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Campus tech creating sustainable future

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Posted: Wednesday, January 20, 2010 9:00 pm

After one of the pioneers of campus sustainability left the school last year, Information Technology services, as well as other campus groups, are continuing his project to a create a more eco-friendly future.

Last year Phil Appel initiated the "Green Switch" project, with the aim of saving money and power by  eliminating wasteful use of energy. The Green Switch is a light switch that controls whether power is flowing to specific outlets.

Appel has since left, but other technology services on campus are working to continue what he started.

Now, the School of Engineering and the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), a student-run organization, are undertaking the process of testing and evaluating the power usage at Gonzaga.

"Information technology is still under evaluation at the School of Engineering, but is not implemented," said Chris Gill, Chief Information Officer at ITS.

They have begun a basic new computer installment that works to save energy when appliances are not in use.

"We have begun using green hook strips, which is almost the same concept," Gill said. "There is a control box that turns off power outlets automatically, and then allows them to come back on, monitoring activity."

Another way information technology services has looked to conserve energy is by using less power for more servers. Greg Francis, the director of Central Computing, has been involved in compressing the servers to operate under the power of one server, to save energy at individual workstations.

"What I have been working with involves working mainly with workstations," Francis said. "We have been compressing several servers to operate under the same power as one server."

Jim Jones has taken over the job of creating a more sustainable campus through technology. Jones, Gonzaga's information technology Security Manager, has been working and continuing the Green Switch project.

Another group that has been directly involved with the Green Switch is AASHE, a nation-wide organization. The president of Gonzaga's club, Justin Robert, helped lead this project that directly worked with smart switch supplements and the smart computer paperwork that were directly presented to former Gonzaga President Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J.

"It is totally student driven. I, and a couple other professors, acted to fix certain issues, but it was more

of a student-driven project," said Patrick Nowacki, Manager of the Herak Engineering and Computer Center,  who also helped with the project.

Students, technology services, professors, and Spokane community members are all involved with helping pursue a path towards sustainability and energy conservation at Gonzaga.


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