On Saturday Mar. 26, the Solar Energy Society at USF held their annual Solar Energy Fair. It is an event created to help teach the Tampa community about the latest innovations and technologies offered around the city. At this year’s event, there were Question and Answer panels with University professors and specialists; however, the true heart of the event lies with the students who make it all possible.
This year, two USF graduates presented their research to the public in order to share their new ideas. “I have always been a solar enthusiast,” said Arun Kumar. “I hope that these technologies and my research can be used in Third World countries to help other people.”
New breakthroughs are also coming from female students, such as Francesca Moloney who said: “From an early age I knew I wanted to focus my career on something in the environment.”
Both of these students hope to take their research and implement them at the university and across the Tampa Bay area. If their research and innovations succeed, they hope to apply them around the world. They aspire to build awareness in the community about the research being conducted, so that people can make wiser choices in their everyday lives.
In 2011, the University of South Florida Tampa campus launched the Student Green Energy Fund (SGEF) in order to help make the campus more energy efficient and environmentally friendly.
In its few years at USF, the SGEF has already set up various projects throughout the university such as electric vehicle stations and a campus bike-share project. This year, SGEF plans on creating a bio-diesel fuel in order to replace fossil fuel as an energy source for vehicles on campus.
“It would be used for the Bull Runner buses that travel around the campus,” SGEF Chair, Harold Bower, said. “The goal of the bio-diesel project is to take waste oil from cooking function on campus and process it so it can be burned in the bull runner vehicles as fuel.”
The SGEF plans for the bio-diesel to be made from oil waste collected from campus eating facilities in order to be reused.
“The bio-diesel project I think, in my opinion, one of the best projects you can think of, because we are really being able to mitigate the carbon footprint that we create as a school,” SGEF Inspector, John Pilz, said. “We are able to utilize wastes that would just be going to the trash can.”
The bio-diesel project was awarded $100,000 in funding and is currently in the final stages of its research before implementing the new fuel. If the research shows great results, then students and faculty can expect to be riding bio-diesel buses as early as next fall.
The University of South Florida Tampa campus has been developing its 5 year Strategic Plan in order to create a more “universal” university that provides students with the necessary skills and knowledge to be successful. The USF Center for Strategic and Diplomatic Studies (CSDS) hosts conventions to introduce this plan, with distinguished scholars and professionals on matters of international significance.
On Apr. 20, 2016, CSDS hosted a conference to discuss the Western responses to the refugee crisis, and migration from the Middle East and North Africa.
Cassandra Kenning, an undergraduate intern at the Center says, “The Center for Strategic and Diplomatic Studies hosts these global conferences on USF campus for the students, and unfortunately a lot of students don’t know about the conferences that are happening. We try to hold them all day long starting in the morning till the late or midafternoon so students have the opportunity to come in between their classes. The conferences right now do a really great job at gathering community members to the university to participate.”
At the conference, speakers present their research on specific topics and all the attendees have the opportunity to ask questions. However, the conference isn’t just educational; it also helps bring the community together.
Tiffiany Portacio a student assistant at USF World says, “, I love seeing probably all of the different people that come from all different walks of life.”
Students and faculty can expect new conferences starting Fall 2016, with and new speakers and conference topics. Furthermore, the Center for Strategic and Diplomatic Studies reminds the community that entrance to these conferences is free and open to the public.