Students for a Smarter Planet ..leaders with conscience
Student Projects
July 30th, 2014

The beautiful days in Chicago this summer have made me think about how I would love to be able to plug in on Northwestern’s beautiful Lakefill using the power of Solar Energy! In other news, the club is on break for the summer, but our summer fellow, Allie, is busy developing the bracket that will move us one step closer to the completion of our project.

A big challenge in our project is creating something that meets our basic idea (a structure that uses solar energy to charge your phones/laptops), while making sure the rest of our design is not only appealing to look at, but also continues to project ideas of sustainability. A big problem for us was deciding on what sort of seating to install on the tree. We needed something affordable, but we wanted it to look nice, and be sustainable! Our first thoughts were recycled plastic and wood, but we were unable to find a merchant that could give us the sizes and shapes we needed as well as suit our budget. Then one day, SEED (Students for Ecological and Environmental Development at Northwestern University) came to us with an idea. The wanted to create benches that used old plastic bottles as filler. The benches are built from “bricks” that are stuffed with old plastic bottles, non recyclable plastic bags, and plastic wrappers. The benches are low cost and are customized around the SmartTree project! It was perfect for us!

Until next time!

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The medical advances being made today with sensors reminds me of when, as a kid, I watched with rapt attention the movie Fantastic Voyage.

Sensors can monitor implants as they heal or detect early signs of organ rejection after a transplant. A sensor in the human brain could even help people control a prosthesis or use assistive technologies such as wheelchairs.

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The human sensor industry is in its infancy, is this something you could contribute to?

The advantage of being able to constantly collect data about someone’s health would keep hospital costs down by catching diseases early and helping the ill or elderly manage their own health between doctors’ visits.

More about the advances of this technology

Who knows? In a decade, we may all be wearing microchips.  After all, this microchip technology already exists in many of our pets.

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July 29th, 2014

Sometimes leaving the path you’ve chosen can be so very positive!  Read the post by Lavina Melwani on LinkedIn about these two former U Cal Berkeley students, Nikhil Arora and Alejandro Velez, who’ve gone Robert Frost and ‘diverged’ with wonderful success…

Trash Collectors or Environmental Superheroes?

Visit their website and learn more:  Back to the Roots

"Our mission is to make food personal again through the passionate development of tools that educate and inspire, one family at a time."

“Our mission is to make food personal again through the passionate development of tools that educate and inspire, one family at a time.”

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July 25th, 2014

Take a cue from a beloved American childhood story – - “The Little Engine That Could” used the power of positive thinking to achieve her goal and climb the seemingly insurmountable hill that stronger trains than she had failed to scale.  Like the little train, globally we should all be reciting her mantra of “I think I can, I think I can, …” – and we will!

100% Of Dutch Electric Trains Could Run On Renewable Energy BY 2018

See articles on this topic in other publications from around the world (…and maybe find a way to combine your passion for transportation and a paying position within one of the companies/consortiums they mention?)


And, if youLittle Engine‘ve never read this charming book, click on the pic for a quick literature lesson  (nice work Professor Plotnick, University of Illinois at Chicago!!)



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Saint-Gobain has sponsored 7 student teams in the Solar Decathlon Europe 2014 challenge.

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The aim of this international academic architectural competition was to improve education and research in the fields of sustainable architecture and solar energy. This year, 20 student teams representing 41 universities from 16 countries and three continents have presented full-scale prototypes of the sustainable, comfortable, innovative and affordable solar energy houses they designed.

Take a look at the top contenders:

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Check out the career opportunities with Saint-Gobain

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