Chapter Feature: ESW-MDC's Solar Charging Station

The ESW chapter at Miami Dade College (MDC) InterAmerican campus is one of our smaller chapters, but they are working on an impressive mobile solar-powered charging station. The project aims to educate the student body about the benefits of renewable energy while providing a convenient place for students to charge their phones and laptops while outside of buildings.

ESW at MDC, along with another student organization, Yes for Environmental Sustainability, wanted to provide a location for students to be able to charge their electronic devices in spots that currently do not have outlets, such as the outside courtyards, while being sustainable and giving back to the campus community. The two organizations designed and developed the solar-powered charging station during the 2014-2015 school year. The charging station consists of three solar panels that charge a battery that is within the station. As long as the battery has charge, students will be able to charge their electronic devices. Additionally, the charging station’s attractive design adds aesthetic value to the MDC campus.  

During the summer of 2015, the solar-powered charging station was damaged and is currently in need of major repairs. The bulk of this semester has been dedicated to acquiring funding for the repairs and beginning the process of fixing the station. The solar-powered charging station was originally completely funded by selling arepas, a Venezuelan flatbread made from ground corn maize, on campus. Due to the damages, the repairs are being partially funded by the arepa fundraisers and budget allocations from MDC’s Student Life.

Originally, the members of ESW at MDC did not think that the solar-powered charging station was popular or well known around campus because not many people outside of ESW talked about it. However, when the station was damaged and had to be taken in for repairs, many students inquired about its whereabouts because they were no longer able to charge their phones and laptops outdoors anymore. All of the questions they were getting about the solar-powered charging station motivated them to get the repairs done quickly and the organizations hope to have it up and running again by the end of the semester.

Overall, the solar-powered charging station is received well by Miami Dade because it is beneficial to the school and the students and it is an attractive addition to the campus environment. Due to the project’s success, next semester ESW at MDC will begin working on building another solar-powered charging station to be placed outside another building on campus. The ESW members at MDC are also focusing on advertising their solar-powered charging station alongside their solar-powered smoothie cart. These projects have brought a lot of attention to the ESW chapter at MDC and their chapter is continuing to grow in numbers and successful projects.