“Lighting the Way” Event Highlights Campus Sustainability Efforts

Posted January 31st, 2013 at 3:33 pm.

The Sustainability Leadership Group celebrated the one-year anniversary of the LED light bulbs in the Thomas Great Hall chandelier on Tuesday. Since being installed, the lights have not yet required changing.

The “Lighting the Way” celebration, co-hosted by the Noyce Math and Science Teacher Scholarship program, featured a talk by David Shiller, an environmental activist turned sustainable lighting expert who has designed bulbs specifically for Bryn Mawr, as well as the debut of the Bryn Mawr College Sustainability Campus Tour for prospective students.

The celebration began with the tour, which was designed by several students, and concluded in the newly renovated Brecon Hall dormitory, where a “virtual ribbon-cutting” was held and the building’s last two LED light bulbs were screwed in. These bulbs make Brecon the first all-LED lighted building on campus. The bulbs, designed by Shiller, are energy-efficient yet produce the equivalent of a 160-watt bulb. The College is the first place to use the design. “We will definitely be the first, but will definitely not be the last,” said Associate Director of Facilities Services for Project Management and Energy James McGaffin.

At the ribbon cutting, President Jane McAuliffe presented the College electricians certificates of appreciation for their work in the lighting sustainability efforts. She also praised Sustainability Leadership Group members Chief Administration Officer Jerry Berenson, Mathematics Professor Victor Donnay, Sustainability Intern Lee McClenon ’14, and McGaffin for their efforts across campus.

“They say that necessity is the mother of invention and this is the true product of invention and innovation,” said McAuliffe. “We start at Brecon but we don’t stop.”
Residents of Brecon reacted positively to the noticeable change in building lighting. “I flipped on my light switch after coming back from winter break and it was so bright — it was great,” said McClenon.

During his remarks, Shiller, who owns his own consulting business devoted to energy-efficient lighting solutions stressed to students the value of generalizing their skills rather than focusing solely on a specialized career and urged defining career aspirations via a mission rather than a job title. “I think a Mawrter should have a mission,” he said.

As a special message to STEM students, using his own youthful absorption in physics as an example, he stressed the importance of networking and social skills. “Social skills can and should be learned — don’t become socially stunted. Learn how to network,” he urged.

Shiller also stressed the importance of strategy and long-term solutions as a step beyond protesting. “Protesting is fine as a short-term solution, but be in the practice of creating and promoting solutions,” he said. “That is where the money is and that is where the impact is.”

At the conclusion of the talk, Shiller and Donnay presented certificates of achievement to the first class of scholars from the Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program of the National Science Foundation at Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges: Dominique DeLeon (Hfd ‘12), Dorothy Shu ‘13, Evren Cakir (Hfd ‘12), Hannah Weinstein ‘13, and Tasnim Aziz ‘13.

The campus sustainability tour was designed in cooperation with the Admissions Office by students with Environmental Studies minors as part of the Fall 2012 senior seminar. Jacinda Tran ’13 and Hannah Rosebrock ’13 led the inaugural tour on Tuesday. Rosebrock highlighted the benefits of the tour in promoting the joint efforts of campus groups to prospective students. “It connects all these different groups on campus and promotes collaboration,” she said. Added Tran: “It raises efforts about sustainability efforts on campus.”

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