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Kim Seamans, left, and Mike Hwang, senior students in the College of Engineering’s Practice School of Sustainability, take measurements on the Harshbarger rooftop.

On a Rooftop, Students of Invention

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On a Rooftop, Students of Invention

Oct. 28, 2009
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The assignment for the first class of the Practice School of Sustainability is to design a cogeneration system that combines a solar photovoltaic array with water cooling.

One by one, the eight students climbed an iron ladder to the highest part of the roof of the Harshbarger Building. They produced tape measures and cameras and set to work. They frowned at mysterious vents and stacks that cast odd shadows across the flat roof. They had a mission.

The students are the first participants in a College of Engineering senior design project known as the Practice School for Sustainability. The concept behind the practice school, said Glenn Schrader, associate dean for research of the College of Engineering, is to have the students conceptualize and design "projects that work, that make a difference and save energy or water or whatever."


I think sustainability is our biggest challenge. There's no problem that the world faces that isn't going to need engineers to solve it."