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Solar picnic table provides Eco-friendly study area

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Illinois State University students will have a new place to study this fall, while having a sustainable way to charge their devices.

The $11,455 solar-powered picnic table was installed June 26 inside the Bone Student Center interior courtyard.

The courtyard area was selected as the pilot for several reasons including security, drawing people to the courtyard and proximity to Milner Library, Melissa Nergard, director of Campus Sustainability at ISU, said.

“It is a unique product for college campuses and we wanted to highlight the campus efforts toward sustainability with a visible and useful tool,” Nergard said.

The table is constructed from recycled, high-density, polyethylene materials, such as milk jugs. The self-sustaining table features three 45-watt solar panels on it sides and one 100-watt solar panel on top of the umbrella. Outlets are easily accessible and the table also features timer-operated lights under the umbrella.

ISU’s Student Sustainability Committee (SSC) Sustainability Fund was able to provide the solar powered picnic table. Each year the committee has $180,000 to fund sustainability projects on campus.

The table was one of 15 projects funded by the SSC this year. Additional projects include solar trash and recycle bins, an outdoor classroom and Earth month promotions.

“It shows the public that we are taking a step in the right direction and following the go green initiative,” Tom Finnegan, senior engineering technology major, said.

Additional solar powered tables can be funded by individual departments.

Applications can be submitted for any sustainability related project by any student, faculty or staff at Sustainability.IllinoisState.Edu.

(Adam Weiss / Staff Photographer) ISU graduate Kurt Marks is doing work on the new solar powered table that was funded by Office of Sustainabilty.

(Adam Weiss / Staff Photographer) ISU graduate Kurt Marks is doing work on the new solar powered table that was funded by Office of Sustainabilty.

 

 

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