Students Learn Value of Energy Efficiency

MGE partners with schools for lessons on stretching your energy dollars.

Reality zone posterNearly 200 local students recently traded in their schoolbooks for checkbooks. The "Reality Zone" exercise at McFarland High School exposed students to financial management—and the value of saving energy.

The high school juniors each were assigned a specific career, salary and family status. They then were tasked with budgeting their money to pay for housing, groceries, clothing and other expenses—including gas and electric service.

MGE is one of dozens of local businesses that partners with McFarland High School and other local schools to offer this financial literacy activity.

"We talk often with customers about the value and importance of energy efficiency. Using energy wisely saves money and it helps reduce our environmental impact," said Jim Jenson, MGE Community Education Manager. "This Reality Zone event is a wake-up call for most of these students, many of whom have never had to budget for all of the expenses of running a household. We try to help each student understand that by reducing your energy use, you can reduce the impact on your wallet and the environment.” 

MGE Community Education Manager Jim Jenson helped educate students on the benefits of saving energy.

MGE Community Education Manager Jim Jenson helped educate students on the benefits of saving energy.
Jenson has been working with students at local schools for more than 30 years to help them learn about energy decision-making. The Reality Zone helps bring it home for high school students preparing for their next step.

“We let them know they can control their energy costs by adjusting thermostat settings, installing LED lights, even putting shrink-wrap insulation over their windows in the winter,” said Jenson.

“We appreciate that our volunteers have a counseling role too. So, in addition to just giving the facts and figures of what the costs are, that extra bit of advice on how to also save money—and in this case energy too—could stay with the students for a lifetime,” said Cindy Brady, McFarland's School to Career Coordinator.

MGE partners with schools throughout our community to offer programming around energy efficiency and conservation, electric and gas safety, and other energy-related topics. Visit to learn more.

published: Nov-21-2018