CEF calls for action

  The Clean Energy Fund’s (CEF) annual Call for Ideas is searching for contribution from students, faculty and staff on opinions to reduce UVM’s ecological footprint. This input will generate project ideas for improvement in education, research and infrastructure, according to the UVM Office of Sustainability’s website. The CEF’s goal is to add new courses on renewable forms of energy, studies towards sustainability and installation of energy technologies, the website stated. “We are looking for ideas that promote renewable energy on campus,” graduate student Kate Blofson said. “Everyone is welcome to submit innovative ideas that will push solar, wind and geothermal forms of energy.” Ideas that have been submitted so far range from elliptical machines that generate electricity to a zero-emissions racecar for collegiate competitions, Blofson said. She also emphasized the Call for Ideas mission statement.  “We want to help build student participation, understanding and leadership in the energy field,” she said. The CEF began in 2008 by students who were willing to put down a $10 fee per semester to move UVM towards reducing its carbon footprint through greener forms of energy, according to the website. Some of the most visible projects of the CEF include the 17 solar tracks that provide 20 percent of the energy required to power the George D. Aiken Center and the Virtual Solar Carport Course, a course module on sustainable transportation systems, the website stated. Students can either submit ideas or vote on those submitted by others, according to the website.  “This year, anyone who submits an idea that makes it to the later rounds will be able to speak directly to the committee to further elaborate on them,” senior Alex McConaghy said. The CEF committee received 63 ideas last year, but some were difficult to understand unless they were fully explained by the person who submitted it, he said. Ideas that are approved will be implemented as soon as possible, McConaghy said. Proposals such as new courses and internships can be enabled as quickly as the next spring or fall semester. “Installation and infrastructure ideas could take a little longer, since it can take longer to get them approved,” he said. “These proposals will benefit the campus and students directly. We are looking to have direct collaboration from those who submit the ideas.” Students who are interested can submit their ideas by the Nov. 15 deadline by visiting www.uvm.edu/sustain/clean-energy-fund/share-your-cef-project-ideas