News Oct 07, 2008
Spreading the Green Gospel at CU: Environmental Center Hosts New Energy Day on Campus
Under a sunny, solar-charged sky, the University of Colorado's Environmental Center hosted a gathering of green organizations Tuesday in an effort to educate students about the future of renewable energy.
"We are trying to give students an idea of where energy is currently going and where it could go," said Rob Hall, energy program manager for the Environmental Center. "There are a lot of clean technologies that are available right now, but most of them are underutilized."
Organizers said providing a visual context for students to apply to their own lives was an important priority for the New Energy Day event, held on the fountain square outside the University Memorial Center.
One such display featured a 600-pound pile of coal anchoring a group of silver balloons. A sign explained that the coal represented only half of what it takes to power CU's Baker residence hall with electricity for one day -- while the balloons represented the 1,500 pounds of CO2 released from burning that coal.
Another display featured incandescent and compact fluorescent light bulbs hooked up to the same meter. This allowed students to watch as the meter spun faster while the incandescent light was used, helping them understand how much energy the CFC bulb conserved.
"We're trying to help students actually see the connection between energy use and climate change," said Cole Sigmon, CU graduate student and energy outreach team member for the Environmental Center.
By combining educational material with visual presentations, Sigmon and other team members spent the day telling their fellow students about environmental solutions to current energy problems.
"Once you start getting excited about climate change and realizing how relevant it is going to be in our lifetime, you can't help but tell people about it," Sigmon said.
Taking a step further than outreach, representatives from green organizations also were present to try to get students involved. Organizations including PowerVote.org and 1 Sky used student volunteers to collect signatures that could be used to persuade politicians to be more active about green energy and the environment.
"The environment seems to be taking a back seat to the economy in the election, but we won't have to worry about the economy if we don't have an environment to run it in," said Rachel Cook, a CU freshman and volunteer for 1 Sky.
Other organizations present at New Energy Day included the Colorado Renewable Energy Society, Simple Solar, CU Biodiesel, ClimateSmart and a SmartGrid exhibit from Xcel Energy.
Perhaps the most effective display of all, however, was the closed-loop "low-carbon fries" exhibit from Spud Brothers.
Students participating in the event received a free plate of fries that were cooked on-site using fryilators powered by solar panels. The leftover grease was then donated to CU Biodiesel.
"I like solar energy and I like fries," said Polly Babcock, a CU freshman who earned her fries by signing on to switch to CFC lightbulbs. "It's making a statement about trying to find more efficient ways to do everyday things."
News Source: Colorado Daily
ENVS News Category: Media Story
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