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Posted on Tue, Dec 7, 2010 : 2:17 p.m.

Skyline High School students produce public service announcements for Ann Arbor's LED lights project

By Shoham Geva

Shoham Geva is a sophomore at Skyline High School enrolled as a first-year student in the Communication, Media, and Public Policy magnet, with a strong interest in journalism. She is writing this column to showcase the CMPP magnet. This is the third of her columns on the program.

"Lights, Camera ... Save Money!" That's the theme of one of the energy public service announcements being shot by sophomore magnet students at Skyline High School. It's a project that will continue into the next trimester.

This PSA is focusing on LED streetlights, and the group of students making the spot have gone through a full policy analysis on the project.

If you've walked the streets of downtown Ann Arbor recently, you may have seen the signature shapes of LED lights overhead. The city has slowly but surely been replacing traffic signals and lights with LEDs since 2001. Thanks to recent $630,00 grant from the Downtown Developmental Authority, the authority that gets all the money from parking meters, parking lot, and the like, they've been able to move a lot more quickly. (So if you've ever dropped a quarter in a parking meter, feel proud; your quarter — along with 2,519,99 others — is funding this project!)

With the grant, Ann Arbor was able to replace roughly 1,000 downtown streetlights with LEDs. These streetlights are projected to save around $100,000, both because of decreased energy cost and lack of a need for maintenance.

As one of the group members, Raven Vawters told me, LEDs also save the night sky, animals and energy. So why focus on the money aspect in the PSA? She further explained that this PSA is meant to target a youth audience. That is when her group polled their classmates on what they cared about. Almost everything came back to money.

This PSA is a bit further along than some of the others; they've completed a treatment and script and have begun shooting. Since the magnet has a multimedia aspect that's further explored next year, students shoot the PSAs themselves, complete with a camera, tripod and boom mike. They'll also edit them themselves on iMovie or Final Cut. The finished PSA will be presented to their client, the city of Ann Arbor — and just might end up on CTN or a similar television channel.

*Read an overview of four CMPP projects, including the LED lighting project, here. Coming up in the next installment: Another PSA profile.