Notre Dame hosts annual Energy Week
Max Lander | Tuesday, September 18, 2018
This week marks the beginning of the 12th ND Energy Week, a series of talks and events meant to raise awareness about energy and sustainability across campus.
These events will include lectures from both Notre Dame professors and guest speakers, tours of power facilities and documentaries and interactive talks about what it’s like to work in the energy sector. All events are designed to inform students from all majors about different kinds of energy as well as the business and policies that surround energy and sustainability.
Anne Berges Pillai, education and outreach associate program director at ND Energy and one of the organizers of Energy Week, said one of the week’s major goals is to spread knowledge about energy and related issues to students and parts of campus who may not otherwise be exposed to the topic.
“We definitely want to get as many people engaged as we can,” she said. “This year especially, we have a lot of topics that are related a lot to policy to try and engage parts of campus that maybe haven’t really thought about energy that much before.”
In keeping with this goal, the events constituting Energy Week will engage a diverse number of energy related topics. For instance, there will be a lecture delivered by a guest speaker from Kodiak, Alaska, one of only five places in the United States which uses nearly 100 percent renewable electricity. There will also be a guest speaker from Puerto Rico, as well as a showing of a documentary on Hurricane Maria. Both events are meant to examine the power situation on the island.
It’s important to be informed about energy and how it works, especially considering that many important energy decisions take place on a local, rather than federal level, Pillai said. This issue was at the center of a talk hosted during last year’s Energy Week between South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Mayor James Brainard from Carmel, Ind.
Breanna Belz, a junior on the student energy board, said Energy Week programming has a wide focus.
“Of course we have a lot of people from the College of Science and Engineering who deliver lots of technical talks about different forms of energy, but then we also have a lot of people from the College of Business that are big names and that a lot of our students know who talk more on the policy side and the business side,” Belz said. “Like how can these different methods of energy generation succeed? It’s not all about the science, a lot of it is implementation, politics, companies and money.”
While many of the events and topics will be especially relevant to students studying energy, sustainability, business and economics, energy is a topic that affects everyone and one that everyone should be informed about, Pillai explained.
“We have been reaching out and trying to convince everyone that they can play a role, either as an intelligent citizen who knows about the issues or by doing what they can in their own home,” she said. “It’s a personal responsibility thing, it doesn’t matter what your major is.”