Sarah Desmond and Brock Williams

ASU honors students seeking participants for solar structure design competition

Are you a student who is interested in sustainability and having a solar powered outdoor study and hang-out space on the Arizona State University Tempe campus?

If this sparks your interest, you may want to sign up to assist two students from Barrett, The Honors College with their honors thesis project. In addition to helping with the project, you could get a cash award for your winning design.

Brock Williams, a senior conservation biology and ecology major with a minor in business management, and Sarah Desmond, a junior finance and marketing major with a minor in biology, are completing an honors thesis through Barrett with the Center for Entrepreneurship and the School for the Future of Innovation in Society.

Williams and Desmond are calling their project SolArt and inviting students from all ASU campuses to join a competition to design a structure to be built on a site on the ASU Tempe campus.

According to the SolART website, the focus of Williams’s and Desmond’s thesis “is to design and implement a competition at ASU where students would gain a voice in reclaiming the outdoor space and increasing the social value of energy. The design would utilize a sustainable solar energy source, bring social value to our community, and encourage people to want to spend time outdoors.”

Students may get more information about the competition and apply to participate on the project website. Feb. 6 is the deadline to apply. Based on the number of applicants, participants will be put into teams of three to four. Each team will work on creating and developing a design for an outdoor, solar powered space or structure. Participants will be offered workshops focusing on strategic planning, branding and positioning of their project, and learning about solar energy and how to implement it in their project.

The competition will run Feb. 7–9. Design, engineering and energy industry professionals will judge the projects. Each member of the winning team will receive a cash prize.

Williams said he and Desmond, with assistance from Changemaker Central at ASU, will work with the winning team to bring its design to the building phase.

Williams said the project concept came out of a survey of ASU students he and Desmond did last November focusing on students’ perceptions about being outdoors and what outdoor amenities they would like to see on campus.

“Our survey showed that students wanted more areas with renewable energy where they could work outdoors. Specifically, we got overwhelming response that students enjoyed being outside and wanted an outdoor space with solar-powered electrical outlets where they could charge their devices,” Williams said.