A new picnic table has taken up residence on the south walkway near the Plaza 900 dining hall.
The table, called a Solar Dok, is a solar-powered station produced by EnerFusion for charging cellphones, laptops and other devices.
Solar energy is collected through photovoltaic panels on top of the table and stored in the base to be used to power students’ gadgets.
The number of students using the table has been limited since its installation. Reviews among students are mixed since the table is still relatively new to campus.
“The location of the table seems a bit odd since it’s right along a walkway and everyone eating at Plaza 900 can look at you while you attempt to study. It definitely doesn’t seem like a study spot, more of a spot to socialize,” freshman Sam Rourke said.
However, many students are enticed by the new opportunity to utilize renewable energy.
“I think that the table is a great way for students to learn about sustainability and become aware of ways that they can benefit from alternative sources of energy,” freshman Erin Burris said.
Solar Doks produce an entirely self-sustaining, renewable source of energy, and are made from recycled materials. The Dok stores electrical energy in batteries and can be used when the sun is shining, as well as during the evening.
The Solar Dok was funded by a grant from the Student Fee Capital Improvement Committee and is sponsored by MU’s Campus Facilities, Sustainability Office and Campus Dining Services.
The table is another step in the University’s efforts to make the campus more sustainable and increase student awareness of green energy.
“Most of the things we’re doing with sustainability are hard to see. We want to get the word out to people about renewable energy, so the table is a demonstration project. It’s off the grid and something people can see right there in front of them and understand that we can produce electricity without using a power plant,” said Steve Burdic, Sustainability Office coordinator.
Depending on the reception of the Solar Dok among students, the Sustainability Office may install additional tables. Students can send comments and opinions about the table to Steve Burdic at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo by Meghan Eldridge