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Honors Program Hosts “Green Energy, Green Revolution, Green Jobs” Institute

Submitted by on November 4, 2010 – 7:27 amNo Comment
Dr. Kevin COoper, director, Indian River State College Banner Center, will speak about green industries during the day institute.

Dr. Kevin Cooper, director, Indian River State College Banner Center, will speak about green industries during the day institute.

Florida Campus Compact and the South Florida Community College Honors Program will host a Day Institute on, “Green Energy, Green Revolution, Green Jobs,” Friday, Nov. 5, 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m., in the SFCC University Center Auditorium, Highlands Campus. Following the institute, a workshop will be held for any SFCC faculty that is interested in incorporating service-learning into their programs.

The Day Institute will focus on broadening student, faculty, and community participation in green service-learning projects while promoting awareness of the biofuels industry and other green jobs for Highlands County. Guest speakers include Dan P. Murphy, director, Highlands County Economic Development Commission, who will speak on the economic future of Highlands County; Dr. Kevin Cooper, director, Indian River State College Banner Center for Energy, who will focus on green industries, solar panels, and start-ups and technology training for small businesses; and Dr. John Alleyne, Highlands County UF/IFAS Agricultural Extension, who will speak about ongoing biofuels research and its potential for green jobs.

The term “biofuels” covers a wide range of fuels derived from plant materials. They are increasingly important as alternative energy and fuel sources. Two years ago, students from the SFCC Honors Program began participating through their service-learning program in biofuels research run by Dr. Alleyne. The goal of this research is to develop non-food plants that can be grown commercially in Highlands County for biofuels. These non-food biofuel crops can be grown on poorer soils not suitable for food crops.

This alternative form of energy is also expected to positively impact Highlands County’s economy by bringing more jobs into the area. “Next year, we will break ground on the Vercipia plant that will use cellulose and another that will use sorghum and sugar cane to produce ethanol,” said Dan Murphy, director, Highlands County Economic Development Commission. “We expect the two plants to create at least 150 high-paying, high-skill jobs in Highlands County.”

“The need for alternative fuels became front and center when gasoline went to $4 a gallon two years ago,” said Dr. Charlotte Pressler, coordinator, SFCC Honors Program. “The economy was collapsing, while the price of gasoline almost doubled.”

The Day Institute is sponsored by Florida Campus Compact, a membership organization of over 50 college and university presidents committed to helping students develop the values and skills of active citizenship through participation in public and community service.  The institute is funded by a grant from Learn and Serve America and the Corporation for National and Community Service STEM Higher Education FY 10 initiative.

For more information about this program, contact Dr. Pressler, at 863-784-7247.

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