Sustainable Energy, Student Engagement Intersect at INNOVATE-O-thon

The Ohio State University’s energy partner ENGIE challenged students to help achieve one goal: improve energy efficiency through positive behavioral changes on campus.

The students accepted.

During the latest INNOVATE-O-thon event, nearly 50 undergraduate students from varying disciplines came together, from Feb. 9 to 11 at the Institute for Materials Research (IMR) Innovation Lab on Kinnear Road, to work with representatives from ENGIE and IMR.

There, students formed strategies aimed to inspire fellow classmates to alter their energy consumption habits and, in turn, improve energy efficiency at the Columbus campus.

MR hosted the three-day externship program in collaboration with Ohio State’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Throughout the course of the event, students developed a myriad of concepts that were ultimately pitched to ENGIE, including mobile app and technology-based engagement efforts, education and training programs, awareness campaigns and cross-campus partnerships. Last year's launch of the university's Comprehensive Energy Management Project transferred the operation and management of the central utility systems that heat, cool and power the Columbus campus to Ohio State Energy Partners, a joint venture between Axium Infrastructure and ENGIE.

“I am really glad that ENGIE reached out to students to help with this,” said INNOVATE-O-thon winning group member Lauren Trapani, a second-year student in environment, economy, development and sustainability. “We know what is feasible to change in our behavior and what is infeasible.”

Details about the winning concept and its implementation will be unveiled later this year.