Alfred State College is making the US National Arboretum greener! Five students enrolled in Alfred State College's electrical construction and maintenance electrician program , accompanied by Assistant Professor Jeffrey Stevens , spent their recent spring break in Washington, DC, conducting a four-day workshop that resulted in the installation of a 1 kW solar (electric) array that will power an irrigation system at the United States National Arboretum. This is the first solar-powered system at the Arboretum.
The workshop, attended by folks from all walks of life and levels of experience, ranging from homeowners to engineers and contractors, offered participants not only lectures on theory, but actual hands-on experience in the design, installation, and implementation of the photovoltaic system which proved to be less costly than the installation of traditional electrical wiring.
The partnership between Alfred State College and the US National Arboretum began last June when the college was invited to participate in the second annual Bio Energy Awareness Days (BEAD II) sponsored by the United States Department of Agriculture's Research, Education, and Economics Agency. At that time, Alfred State College caught the attention of Joseph Dunn, then-USDA deputy secretary for research, education and economics, as it highlighted workforce development in renewable energy through organic agriculture and hydroponics with LED lights, and biodiesel reactor, photovoltaic, and wind energy. As a result, ASC and the US National Arboretum committed to a five-year cooperative agreement focused on assisting the Arboretum in its goal to "go green" by incorporating alternative energy sources on its grounds and to assist in one of the Arboretum's mission statement goals of education.
As part of the agreement, Alfred State College and the National Arboretum will continue to install additional solar-powered systems to augment the electric needs of the Arboretum. Additionally, training and workshops will be incorporated with the installations to help raise awareness and to educate the public about the use of renewable energy and its benefits.
Students who accompanied Stevens to Washington included Robert C. Assad, East Aurora: Aaron M. Horning, Webster; Andrew D. Litzinger, Walworth; David L. Paryz, Derby; and Sean P. Kelley, Almond and Wheeling, WV.
Stevens noted, "I am very proud of our students. They not only gained additional experience in their chosen career field but also helped others learn how to utilize this technology. To experience the amount of teaching-learning interaction that occurred over those four days has been one of the most gratifying experiences of my career."
Dr. John M. Anderson, president, Alfred State College, who joined Stevens and the students in Washington near the end of the week, said, "Not only are we proud of our students for the excellent work they did here at the Arboretum, but the experience was a great showcase for the work that goes on at the College."
Alfred State College is also going green ! Students in the electrical construction and maintenance electrician program are exposed to both wind and solar systems on a regular basis. Building trades  students are exposed to green construction, and a green home demonstration project will be built on the Wellsville campus starting fall 2009. Call (607) 587-3101 for further information or training sessions offered at the college on renewable energy.