The Ronald Tutor Campus Center installed 10 of 12 new umbrellas in the Ronald Tutor Campus Center Plaza over winter break. These new umbrellas are outfitted with solar-powered charging systems.
The umbrellas are part of an initiative on the part of the Environmental Student Assembly explained Olivia Pearson, an ESA member and freshman majoring in environmental engineering.
“One of our members submitted an application for the Green Engagement Fund, which is a fund that gives out grants for the environmental projects of students,” Pearson said. “The solar panels are on the umbrellas in the Ronald Tutor Campus Center and near the accounting buildings, and there are power outlets at the base of the umbrella so students can charge their phones and laptops using free energy.”
Five years ago, the Campus Center was recognized as the University’s first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certified building.
According to USC Sustainability, “LEED certification not only focuses on increasing the efficiency and minimizing the waste from buildings but also on the health and well-being of that building’s occupants.”
Currently, the Campus Center has a high solar reflectance index roof and high performance windows to maintain a constant temperature; fluorescent lights that utilize less energy; ultraviolet exhaust hoods that lower the amount of air pollutants; and a food-pulping system that effectively uses food products.
Alexandria Bauer, a freshman majoring in environmental studies, said she’s excited with the strides the University is making toward clean energy.
“I think it’s really great that USC is heading towards the directions of alternative energy,” Bauer said. “It’s a huge step in the right direction, and hopefully this use of solar energy will inspire larger scale uses.”