Faculty Senate Talks Energy

Faculty members were invited to attend a two-day symposium Nov. 14-15, launching the efforts of the newly formed Research Triangle Energy Consortium, a collaboration of the area’s top universities that is committed to having a major impact on the problems related to energy and the environment. In a presentation to the Faculty Senate on Monday, members of the university’s Energy Council said the new organization is a key element of NC State’s “Year of Energy,” an initiative announced by Chancellor James Oblinger in September to help the university ramp up its focus on energy.

“We all have a slice of this issue of energy and the environment,” said Bill Winner, who leads the council’s academic planning subcommittee. “It’s a community responsibility.”

Winner described potential goals for the Year of Energy, including:

  • Establishing fellowships for projects, seminars and workshops
  • Awarding an energy professor fellowship
  • Recruiting faculty members with special responsibilities for energy programs and curricula
  • Establishing energy prizes for teaching, research and extension
  • Developing new degrees, certificates and minors

Jack Colby, who leads the council’s facilities subcommittee, said the university should adopt an energy policy that makes a commitment to sustainable construction practices. “There’s a notion that we should live and demonstrate on campus the concepts that we pursue in our research,” he said.

Among his other recommendations were:

  • A “Million Dollar Challenge” that would encourage every student and employee to save 15 cents a day in energy costs (thereby saving the university $1 million a year in utility expenses)
  • Refocusing next year’s Earth Day activities around the Year of Energy initiative and expanding the activities to encompass an entire week
  • Partnering with the Environmental Protection Agency to adopt green purchasing standards

Student Body President Bobby Mills also addressed the Faculty Senate, announcing a water conservation challenge students had issued to their counterparts at UNC Chapel Hill. He said students in several dorms have been waging an energy conservation contest this semester.

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