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Posted on Tue, Sep 15, 2009 : 3:04 p.m.

Energy Fest 2009 entices crowd with freebies, gets word out about environmental projects

By Tina Reed

If he’s being completely honest, Jae Chung ended up at Energy Fest 2009 on University of Michigan’s Diag Tuesday afternoon because he didn’t want to go to class.

He was headed to the library when he was seduced by the free food.

And then there were the free compact florescent light bulbs.

“Hey, I’ll probably need them in the future,” said Chung, a political science student, as he filled out an energy quiz at the U-M Center for Sustainable Systems booth to win one of the light bulbs.


He was one of what looked like a few hundred students to stop by a few dozen booths scattered around the Diag this afternoon, much like many of those energetic early-semester events that often draw students cutting through on their way to class.

It was the 14th Annual Energy Fest, which allows different student groups and businesses to share information about environmental conservation and sustainability.


Among the draws, was the ever visual U-M Solar-Powered Car created in 2008, live music, free candy and T-shirt giveaways at some booths. There also was a bag giveaway with the logo of Planet Blue, an initiative to reduce energy usage on campus.

For those who took the time to look, there was also some pretty valuable, cross-discipline information , said nuclear engineering PhD student Doug Fynan.

“Energy is one of the big environmental and societal challenges of our time,” Fynan said. “When people flip their lights on, they have no idea where that power comes from”

He was helping to run the nuclear energy booth, but also was taking some time to check out other booths like the one run by Brighton business The Green Panel. That booth had a solar panel about the size of two flattened duffel bags that was running a laptop at the booth.

If a person were to invest in 10 of those panels, they easily could power a 2,000-square-foot house, said Michelle Klassen, a sales engineer from the company.

Over at the Center for Sustainable Systems (CSS) booth, Chung was among about a dozen undergraduates who were studying the fact boards for information about energy supply and consumption in the U.S. for answers to the quiz.

Nearby, CSS program coordinator Helaine Hunscher stood ready to check their answers and pass out the lightbulbs. She was pleasantly surprised about how well the incentive worked.

“This is the generation that has their whole lives ahead of them and they are more well trained in environmental information," she said.

Chung said he hadn't planned on attending the Energy Fest. But to be honest, he was glad he stumbled upon it.

“I’m interested in clean energy and the factors that influence it … like business and government.”

Tina Reed reports on health and the environment reporter for Ann You can reach her at or find her on Twitter @TreedinAA.

Photos: Top: Jack Edelstein of Planet Blue talks with prospective University of Michigan Business School student Peter Schulte of Germany about the difference in energy use between incandescent and Compact Fluorescent light bulbs at Energy Fest 2009 put on by University of Michigan's Utilities & Plant Engineering in the U-M diag in Ann Arbor, Mich. on Sept. 15, 2009. Bottom: Solar car team members, from left, Sarah Avellar, Rachel Kramer, and Gabriel Arroyo stand with University of Michigan student Evan Johnson alongside U-M's solar car at Energy Fest 2009.

Angela J. Cesere |



Tue, Sep 15, 2009 : 6:59 p.m.

Excellent Post! You should keep up with the Green Trends Tina, I love reading about Green Technology. :)