Magazine article Newsweek

At MIT, the Greening of Young Minds

Magazine article Newsweek

At MIT, the Greening of Young Minds

Article excerpt

Byline: Daniel McGinn

It's a Monday night at MIT, just a few weeks before final exams. Grad students Tegin Teich and Todd Schenk could be studying or relaxing. Instead, they're hustling through a maze of basement hallways in search of notorious energy hogs: vending machines. The average soda dispenser consumes 3,500 kilowatts a year--more than four times the juice for a home refrigerator. To conserve electricity, MIT's administrators have been installing devices called Vending Misers, which use motion detectors to turn off a machine's lights and cooling systems when people aren't nearby, cutting energy consumption by 50 percent. Trouble is, MIT isn't exactly sure where all its vending machines are located, or which ones already have the devices installed. So tonight it's enlisted the MIT Energy Club to help figure it out.

It's just one event on the club's very busy calendar. With 750 students, the four-year-old group is MIT's fastest-growing extracurricular organization. Many of its members aim to build careers in "green tech" fields, and club events offer a chance to network and learn about the challenges and opportunities in emerging energy fields. In recent weeks, members had lunch with the U.S. Energy secretary and toured a nuclear reactor. Others discussed national biofuel policy as part of a wonky biweekly discussion held over beer and pizza at a local pub. Club members say the group exposes them to people and ideas from other disciplines; as a result, M. …

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