UT harnesses solar power for sustainability

Maddie Tomczak/IC

Maddie Tomczak/IC

Benjamin Morse, Staff Reporter

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Every student has faced the dilemma of sitting on campus somewhere, studying in a beautiful green space, only to be forced inside to charge their electronics.

But with the help of the Student Green Fund, that won’t be an issue any longer. The University of Toledo community can now use the sun’s energy to power up their electronics outside.

In spring of 2016, second-year UT student Julia Button wrote a proposal to the UT Student Green Fund for exterior tables with solar panel-equipped umbrellas that harnesses the sun’s energy into attached ports.

These ports can then be used by students to charge whatever electronic devices need it when they are outdoors.

Installed last semester and currently ready to use, the solar panel tables sit outside the Student Union, near the Engineering Campus and on the Health Science Campus, the tables stood ready for student use.

Director of Energy Management, Michael Green, said he understands the benefits of bringing environmentally friendly ideas to fruition.

“It’s a loving, kind, sustainable change,” Green said. “It’s going to have a good, social, positive impact for students.”

According to Green, students may plug in their devices or utilize an absorbable energy charging pad, all while interacting in an outside environment.

Campusgoers have already begun reaping the benefits of the recently constructed tables. First-year student Emily Mahoney said she utilizes the charging station for both means of convenience and interaction.

“It’s a refreshing addition to campus,” Mahoney said. “I was able to charge my cell outside and even meet others at the table. I can see myself, and maybe even a couple of friends, there again sometime soon.”

According to the Student Green Fund webpage, the SGF serves to finance student proposed projects that promote sustainability through an optional five-dollar fee offered at the start of each semester.

SGF Manager Matthew Rader hopes to keep the SGF active and encourages students to bring their eco-friendly proposals forward.

“Any student that has a sustainable idea can present to the fund,” said Rader. “We as a group discuss it, vote on it and approve it.”

According to their grant requirements, any student currently enrolled or recognized student organization may apply for funding from the SGF. University faculty, staff and administrators are also allowed to apply for funding, with the requirement that the funds directly involve one or more students.

Project proposal sheets can be found on SGF’s UToledo webpage.

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UT harnesses solar power for sustainability