ND Energy announces the 14th annual Notre Dame Energy Week

Author: Barbara Villarosa


The Center for Sustainable Energy at the University of Notre Dame (ND Energy) will host its 14th annual Notre Dame Energy Week from August 23 to 28, 2020. Sponsored by ND Energy and its Student Energy Board, Energy Week aims to raise awareness about major topics and issues surrounding sustainable energy. This year’s theme is environmental justice and includes virtual events and activities focused on improving the health, prosperity, and resiliency of our planet for generations to come.

“We all have a role to play in ensuring the future health of our planet and ensuring that people world-wide have access to reliable, affordable, and sustainable energy sources,” said Peter C. Burns, Henry Massman Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering & Earth Sciences, director of the NNSA Actinide Center of Excellence (ACE), and director of ND Energy. “Energy Week offers an opportunity for the Notre Dame community and others to learn through the knowledge and experience of others and contemplate their own contributions to advancing energy-efficient practices and use.”  

Energy Week kicks off on August 23 at 4:00 p.m. with a virtual film screening of 2040, a 90-minute, forward-looking documentary, open to the Notre Dame community during a 24-hour period. Under the guidance of award-winning director Damon Gameau, the film crew circles the globe looking for the best solutions already being enacted to fight climate change and envisions what the world could be like in the year 2040. There will be a limited number of tickets available to students, faculty, and staff to reserve starting August 17.   

Other programs throughout Energy Week that will be open to the general public and will also require registration include the following presentations:

ND Energy Bouts…Fighting for Renewable Energy
A rematch between reigning champion and solar guru Prashant V. Kamat, Rev. John A. Zahm, C.S.C., Professor of Science in Chemistry and Biochemistry, nuclear aficionado Peter C. Burns, and wind connoisseur Scott C. Morris, professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering, these heavyweight contenders will “fight” their way to the top, while spectators cheer on and vote for the competitor most deserving of the title “Renewable Energy Champion of the Year.” In this debate-like panel discussion, you won’t want to miss the final blow! (August 24, 7-8:15 p.m. EDT)

Notre Dame’s Energy Future…Growing Greener
Paul Kempf, assistant vice president for utilities and maintenance, will discuss the various ways in which Notre Dame has reduced its carbon footprint and its future plans for continued reductions in carbon emissions. This includes the University's collaboration with the city of South Bend to complete a hydroelectric generation facility on the St. Joseph River by summer 2021, as well as the recent partnership with Indiana Michigan Power to construct its largest solar generating facility, St. Joseph Solar Farm, serving the Michiana area. (August 25, 7-8 p.m. EDT)

It Can’t Be Done…Or Can It?
Former Notre Dame professor Patrick Regan, founder and CEO of Crossroads Solar, will share his journey from professor to entrepreneur and how his passion for mitigating climate change is also changing the lives of convicted felons. Notre Dame students who were instrumental in setting up Regan’s factory will also share their personal experiences in moving this vision forward. (August 26, 7-8 p.m. EDT)

The Future of Mobility…Tough Choices Ahead
Michael Noland ‘82, president and general manager of South Shore Line, Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District; Matt Peak, managing director of Energy Systems Network; and Chris Tindal, assistant director of Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiatives, will discuss current initiatives to improve carbon emissions and energy efficiencies in the transportation industry and their impact on economic growth and the future of mobility. This event is co-sponsored and moderated by the MBA club, Net Impact. (August 27, 12-1 p.m. EDT)

The Gift of Solar in Puerto Rico...Philanthropy and Climate Change
Dory Trimble, executive director of the Honnold Foundation, and Arturo Massol Deyá, executive director of Casa Pueblo, will share their story of promoting solar energy for a more equitable world and how their relationship will benefit the mountain town of Adjuntas by creating the first cooperatively managed, community-owned solar microgrid on the island. This event is co-sponsored and moderated by the Puerto Rican Student Association of the University of Notre Dame. (August 27, 7-8 p.m. EDT)

Energy Week will conclude on August 28 at 5 p.m. with an announcement of the winners of the dorm/off-campus digital messaging competition for students. Each dorm is invited to create a digital advertisement focused on the theme of environmental justice. Voting will take place within the Notre Dame community. The top three advertisements will be showcased across campus throughout the academic year.

“Due to Energy Week's conversion to a virtual platform, we wanted to have an activity to get more students involved. The Student Energy Board thought competitions between dorms would be engaging,” said Emma Kerr, an active member of the planning group. “There are many important topics to focus on in the world right now, and we're hoping to stimulate conversation about environmental justice. Our goal is for students to carry this activism throughout the whole year, and we believe Energy Week will be a great kickoff!"

For more information about Energy Week, contact Anne Berges Pillai, education and outreach associate program director, at apillai@nd.edu.

ND Energy is a University Research Center whose mission is to build a better world by creating new energy technologies and systems and educating individuals to help solve the most critical energy challenges facing our world today. For more information, visit the ND Energy website at energy.nd.edu or contact Barbara Villarosa, Business and Communications Program Director, at bvillaro@nd.edu or 574-631-4776.

Originally published by Barbara Villarosa at energy.nd.edu on August 14, 2020.