“This is beautiful to me,” said Jane Woodward, who serves on the program’s advisory board. “This is the 31st year I’ve been connecting people over the topic of energy.”
The Explore Energy program, designed to be an easy, accessible “concierge” service, will serve as a link between students and resources in various energy-related areas across Stanford’s campus. The announcement comes on the heels of other sustainability-focused initiatives launched this year, including Stanford’s new sustainability school and environmental justice minor.
According to Woodward, Explore Energy will work to connect individuals across the University regardless of discipline or department.
“If you’re a student who is interested in being part of the energy solution, our goal is to make it clear what’s possible, what tools and resources Stanford’s offering to you,” Woodward said.
The program has been in the works for several years, and according to Explore Energy program manager Wahila Wilkie, the final product is partially the result of a long-term planning process that concluded in 2018, during which “the administration was struck by how many people wanted sustainability to be a campus-wide focus.”
Managing director of Explore Energy Diana Gragg explained that the problem is intended to be widely accessible.
“You can come at energy from a technological standpoint, or a policy or finance or economic standpoint,” Gragg said. “Energy touches all of us.”
Students, undergraduates and graduates, across all fields of study, can utilize Explore Energy to find topics of interest across campus. “We want this to be as accessible as possible,” Gragg added.
According to program manager Bianca Patel, students can best explore energy-related opportunities through the Explore Energy website, as well as by contacting her and Wilkie.
“There is a personalized connection with students who reach out to me and [Wilkie]. And we’re launching a regular series of social events,” said Patel.
Explore Energy is just one part of Stanford’s efforts to connect students to resources focused on sustainable energy.
Beginning in fall of 2022, the University will roll out an energy-themed dorm in the form of a University Theme House. Students in the dorm will live side-by-side in an environment focused on sustainable energy, where students from across disciplines can connect with one another through their shared interest in energy.
According to the website, the dorm “will host events, workshops, alumni chats and seminars, student-initiated and led workshops and more.” Anyone who is interested in “energy, sustainability, climate change, corporate social responsibility, social equity and justice” is encouraged to apply to live in the dorm.
Director of the Precourt Institute for Energy Yi Cui highlighted the relevance of current sustainability initiatives, citing global efforts to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Energy production poses a significant threat to the climate, Woodward said, and the sector requires researchers who are committed to creating new and sustainable energy initiatives.
“We’re going to have to deliver energy to nine billion people before long. The program aims to develop a generation of energy-literate people who want to change the world,” she said.