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Students' Green Fund Supports New Alternative Energy Education in ECE

Students' Green Fund Supports New Alternative Energy Education in ECE

The University of Maryland Campus Green Fund has awarded a campus sustainability grant to the Maryland Educational Solar Array (MESA), a new alternative energy project in the A.V. Williams Building within the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE). The project, which is being organized by Director of Technical Operations Bryan Quinn ('01), received $30,000 in funding, the largest of the six sustainability grants announced yesterday.

In 2007, undergraduate students voted for a $4-per-year fee to be put into a fund to support university projects, capping the fee at $12. Last year, they used $98,000 to purchase 66,000 renewable energy credits, or RECs. It is enough green power to meet 26 percent of the university's electricity use. Buying the RECs from Washington Gas and Energy Services allows Maryland reduce its carbon footprint.

The University Sustainability Council, created in August 2009 by former President Dan Mote, put out the fund's first call for project proposals last fall and received more than two dozen applications for a portion of the $148,000 available.

The selection committee, comprised of four students and four faculty or staff members, chose projects that demonstrate a range of approaches to sustainability and best address the university's priorities in a measurable way. Proposals also needed to outline outreach opportunities.

Quinn '01 hopes to begin working with faculty members this semester to develop two courses: one undergraduate overview and one junior-level lab, to teach the design of alternative energy sources.

Quinn and colleagues are also building a mobile solar energy unit to take to schools and civic groups.

"The most gratifying thing is students are saying they want this; they gave their money to fund these projects," says Quinn, who had been seeking for support for these projects from external sources.

The MESA alternative energy lab is in need of additional support. For more information on how you can support the MESA project, please contact Ted Knight (, Asante Shakuur (, or Bryan Quinn (

February 16, 2011

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