Spring is just around the corner and you want to enjoy the sunshine. But you have that seven-page paper that you’ve been putting off for so long you can no longer push it aside. Your only choice is to plug in your laptop and stay shackled to the desk inside while a gorgeous day slips through your fingers. Or is it? If you’re a Georgia State University’s Perimeter College student on the Dunwoody campus you’ll soon have a new option no other Georgia State campus has available. Thanks to our Student Government Association President, Blake Rios, and our Facilities Operations Director, solar-powered picnic tables complete with an umbrella designed to provide energy whenever it’s placed outdoors will be coming this spring. The tables have solar panels attached to the umbrella and delivers electricity to USB and electric power outlets that can charge all kinds of portable gadgets.
Early Childhood Education major, Ana Flores, was very excited about the news, she said, “Technology is advancing, and I like it when schools advance because then we advance, too! I care a lot about environmental sciences so being able to walk on campus and see solar panels, that’s not something you normally see on any campus.”
When Facilities Operations wanted to add more tables outside, Rios saw an opportunity to begin a “Green Initiative” at Dunwoody. Once the idea came to him he ran with it, pitched it and in no time staff and faculty were on board with the project. The campus is growing and with it the never ending dance of grabbing a seat near a power outlet to charge cell phones and laptops becomes increasingly difficult. In my one-on-one meeting with Rios, he said it best, “We need better meeting spaces, not just the cafeteria.” And these tables will fulfill that need while saving power by using renewable energy.
Business major, Allyson Higgins, said, “When I first heard about it I thought it sounded pretty interesting. I love sitting outside when it’s nice out and would love to be able to work too, so it seems like a really great idea. I’ve heard about heavy tech upgrades at big universities like Georgia Tech or Emory University, but knowing it’s spreading to campuses like Dunwoody is really exciting.”
The picnic tables would make Dunwoody a “beta campus,” the first of its kind at Georgia State University and, if things go well, our sister campuses might be able to power up their electrical devices without attaching to the grid, too.