On April 8, first-year students in the School for Science and Math at Vanderbilt (SSMV) participated in the annual “Earth, Wind and Fire” tour to learn about energy production and the sustainable features of Vanderbilt’s campus. The Sustainability and Environmental Management Office (SEMO) and Plant Operations act as hosts each year.
Mitch Lampley, director of engineering and technical support for Plant Operations, introduced the students to the Vanderbilt co-generation power plant, discussed Vanderbilt’s utility usage, and showed a video of the underground tunnels.
“I thought today was very fun and refreshing. I was amazed by the engineering throughout the power plant, and it answered many questions that I had about costs for energy and efficiency of power usage on campus,” said Thomas Massion, a student from Hume Fogg Academic Magnet School. The students then toured the power plant and even got a close-up look at the inside of the boilers in full combustion mode.
The students were excited to tour the biodiesel production facility, managed by the VU Alternative Energy Club, where waste vegetable oil from VU dining facilities is turned into biodiesel fuel. Rachel Tudor from Hume Fogg Academic Magnet School said, “It was cool learning more about how Vanderbilt is green. I wish more places could be like here, but now I realize how high the cost is.”
The final stop on the tour was the The Ingram Commons Center where the students ate lunch and were introduced to the sustainable features of a LEED Gold certified building. When asked about his tour experience, student Tahj Starr from Martin Luther King Magnet School said, “It was very interesting to see how Vanderbilt distributes its energy. Also, I liked learning of the different ways that it is energy efficient, especially in the Vanderbilt Commons.”
The School for Science and Math at Vanderbilt is a joint venture between Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools (MNPS). The School offers high school students a four-year, interdisciplinary, research-centered learning experience at one of the nation’s most prestigious universities, where internationally recognized faculty are leading the way in diverse fields of scientific study.
Tiffany Renfro, (615) 322-9022