Susty Tour: The MAAC’s Solar Array

Susty Tour: The MAAC’s Solar Array

I posted previously about RecycleMania has Begun! in an effort to win a nation-wide recycling contest. Being a student on the Sustainability Advisory Committee, several other students and I had to present at the Emerging Leaders on Campus conference, our presentation being about Leaving & Sustaining a Legacy on Mount Union’s Campus. Through serving on this … Read more

I posted previously about RecycleMania has Begun! in an effort to win a nation-wide recycling contest. Being a student on the Sustainability Advisory Committee, several other students and I had to present at the Emerging Leaders on Campus conference, our presentation being about Leaving & Sustaining a Legacy on Mount Union’s Campus. Through serving on this committee I have found out about many of the initiatives on campus, moving us in a green direction.

I plan to do several posts highlighting sustainability at Mount Union, the “Susty Tour” if you will. For instance, the huge solar array on the roof of the MAAC.

A total of 230 feet of the Peterson Field House roof is covered by the solar panels, which are manufactured by Uni-Solar in Detroit and are being installed by Commercial Siding and Maintenance of Painesville. However, passers-by may not even recognize the new roof as being covered in solar panels. Each panel measures 18 feet long and 15.5 inches wide. A panel is less than an eighth of an inch thick and is fastened to the metal roof with an adhesive.

Each of the panels will produce 136 watts. Overall, they will make up a 54-kilowatt system and will produce enough energy to power seven average-sized houses for one year, according to Jason Watts of Sheffield Metals, which is the supplier of the roofing materials and solar panels.

This solar array is currently generating enough electricity to power several average size homes, and is the largest single solar array in the state of Ohio. The solar panel system is also generating most of the energy that powers the fitness center, which includes 16 flat panel televisions, 16 treadmills and 14 ellipticals. The panels will also produce energy from dawn to dusk and are still over 80% efficient with as much as 2 inches of snow covering them. A great feature for snowy Ohio!

Here is an Installation Summary and some technical details provided by AASHE (the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education):

  • Installed in 2010 at University of Mount Union in Alliance, OH
  • Estimated Annual Utility Savings: 5400
  • Capacity: 58 kilowatts
  • Annual Production: 63,000 kWh
  • Installation Type: Roof top mount
  • PV Panel Type (8) Uni-Solar PVL-136 136-watt thin-film amorphous silicon PV laminate (6.3% peak efficiency)
  • Inverter Type (8) Sunny Boy 7000US inverters.

Additional Notes:
The project is part of the $17.5 million renovation to the McPherson Academic and Athletic Complex (MAAC). It was made possible through an anonymous investor and grants which are available due to the initiative to have 25% of the state’s power be generated through renewable energy sources by 2025.

Thanks to AASHE and Mount Union for the resources.

Thinking About Tuscania

Thinking About Tuscania

Yesterday for Travel Writing and Studio Art class we ventured to the town of Tuscania. When checking out Tuscania before our expedition, I found that it was called Toscanella until the 19th century. The town was founded by a man named Ascanius. It is said that he found 12 pups in town; hence the name … Read more

Yesterday for Travel Writing and Studio Art class we ventured to the town of Tuscania. When checking out Tuscania before our expedition, I found that it was called Toscanella until the 19th century. The town was founded by a man named Ascanius. It is said that he found 12 pups in town; hence the name Tuscania, as the Latin word for dog is “canis.” The city was built during the 7th century and was mainly important because of its “strategic position” compared to surrounding cities, which aided citizens of the town during Greek invasions.

saint peter

We got the chance to see the Church of Saint Peter (San Pietro), which is considered one of the most beautiful churches in the Lazio region. Kevin and Tyler were insistent on me squeezing in between metal bars in the basement, leading into complete darkness… just for fun. Regardless of the fact that it was near impossible for even a lanky seven year old to fit in between the bars, the thought of successfully squeezing in to find that I was then stuck inside the black hole of darkness, surrounded by either rats or dead corpses, just didn’t seem like an appealing thing to do on your average Tuesday in Italy. After continuous begging and pleading, I made a deal with Tyler that I would come back to Tuscania and go through the bars to the other side. First, he just has to fly to Paris, go to the Eiffel Tower, buy a Nutella banana crepe and bring it back for me. Oh, and it has to be warm of course. We shook on it, so it’s official. And the waiting begins.

santa maria maggiore

We also got the chance to see the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore. This is actually my favorite church I have seen so far in Italy! It was so interesting on the outside and really different from all of the other churches I have come across in Europe. I read that the two columns at the entrance were actually copied from the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem. I have always found that it is the unexpected, spontaneous or unique things that end up being my favorite and most memorable. I believe I took up to 10 of the same exact picture of this church in hopes that I wouldn’t forget it.

tuscania

When posting a blog the other day, a quote by Gustave Flaubert appeared to the side of my screen. The quote read, “The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.” While I was walking around Tuscania, I was taking in the city while snapping away with my camera, but I never took the time to sit down and reflect on how I felt about the town. Now that I sit here to write, I realize that Tuscania left me with many questions. While exploring, we seemed to be the only ones on the streets. Most of the little shops were closed, it was a dreary and rainy day and there were black crows looming all around the towering buildings. The town was mysterious and eerie. Where was everyone? Why wasn’t anyone on the streets like in Viterbo? As the town has remained ancient through the years, do the citizens here live life just as they did back in the 7th century? Looking back at and reflecting on my pictures taken, I now appreciate the beauty and mystery of the town even more. You can’t see anything like those churches in Ohio, let alone the United States. All of my questions have left me wishing that for just a day I could go back to the 7th century and see how the citizens of Tuscania lived and find some answers!

Spring Break

Spring break is right around the corner and is definitely much needed! This week is midterms week, which means living in the library like it’s finals and being stressed like no other. It’s worse when you have two exams on one day too because you have to prioritize one over the other. Thankfully though I … Read more

Spring break is right around the corner and is definitely much needed! This week is midterms week, which means living in the library like it’s finals and being stressed like no other. It’s worse when you have two exams on one day too because you have to prioritize one over the other. Thankfully though I can go home for a week of relaxation after it is all over. Since I live far away I did not want to try to travel anywhere for spring break because then I would not see my family for almost five months. Also, my birthday was this past weekend and my friends and family from home want to celebrate. Unfortunately over spring break my dad will be out of town. I got lucky with the timing though for my sister’s school play. I will be home Friday night and her play is Saturday night so I will be back just in time! So far I already have made plans with my friends for Saturday, Sunday and Monday, which I am very excited about. Most of my friends from home are still in high school though so they can’t hang out during the week because they have school. It will be nice to just hangout at home though and sleep and wait for my sisters to get home from school. I am looking forward to it a lot. The Saturday right before I leave to come back to school my family is going to have a little birthday celebration for me as well. I would like to go ice skating before I leave because I did not get the opportunity to over Christmas break, and some of my friends really hate ice skating because they don’t have the greatest balance. I’m curious to see if it’s warm at home since it’s still snowing here practically every other day. This weekend it actually snowed a good bit, which I wasn’t expecting. My grandparents are in Pittsburgh right now and they also said how it has been snowing often there.

Spring break will come and go though in the blink of an eye and I’ll be back up here to Mount Union. Not all of my professors are giving us a break and I have some homework that’s due the week I come back. Two classes have reading for the Monday I come back and my other class has a paper outline due the Thursday we come back. I don’t know how motivated I will be to do either of those things over spring break though. I liked the thought of doing absolutely nothing since I’m not working. If I come home on the train I will definitely be doing the work that Sunday on the 16-hour ride!

After spring break we have seven weeks left until the end of the semester, which is a crazy thought!! I cannot believe I am almost done with my freshman year! Where did the time go?! If all four years go this fast I really will be a senior in the blink of an eye. I feel like time has sped up since high school, and I thought that flew by! I wish there was a way to slow down time, but instead I just cherish every moment because I know how limited time is. Don’t get me wrong, I am looking forward to summer a lot but at the same time I’m not ready to be away from my friends for four months! It’s one of those catch 22  situations. For all of you graduating high school seniors, make the most of your summer because it will go by faster than you want it to and before you know it you’ll be moving away (hopefully to Mount Union!).

Why Hello, Spring!

Why Hello, Spring!

It is officially March and yesterday was the perfect spring day in Viterbo. It was about 55 degrees and there were no clouds in sight. I woke up Sunday morning and ran to the park, where there were kids playing soccer, moms pushing strollers and cute, old couples observing from benches nearby the fountains. It … Read more

It is officially March and yesterday was the perfect spring day in Viterbo. It was about 55 degrees and there were no clouds in sight. I woke up Sunday morning and ran to the park, where there were kids playing soccer, moms pushing strollers and cute, old couples observing from benches nearby the fountains. It was so nice to be able to run outside in the warmer weather and not have to wear a jacket! After my run I went back to the apartment to grab some homework, an apple and yogurt, and then made my way back to the park to do some reading in the sun.

winery

This past Friday we went on a field trip to Tre Botti Winery for wine tasting! While I do not care for the taste of wine, I made it my goal to find a wine that I liked while I was in Italy. What better place, right? However, I have now decided to accept that I am just not a wine fan. We were taken on an outside tour of the vineyards, mostly only seeing Jane (the vineyard donkey), since near everything was dead due to the winter weather. Then we were taken inside to have lunch and have a tasting of three wines. The winery family made us pumpkin soup, a tray of cold cuts, roasted potatoes and pecorino cheese with jam on top for lunch. I promised myself to be adventurous while I was abroad, so I tried a little bit of each. Surprisingly, the pumpkin soup was really good. However, I think the fact that it warmed me up from the freezing cold may have something to do with why I liked it so much. The cheese was another story. Although I am not sure if I will get the memory of the horrible taste out of my mind for another few weeks, I am glad that I tried it! We tasted a white wine and two red wines. I preferred the white wine the most. Italians LOVE their wine! We were told at the winery not to swallow it right away, but to leave it on your tongue to savor and appreciate the taste and quality.

orvieto

After the winery we were taken to a nearby town called Orvieto. We went to see “Underground Orvieto,” where there are old Etruscan caves. The cathedral in Orvieto was beautiful! I loved it. Inside there were many stained glass windows. Behind the altar there were four vertical rows of 11 stained glass windows each. Each window told a different story with characters, animals and settings. I wish I could show what it looked like, but we were not allowed to take pictures. After the caves and cathedral, we were allowed to explore a little before heading back to Viterbo. There were cute ceramic shops everywhere. I made sure to purchase a postcard since I am attempting to get one from each town/city that I visit!

bracciano castle

Saturday I went with Kevin, Henal and Tyler to another nearby town called Bracciano. In Bracciano there is a huge fairytale castle and the eighth largest lake in Italy. We saw that the weather was supposed to be nice so we decided to pack lunch and a blanket to have a picnic by the castle and lake! It was a great day and I fell in love with the little town. Signs of spring were everywhere. Henal and I came across a tree with pretty, pink flowers blooming, so we decided to take a few for our hair. However, springtime bees also come along with springtime flowers and I don’t think those bees were too happy with us for picking a few of the blossoms.

lake

We had quite a hike from the castle down to the lake, but when we got there we found the perfect picnic spot. Two white swans came and swam near us during our picnic! After lunch we went on a tour of the castle. Although the inside was pretty, the view from the top of the castle, looking out onto the town and lake, was my favorite. It was so pretty!

Castles, lakes, swans, picnics, flowers, friends, gelato (Oh yes, we got gelato too of course. This time I got Nutella flavored!) … it was a perfect day trip and successful weekend. I am so excited for the warm weather and am crossing my fingers that it’s all sunshine and springtime from here on out.

International Hour: Ghana

International Hour: Ghana

The Association of International Students (AIS) has a radio program called International Hour. The show airs on Mount Union’s very own WRMU 91.1FM every Thursday night at 9 p.m. On the previous segment of the AIS International Hour, I visited the West African nation of Ghana. For a very long time, Mount Union lacked representatives … Read more


The Association of International Students (AIS) has a radio program called International Hour. The show airs on Mount Union’s very own WRMU 91.1FM every Thursday night at 9 p.m.

On the previous segment of the AIS International Hour, I visited the West African nation of Ghana. For a very long time, Mount Union lacked representatives from the African continent. We never really had students from Africa come to Mount Union (transfer or exchange). This year, we have students representing Ethiopia, Senegal (later moved to France) and, of course, Ghana.

International Hour: Ghana was a first. I have repeated a few countries before; covering different aspects of the country each time the country had a repeat feature on the show. International Hour: Ghana came after I featured Ethiopia the week prior. I am getting side-tracked.

International Hour: Ghana was an interesting show to prepare for. It made me realize that the English language is more commonly used for Ghanaian songs compared to their local languages and dialects. Why? Because English is their official language (former British colony) and it was easier to market with English.

Here are some of the facts about Ghana:

Capital City: Accra

Population: approximately 25 milion

Size comparison: slightly smaller than Oregon

Official language: English (due to British colonization)

Neighbors: Ivory Coast (west), Burkina Faso (north, and Togo (east). Gulf of Guinea in the south.

My guest for the show was Edward, or commonly known as Eddie among the international students. He is a new transfer student from Ghana. He lived in the capital city, Accra. Eddie is currently a freshman and will be at Mount for the whole nine yards (or whole four years).

Eddie said that one of the hardest things for him to get used to when he first came to America was the weather. The climate in Ghana is only classified into two seasons; dry and wet. Not getting snow in Ghana, Eddie had a hard time getting used to the bitter cold and the endless snow that we had earlier in the year.

His favorite thing about America is the friendliness of the people. Though I had pointed out that it could just be a “mid-west thing,” Eddie stated that even in New York, where he had his connecting flight, people were generally friendlier.

The term “Ghanaian” can be a very general term used to describe the people of Ghana. There are various ethnic groups in Ghana; Akan, Ewe and Guan to name a few. The people of Ghana differs from region to region. They speak different languages passed down from their ancestors as well as different dialects within those languages. Ghana, in this aspect, is very diverse.

English is the uniting language of the nation as it is the official language of Ghana. Children are taught in schools while most classes (except foreign languages) are conducted in English. Students in Ghana can also learn French. Eddie told me during the show that French was an option offered by the Ghanaian government because their neighboring countries all speak French.

The mainstream media in Ghana is basically influenced by American media. Besides having their local artistes, American pop music has a huge presence in modern day Ghana. The same goes for movies and television. Most of the movies shown in Ghana are made in Hollywood. Most of the TV shows are, obviously, American TV shows. It seems to be a pattern in many countries. The taking over of the mainstream media by the American media in many countries is a very common phenomenon.

Here is a song by Ghanaian hip-hop artiste, Fuse ODG, from the show: watch?v=6LCoksSQMzs

Ghana Flag

Be sure to tune in to the International Hour every Thursday night at 9 on WRMU 91.1FM!

Oh the things you can do..

Oh the things you can do..

So I was wondering what I should blog about today, and I realized I’ve never really talked about the fine arts organizations. You don’t necessarily have to be a member of the band, choirs or plays to get involved in the arts, which I think is really great. It’s just so easy to be a … Read more

So I was wondering what I should blog about today, and I realized I’ve never really talked about the fine arts organizations.

You don’t necessarily have to be a member of the band, choirs or plays to get involved in the arts, which I think is really great. It’s just so easy to be a leader and get involved everywhere on campus!

Here are the organizations available in the arts on campus:

  • kkyKappa Kappa Psi: The national band honorary fraternity. There are tons of chapters all over the country, and we’re lucky enough to have one on this campus. It’s specifically designed for leadership within the band. We (I say “we” because I’m in this one) host music events like band dances and fun evening stuff during band camp. We also do community service that has to do with music, like instrument petting zoos at Regina Coeli, a nearby school.
  • mpeMu Phi Epsilon: The music honorary fraternity. To get in this one, you have to be a music major or minor. This group is largely involved with making the Department of Music better. We (again, I’m in this one) put on concerts, perform with music alumni in the area and do little things like decorate the music building for holidays. We actually just wrote all the music faculty valentines!
  • ocmeaOCMEA: The Ohio Collegiate Music Education Association. This organization is specifically designed for music educators, but I know MANY people who have joined just because they love and support music education. They bring speakers to campus and also go to OMEA conference in the spring.
  • kpKappa Pi: Kappa Pi is the art fraternity. Anyone interested in art can take part. They do a lot of things on campus related to art and creativity and they’re a really fun bunch of people. I tried to be in this organization, but unfortunately I have class when they meet. Ah well, still something really fun to do, and I try to go to the events they put on.
  • Alpha Psi Omega/Theatre Club: Yes! We have a theatre club on campus, and it is really fun. Check out ourapo Facebook page! We do a lot of fun things like go see shows and host a cast party after shows. We have the theatre club, which is open to anyone interested in theatre. Then, as you participate in the plays (either on stage, back stage or off stage) you accumulate points. Once you’ve accumulated enough points you can officially join the Alpha Psi Omega theatre honorary.

So! Those are all the organizations in a nutshell. They’re really fun and do a lot of good for the campus. And you can be involved in as many of them as you like—as you can see, I’m in all but two of them.

See something missing? If you want a club, it’s really easy to do. Just find enough people who want the club to exist and sign up with the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership. I’ve seen a bowling club happen, a lacrosse club, a philosophy club…all you have to do is ask!

The reason I started talking about organizations is we’re having a music team for Relay for Life this year. (If you feel so inclined to donate, our team is called Kappa Kappa Psi.) If you can come to Mount Union’s Relay for Life (April 19-20 in The MAAC) watch out for the music team playing Aerosmith’s Dream On over and over. We’ll raise money by having people pay us to stop playing. Heehee:)

Five at Five

This weekend is going to be so awesome. This Sunday, the Concert Choir is performing at the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Akron. Performing in churches is one thing. The size and shape of a church makes for a great environment to sing, and it sounds awesome. I’ve been in churches where you cut off the … Read more

This weekend is going to be so awesome.

This Sunday, the Concert Choir is performing at the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Akron.

Performing in churches is one thing. The size and shape of a church makes for a great environment to sing, and it sounds awesome. I’ve been in churches where you cut off the song and the reverb lasts for up to four seconds. It’s rich, awesome and I love singing in churches.

And this Westminster Presbyterian Church is going to be one of the great churches to sing in.

We’re singing in this church as part of its concert series, called Five at Five. We’re the third of five groups performing at 5 p.m. for this church.

Okay, and here’s a tidbit of information. We’re doing this new song called Where Your Bare Foot Walks and I can’t wait. This is my favorite song and I’m THRILLED that the first time we perform it is going to be in such an awesome church. If you get to Akron this weekend for no other reason come for Where Your Bare Foot Walks.

This is our first time performing with this concert series, and I hope we get to sing at more things like this.

We’re seriously had so many awesome opportunities in the last two years. I can tell the choir program is growing and will continue to grow under Dr. Cook.

Let’s get Wasted! (Reducing our Waste, That is)

Let’s get Wasted! (Reducing our Waste, That is)

I recently came across an organization called We Hate to Waste, a community of people who hate to see things go to waste: food, energy, water — you name it. It was founded by “Junky Jacquie” Ottman, an expert and author on green marketing and “eco-innovation.”  After 25 years working with industry and government, she decided … Read more

I recently came across an organization called We Hate to Waste, a community of people who hate to see things go to waste: food, energy, water — you name it. It was founded by “Junky Jacquie” Ottman, an expert and author on green marketing and “eco-innovation.”  After 25 years working with industry and government, she decided to make a difference in a new way: by empowering a community of like-minded Waste Watchers — the conservers, the repurposers, the mindful and the resourceful — to ignite a cultural change that can help reduce waste.

The organization developed its own creative ways of reducing waste in our everyday lives, and arranged them in seven different categories. Start getting wasted – check out its list of tips.

International Hour on WRMU

International Hour on WRMU

Traveling has always been one of my passions. I love visiting new places and learning new things, culture, language and FOOD. Studying here in Ohio is essentially an entirely new experience for me. Well, not as new as it was two years ago, but you get the point. Being atMount Union gave me opportunities that … Read more

International Hour Traveling has always been one of my passions. I love visiting new places and learning new things, culture, language and FOOD.

Studying here in Ohio is essentially an entirely new experience for me. Well, not as new as it was two years ago, but you get the point.

Being atMount Union gave me opportunities that I could never imagine having if I had went to a larger school. Since my transfer from my little island state of Penang in Malaysia, I had been able to have first hand experience with creating ad campaigns, operating film studio equipment, being a president for an association representing my peers from around the world and now, I even have my own radio show.

It’s called “International Hour.” Essentially what goes down in my show is each week, I focus on one country; highlighting certain aspects of its culture, like language, beliefs, music and the occasional stereotypes. Songs from the country of the week will be played throughout the hour-long radio program. The songs are selected by guests from the particular country, who join me in the WRMU studio to share their experience in the United States as well as the differences between the culture of their native country and the US.

So far, I have covered countries like China, Japan, South Korea, Ethiopia, Northern Ireland, Germany, Georgia, France and Spain to name a few.

The things I’ve learned from doing this show are endless. Each week, I learn a little more about a different part of the world. Each week, I discover new songs and styles of music.

I will be recapping each country featured on the show starting this week.

The International Hour is a radio program by the Association of International Students. The show is on Mount Union’s very own WRMU 91.1, every Thursday at 9 p.m. EST.

So, what country will be featured next?

Inner-tube Water Polo

One of my on campus jobs includes reffing intramural games throughout the year. So far I have reffed sand volleyball and this semester I am a scorekeeper for basketball and water polo. I played basketball for eight years from first through eight grade. The guy teams get very serious and some are very particular with … Read more

One of my on campus jobs includes reffing intramural games throughout the year. So far I have reffed sand volleyball and this semester I am a scorekeeper for basketball and water polo. I played basketball for eight years from first through eight grade. The guy teams get very serious and some are very particular with calling all fouls, which I did not know very well. So, I went to for score keeping this semester instead of reffing.

Recently, I got scheduled to score keep for a water polo game for the first time. I had no idea how it was played or what the rules were, which is why I did not sign up to ref it. I was excited to find out what it was. The intramural version is not like regular water polo though. They cut you a break and give you an inner-tube to sit on so that way you don’t have to hold yourself afloat for a half hour. Personally though, the way they make you sit on the tubes is almost as complicated as having to tread water. You sit on the top of the tube and then lean it forward and have to hold your balance on it while getting attacked by the other team. There aren’t too many rules to the game. I found out from the description paper in our ref/scorekeeper binder. You just can’t have possession of the ball while you are off your inner-tube and there is a time for each half. There are fouls in water polo as well I found out, although they are harder to call. The water, from what I’ve heard, can also be freezing at times. Water polo also is a much more dangerous job to score keep than basketball. Every now and then during basketball, a ball will bounce toward you but it’s not usually directly thrown at you. In water polo though you have to be conscientious about where you put your chair to observe. I picked a very bad spot diagonal from one of the goals and almost got hit a few times. The people throwing the ball were throwing full speed too, hoping it would land in the goal, so I was thankful for my good deflection skills.

If you enjoy water and swimming and find yourself missing it next winter (AT MOUNT UNION!) keep water polo in your mind as a possible way to get in some pool time while having a great time with friends!

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