From Oct. 19-23, the NC State Sustainability Office will hold Energy Week, a series of virtual events meant to raise awareness about sustainability and clean energy, as well as the University’s own energy use and research.
With help from the Student Energy Club, NC State University Libraries and other organizations, there are many virtual events students can participate in, including a career fair, panels, presentations and film screenings.
Joseph DeCarolis, a professor in the Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering, and the faculty advisor of the Student Energy Club, is one of many people working to make Energy Week happen. According to DeCarolis, a major aspect of Energy Week is bringing together faculty and students from across campus to start a conversation about sustainability and energy use on campus.
“We were actually named a top ten elite energy university by the American Energy Society,” DeCarolis said. “I think that that just demonstrates that we’re doing good work, but we’re trying to bring attention and visibility to that through Energy Week. There’s a lot of activities for students to learn more about the energy space.”
DeCarolis is speaking during an event in collaboration with the NC State University Libraries’ Research Computing Event Series. He will be talking about his research developing an open source energy system model that allows him to analyze different policy and technology pathways in the United States.
“It’s really targeted to everybody,” DeCarolis said. “I’m not intending it to be a highly technical talk for computer scientists or anything like that. It's really meant to be a general interest talk.”
Aditya Keskar, a third-year Ph.D. student in civil engineering and the co-founder and chair of special initiatives for the Student Energy Club, wants people to know these events are not just for engineering students.
“We have a lot of non-engineering expertise on energy policy, energy justice, and we have a very robust department of communications,” Keskar said. “We need a lot of interdisciplinary collaboration. That's why it's important to bring folks together from different departments.”
The A/V Geeks, founded by NC State alumnus Skip Elsheimer, will host an event with the NC State University Libraries during Energy Week. The A/V Geeks is a company with access to over 25,000 16mm films and provides stock footage, screening events and digitizing services. They will be screening 16mm films from the ‘70s about the energy crisis, which occurred during that decade.
“Each film is around 10-15 minutes long,” Elsheimer said. “Then the expert will give context about what was happening regarding renewable energy and energy in general back in the day.”
Elsheimer said anyone interested in cultural history during the ‘70s would enjoy the event.
“My films talk about what was going on at the time, and I know a lot of people are interested in what was happening in the 70s, from a retro standpoint,” Elsheimer said. “That was one of the big issues, the energy crisis.”
Poole college alumnus Ramsay Huntley will share information about how clean energy affects the corporate world in his event. Huntley leads sustainable finance strategy at Wells Fargo and is the vice president and clean technology and innovation philanthropy program officer of the Wells Fargo Foundation.
“I focus on clean technology,” Huntley said. “I do a lot of work supporting technologies that are either low or zero carbon in nature.”
Huntley’s event will provide an opportunity for students to see what is going on in the energy space in the business world.
“There really are a lot of promising things happening, in my case, in corporate America, but also with startups,” Huntley said. “When I reflect on my own experience as a student, I always found it really helpful to hear about things that were happening outside of campus.”
DeCarolis said starting a conversation about clean energy has always been important, but is especially important now.
“When you look at what we need to do in order to mitigate climate change, we need to undergo deep decarbonization,” DeCarolis said. “I’m not talking about reducing carbon emissions in the U.S. by five or 10%. We need to fundamentally transform our, not just U.S. energy system, but global energy system so that we get to zero emissions by the middle of this century.”
At the end of Energy Week, there will be a live opening for the NC State Energy Week Zine. The Zine is a virtual art gallery with creative submissions from students inspired by the question, “What does energy mean to you?”
Students interested in engineering, business, film, art or communications are encouraged to attend Energy Week events.
If you’re interested in learning more about climate change and renewable energy, you can find more information and register for events on the NC State Energy Collaborative website.