The International Solar Energy Society (ISES) hosted their third annual solar fair at the University of South Florida on March 21 in hopes to educate the community on solar energy.
The event included free food, informational seminars about solar panels and tours of the on campus Flex house and solar panel field for the community.
Rick Garrity, an environmental scientist, estimates the payback on the amount of money owed by individuals for solar panels lies around eight years.
“Between 0 years and 8 years the payments are paying off the system but you are getting the electricity, so your energy bills from the Tampa electric company have gone down by a significant amount,” Garrity said.
USF student and vice president of ISES, Kahveh Saramout, plans on including more activities in the future for the solar fair.
“We think the solar fair went very well but we definitely have higher ambitions for next year,” Saramout said. “We want to have a tour that encompasses a larger part of Tampa, hopefully with busses that shuttle us around to different TECO power plants.”
ISES member Nicholas Hall felt that one of the most memorable moments of the solar fair included guest speaker and USF professor Dr. Goswami.
“He introduced the solar energy fair by himself he was one of the most revered speakers. Many of the vendors that showed up actually knew him and are very proud of the work that he has done in the community,” Hall said.
Keep an eye out for next year’s solar fair with even more activities and fun for the entire family.
Saori Murphy and Larry Busby had their work chosen for display outside the Straz Center as part of the Veterans Art Exhibit: Reintegration and Resilience.
“Being around the Straz and having people see that – there is a little bit of vulnerability that you kind of feel vulnerable that people see parts of yourselves,” said Murphy. “But at the same time I’m feeling really honored and respected in a way that people had come up and approached me along with other veterans.”
Murphy’s favorite piece of artwork currently on display is called A Choice. It began as a black and white exhibit that, over time, was filled with beautiful colors which represented her emotional transformation.
“What was my inspiration for making art? Suicide. I am a suicide survivor,” said Busby. “I started getting the help I need because I was suffering from severe depression and alcoholism. That started my journey.”
After seeking help for his depression, it was suggested that Busby choose a hobby. So, he picked up his camera 30 years after being a former Navy photographer’s aid.
“I’m in a zen-like state,” said. Busby. “I’m focused on what I’m doing and the rest of the world just disappears. It just melts away and I kind of like that. It’s meditation. It’s therapy. It’s cool.”
Both Busby and Murphy see the importance in seeking help and want others to do the same. Their artwork is on display for free at the Riverwalk in Downtown Tampa until March 15th.
The University of South Florida’s Institute on Black Life celebrated their 30th Anniversary Symposium on Feb. 9 at the Alumni Center.
Highlighting research and promoting knowledge of Africa and the diaspora, or removal from ones homeland, is their main purpose. They believe this research will provide students with a larger perspective on the world.
Cheryl Rodriguez, director of the USF Institute on Black Life said African culture is everywhere in the world today.
“One of the things that we really need to try to understand in terms of Africa, is that through the transatlantic slave trade, people of African descent were spread all over the world.” Rodriguez said. “Even today, we have people who come from the African continent and go to different parts of the world like Europe, Asia and Latin America. Those travels, that spreading, leads to many different remarkable outcomes.”
African folk dancers were in attendance to help the community experience African traditions and culture.
“My grandparents came to the United States in the early part of the 20th century from Cuba, so I am a third generation American.” Rodriguez said. “I think that our stories of making a life in America are very very important.”
Uwezo E. Sudan is a griot, which is a human repository of oral knowledge and West African history.Sudan said having a craze for making a change is all you need to become involved with their cause.
“How can people become involved? I think the first thing you need to do is probably begin to have a passion for justice,” Sudan said. “And begin to understand that you can make a difference no matter where you are.”