,” said Jo Ann Emerson, NRECA CEO.

“Touchstone Energy Cooperatives are thrilled to have partnered on this exciting project for high school juniors and seniors,” said Mark Faulkenberry, WFEC’s manager of marketing and communication. “Whenever you get young people involved, it simply supports the longevity of the industry itself and builds an awareness of energy choices.”

Contestants in the GoGoGeo Scholarship Video Challenge were given the task of creatively expanding an understanding of geothermal technology through the social media realm.

“We received some great entries that involved a lot of work, not only with the video production, but in researching geothermal technology,” Faulkenberry said.

Close to $60,000 in scholarships and school education grants were awarded in the GoGoGeo competition. Scholarship dollars were awarded in two rounds of competition (regional and final), with the top winner taking away a $10,000 scholarship.

Publication date: 5/12/2014 

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