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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Solar Cyclists at University of Florida

SolarCycle Week, hosted by the Smathers Libraries, recently wrapped up its week-long series of events, culminating with the arrival of the Solar Cyclists. Groups came together January 25th-31st from all over campus to learn more about sustainability, solar power and the incredible around-the world cycling journey of the Solar Cyclists, Susie Wheeldon and Jamie Vinning.

The program, made possible by the George A. Smathers Libraries in partnership with the UF Office of Sustainability, worked to engage faculty, staff, students and the local community around renewable energy topics.

During the month of January, exhibits were arranged in both Marston Science Library and Library West. The Department of Energy held two workshops, where faculty, staff and local business owners came together to learn how to better navigate and search the many DOE databases. For a copy of the PowerPoint from this workshop please request a copy.

There was also a screening of “The Great Squeeze,” an award-winning documentary exploring at what price modern-day prosperity has come. The event was co-sponsored by the Reitz Union Board and the film is now available for checkout at Library West.

The week came to a close on Thursday with the SolorCycle Expo on the Plaza and the Solar Cyclists’ presentation. Campus and community groups and organizations tabled on the Plaza of the Americas, raising awareness on alternative energy and sustainability. Kathy Viehe of GRU spoke on the Gainesville Solar Feed in Tariff program. Read more about the groundbreaking program here.

In their keynote presentation Wheeldon and Vinning spoke candidly about their cycling journey, how and why it came to fruition, and what it took to make the trip happen. There was a solar book-bag door prize, courtesy of G24 Innovations, followed by a Q&A session. A video of their presentation can be viewed here.

To mark the arrival of the cyclists, members of the Gainesville Cycling Club escorted the pair into Gainesville, while members of the Bikes and More cycling team met at the Reitz Union colonnade to escort the cyclists out of town – despite the rainy Saturday morning – as they continued on their way to Miami and back to the United Kingdom 9 months after embarking on their journey.

For more information on the Solar Cyclists, visit here.