Faculty project receives funding from the Associated Colleges of the South
Funds support collaborative projects in Theatre and Environmental Studies
Two projects proposed by Southwestern faculty members have received funding from the Associated Colleges of the South (ACS).
The proposals were funded through the ACS Faculty Renewal Program, which was created in 2008 with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Faculty members were invited to submit proposals for teaching, research or community service projects among ACS schools or within their own institution.
Bill O’Brien, associate professor of physics, and John Ore, professor of theatre, received $7,168 to work with a colleague at Trinity University to develop a course that will be cross-listed between Environmental Studies, Theatre and Physics. The course will focus on energy conservation strategies for the theater, particularly the replacement of incandescent lighting fixtures with systems that use light-emitting diodes (LEDs).
The grant proposal stems from a project Ore began last September to design LED technology for Heather Hall, a small theater on the second floor of the Fine Arts Building. Ore and O’Brien have been working on the project along with four students and two staff members. Ore is working on designing the LED system during his sabbatical this spring and senior physics major Santos Reyes is doing an energy audit of the current incandescent lighting system in Heather Hall as part of his Capstone project, which will be presented in April.
The project’s ultimate goal is to install a renewable energy system on the roof of the Fine Arts Building that will generate electrical energy equal to the needs of the LED lighting system.
The ACS grant money will be used to help pay the students who are working on the project. It also will be used to purchase a solar panel and a wind turbine that can be used as teaching tools. Ore is seeking additional funds to complete the Heather Hall project, which is expected to cost between between $50,000 and $75,000.
Ore said he hopes the project will serve as a model for other colleges that are interested in energy conservation. He and O’Brien will be working on the project with Tim Francis, a member of the Department of Speech and Drama at Trinity. Ore and O’Brien hope to offer their first class in the summer of 2011.