SEI unveils EV charging station, announces new sustainable projects

Author is a member of the Sustainable Energy Initiative. 

The installation of the EV Charging station in the Reid Parking lot. Photo by Joseph Guseman.

Every semester, $5 from every student’s fees goes into a fund controlled by the Sustainable Energy Initiative (SEI) at WCU.

The committee is made up of WCU faculty and staff that want to promote sustainability on campus.

Students and faculty can propose brick and mortar projects like the Electron Garden on the Green, internships and research projects.

At the beginning of the spring 2017 semester, the SEI started working on building an electric vehicle charging station in the parking lot in front of the Reid Building.

Even though there aren’t that many electric vehicles owned by members of the WCU community, SEI members are optimistic that it’s a step in the right direction.

“We’re hoping that it gives students and faculty more options, as well as brings attention to the sustainability movement at WCU,” said Adam Griffin, SEI Project Manager.

New projects were voted on by the SEI committee last week and announced on April 19.

Electron Garden on the Green. Photo by Quinton Walton

Funded projects included an internship with Facilities Management to help with project maintenance over the summer. Mechanical Engineering major Paola Cruz will be completing an internship where she designs a machine that separates recyclables and sorts them into their respective bins.

In the fall, the committee will fund a solar panel picnic table outside of Career Services that will allow for students to plug in their devices while they hang out or study. Three quick-fill water fountains, two in Stillwell and one in the HHS building. The last of the fall projects includes edible trees such as apple trees and other fruit plants to be planted around campus.

The biggest of the projects is the design of a pathway that will run alongside Cullowhee Creek. The proposal was only the planning of the project, after planning, funding will come from the SEI, other groups and higher ups.

The plan is for an additional 0.78 miles to be added to the existing trail throughout campus. Along the pathway, kiosks will be built to educate walkers or runners about small streams, the history of campus, and the sustainable projects already built on campus.

“Students will be involved every step of the way. We want this to be an educational experience for them,” said JP Gannon, project proposer and assistant professor of Geosciences and Natural Resources.

Cullowhee Creek Pathway proposal. Provided by JP Gannon.

For information on these projects, contact Joseph Guseman at