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Green Briefs

Green BriefsA quick look at some of the green happenings in the undergraduate community.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [02.22.10] This semester, the Experimental College course schedule is going green. Three spring courses, two of which are taught by students, span issues of sustainability, alternative energy and environmental action.

Opting for the Alternative
Few English or history majors can say they've built a turbine and solar panel-powered city made entirely out of LEGOs. However, for students in Timothy Lannin's (E'11) course "Modeling Alternative Energy: Engineering for Non-engineers," creating sustainable energy sources with the building blocks is a top course goal.

In fact, Lannin's course is built precisely for liberal arts students, many of whom have not had the same exposure to technical projects as their engineering peers.

"Alternative energy is a very hot topic, and it's something that everyone should know about," says Lannin. "My course focuses on the engineering challenges, because there are plenty of people here at Tufts who talk about policy, but there's not really much for non-engineers on the actual technical challenges."

With various labs and class projects, Lannin's course focuses on learning about alternative energy sources through application.

"The thing I'm most looking forward to is actually seeing the students come up with a design using their own imagination, using the LEGOs that we have available, and seeing them build a functional machine that can generate electricity," said Lannin.

Energy Gets Social
"Energy and Society," an interdisciplinary course co-taught by economics majors Tyler Cooper (A'11) and Ekaterina Titova (A'11), examines the energy technology industry through various academic lenses, including anthropological, political and economic. By looking at a historical overview of the global energy market, the instructors hope students will develop a greater understanding of issues such as climate change.

"We hope to make students more aware of energy issues and to make sense of a lot of the policy decisions or the debates that happen in public," said Cooper. "A lot of times, what they're hearing is either misinformation, or very confused politicians."

Stories by Charlotte Steinway (A'10)

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