From right here on campus to as far as Puerto Rico, ND Energy Week promotes sustainability through a variety of community outreach programs. In mid-September, ND Energy sponsored its 16th annual ND Energy Week, which ran for 10 days. Anne Berges Pillai, advisor to the energy studies minor and coordinator of ND Energy’s community outreach programs, helped to organize the week’s events. “ND Energy tries to bring together a community of people interested in energy. Our natural focus is campus, but there are events that we feel the public might be interested in, and if possible, we like them to attend too,” said Berges Pillai.
One of the week’s events was termed “Weigh the Waste Nights.” Volunteers collected and weighed unfinished food from students’ plates. The goal was to promote awareness around food waste on campus, specifically in the dining halls.
“It was pretty impactful to visually see my waste,” sophomore Megan Gehl said. “It made me feel like I should be more conscious of taking extra food that I won’t eat.”
When asked about her favorite Energy Week event, Berges Pillai noted the recent “What Would You Fight For?” segment — which highlights Notre Dame alumni and faculty working to solve global issues — broadcasted during the Notre Dame game against Cal on Sept. 17. The segment featured Casa Pueblo, a community organization based in Puerto Rico.
“We have a strong relationship with Casa Pueblo,” Berges Pillai said. “In the spring, we take students down to Puerto Rico to learn about how they are working to solve their energy problems. Casa Pueblo’s goal is to put solar panels on every roof. That way, when hurricanes come through, there are no wires to be knocked down, and as soon as the clouds pass, they have energy again.”
ND Energy Week serves to educate and promote awareness around sustainability efforts on campus. It highlights the many ways Notre Dame has embraced sustainability and also serves as a reminder of the steps that still need to be taken.