1/18/2017, 6 a.m. | Updated on 1/18/2017, 6 a.m.
The national discussion on global warming and climate change has propelled government leaders and others to think about ways to ...
From L to Right; Betty Shabazz Charter School Principal Shannon Mason, Robert “Kool” Bell and Dr. G. Ari Arrington. Shabazz School, Reboot Green 8.0 and Bell are partnering to raise awareness and money to help educate young black youth about the field of sustainable energy technologies. Photo Credit: Monique Smith.


By Monique Smith

The national discussion on global warming and climate change has propelled government leaders and others to think about ways to create and capitalize on alternative energy and fueling sources.

Solar power is energy from the sun that is converted

into thermal or electrical energy as defined by the Solar

Energy Industries Association. Solar energy is the

cleanest and most abundant renewable energy source

available, and the U.S. has some of the richest solar

resources in the world.

Some of the new advances in solar energy translate

into the creation of jobs and opportunities. Founding member

of R&B funk band Kool and the Gang, Robert “Kool” Bell has

become a global ambassador for sustainable energy and

recently visited the Betty Shabazz International Charter School to promote new energy technologies and a new partnership.

Bell toured the school alongside Dr. G. Avi Arrington,

who is the founder and Executive Director of Reboot Green 8.0 Urban Tech Center and Global Innovation Institute, which is a social enterprise and foundation located in West Pullman at 1201 West 115th Street. Reboot Green 8.0 UTCGII provides training in Solar and Renewable Energy Technologies, HVAC, Energy Efficiency, BTI, Cyber Security, Web Design, Coding ,Gaming, Animation, App Development, 3D Printing, Social Media / Digital Marketing and Promotion, Hydroponics, Urban Agri-Business, Textile Merchandising and Fashion Design, STEM and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), and Entrepreneurship, which

addresses “The Digital Divide” in underserved communities.

“Sustainable energy is one of the fastest growing industries in the U.S.,” said Dr. Arrington. “We want to prepare our young people so they can take advantage of the

opportunities that are going to come out of this industry.”

Bell says that his interest in sustainable energy began some time ago? but was really ignited after a previous visit here to Chicago. “A year ago, I visited IIT (Illinois Institute of Technology) and witnessed what they were doing with solar energy and I’ve made more than 30 trips back and forth to Africa over the last 30 years and between watching

what they are doing with solar energy, I mean the weather there is sunny 80% of the time, it just makes sense.” Bell and “the Gang” are still touring and performing across the country. “I would like to start doing power concerts. These are concerts that are powered by solar energy opposed

to a bunch of generators,” he said. Principal Shannon Mason

said that the students at Betty Shabazz are already being

prepared for pathways into sustainable energy. “We have

a STEM lab which we call STEAM lab because we include

art as a part of the learning, we have a robotics program and we teach the students about everything from programming to writing code.”

Bell says they are working to put on a benefit concert here in Chicago sometime later this year to raise money to further fund programs like Reboot Green 8.0. All three men agree that black children must crossover from the consumer side of technology to becoming the architects of new technology.