Located just off of the Navajo Nation and East of Flagstaff AZ, The STAR (acronym for Service To All Relations) School is the first off-grid, solar and wind powered public elementary school in the U.S. CEO Mark Sorensen explains their role as more than just a school, but as a hub for creating social capital within the community. “Our school, especially in this small rural community, has the physical resources and economic power necessary to encourage not only the social capital of a community, but also it’s sense of a shared “commons” – an area which is available for community needs with responsibility shared by all who participate.”
The Agora Projects (TAP) was founded by Marina Nash and is a turn-key design/build firm creating iconic solar powered Wi-Fi equipped outdoor community Pavilions, Trees and Hotspot Kiosks. TAP’s off-grid solutions help people connect with nature and engage with one another, their community and the world. The Agora Pavilion generates solar power for WiFi equipment, charging mobile wireless devices, rechargeable home-use batteries, and other potential uses. Offering free services will mitigate the cost of Internet voice and data service for the Navajo people. Pavilions additionally provide a covered area with potential for medical triage and additional power for mobile clinics. Self-Organized Learning Environments (SOLE, the most cost-effective educational solution) are made possible as an outdoor classroom with embedded tablets, which can be programmed with educational, language preservation, and vocational training content.
The Agora Projects, was introduced to Mark Sorensen, in the fall of 2014 by Senator Carlyle Begay. After viewing Marina’s TedX talk, the Senator envisioned the STAR School as a good fit for a prototype Agora, as their mutual goals for community connection and empowerment are so aligned. Over the last year, TAP and STAR have developed a strong relationship and 17 of the 18 Navajo Chapters comprising the Western Agency Counsel passed resolutions (18th Chapter vote pending) in support of building its first Agora Pavilion at the STAR School. Now as partners, a site has been designated, and plans are in place to build once funding is available. Together The STAR School and TAP seek to raise an estimated $250,000 through corporate sponsorships, grants, private donations, and in-kind contributions to build the first Pavilion at the School.
For donations, questions and/or ideas on how to raise the necessary funds to make this project a reality for the Navajo Community, please contact:
Mark Sorensen: firstname.lastname@example.org or (928) 415-4157
Barry Pier: email@example.com (303) 915-3375
or Marina Nash: firstname.lastname@example.org (303) 506-7062