Using Sunlight to Build Community

Students can now recharge themselves and their tablets with a little barbecue, bonfire and solar energy thanks to the new Student Solar Plaza at the U’s Shoreline Ridge apartments. The plaza features eight canopies lined with 32 panels that provide students with shade and an environmentally friendly energy source that helps decrease campus electric costs. Environmental and sustainability studies major Jenna Matsumura spearheaded the project, securing a $35,000 grant from the Sustainable Campus Initiative Fund to help fund the project. Producing 8,681 kWh of energy per year, which could power the average family home for almost a year, the plaza is a success in terms of sustainability. But, as Matsumura noted, it’s also “helped foster a strong community presence and engagement.”

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