Building ‘green’ cars at WestConn is just the beginning

DANBURY, CONN. — By building solar sprint cars, a group of high schools students will learn “green-collar” skills including converting engine power from solar to fuel cell on the grounds of Western Connecticut State University’s Westside campus.

The students are part of a summer program hosted by Green Light Academy. The academy is one of many educational and cultural programs offered by Beacon Preservation Inc. a nonprofit organization designed to promote environmental conservation, sustainable energy options, and “green-collar”skills necessary in today’s environmental sector of the economy. Green Light Academy is made possible through a grant from the Connecticut State Department of Education, the 1772 Foundation, and the generous support of private donors.

There are more than 50 students from high schools around the state participating in the program that focuses on science, math and technology — and the new “green-collar” skills being promoted by many industries.

The four-week summer residential program is for students in grades 10 through 12. Students live in university housing, dine at the Westside Campus Center, use the university’s classrooms and computer labs, conduct experiments in the laboratories of WestConn’s state-of-the-art Science Building, explore the Westside Nature Preserve, and enjoy the many playing fields, gymnasiums, and recreational facilities on both the Midtown and Westside campuses. Taught by experienced professors and certified teachers, the students learn through hands-on skill-building exercises, such as the solar sprint cars.

After building the cars on Wednesday, July 15, the students will race them on Thursday, July 16, joined by several representatives from Fuel Cell Energy in Danbury. On Friday, the students will convert the cars from solar to fuel cell.

For more information, contact the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.


Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.


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