Call her a green granny.
An octogenarian Hunter College alumna has spearheaded a successful drive to install solar panels throughout her Connecticut retirement community — and she’s just getting started.
Susan McMahon Auslander ’56, an 89-year-old resident of Meadow Ridge in Redding, headed a residents’ committee that helped the development secure a $3.1 million Connecticut Green Bank loan and a $525,000 grant from power company Eversource. The funds will pay for solar panels on carports throughout the facility and on the roof of a large, central building — reducing the community’s fossil-fuel-derived energy use by 20% and its annual $1.8 electric bill by several hundred thousand dollars.
“This is our mihi cura futuri moment,” said Auslander, who majored in English at Hunter and minored in history and politics, quoting Hunter’s Latin motto, “the care of the future is mine.” “We hope that other senior retirement communities will be inspired by this important solar project. The threat of global warming is real and we want to leave a cleaner, greener, better world for our children and grandchildren.”
Auslander, a widowed mother of three and grandmother of seven, said she has only begun her solar drive; she is pushing to raise the amount of power that a development receives from alternative sources to at least 40%.
Located in Fairfield County, Meadow Ridge is home to a large contingent of Hunter alumnae — 10 in all — including Duby W. Bogdan '58, Kay Lau Chann '51, Joan Macy Kaskell MFA '87, Annette Rubinberg Krauss '50, Mary Carley Morris '52, Jane Petersen Murphy '63, Nancy Pelz Paget '73, Ruth Martinsen Wolsch HCHS ’61, and Karen Berthelsen Wylie HCES '42.