Ecolibrium3 is always eager to work with the best and brightest in our community to inspire a sustainable future. That’s why we partner with the University of Minnesota Duluth’s students on community projects through their UMD SHINES! Program. This year, Ecolibrium3 facilitated three teams of students, working on projects related to the redevelopment of Lincoln Park, exploring renewable options for local businesses, and developing components of the Lincoln Park Solar Garden project.
Ecolibrium3 helped found the UMD SHINES! Program with two engineering professors, Dr. Alison Hoxie and Dr. Mary Christiansen, which originally resulted in the Duluth Shines! Solar Map. The program matches teams of senior engineering students with local partners, providing students with real world opportunities to develop client relationship skills, identify needs and challenges, and present engineering solutions.
Dr. Hoxie said that the program allows students “to practice being real engineers in a more protected environment” and “understand that many times the technical solution is the easiest part of the project.”
Working with the Lincoln Park Solar Garden project, UMD students were tasked with analyzing solar potential for the site, engineering an artistic installation, and designing educational materials for the site. The team met with Ecolibrium3 employees multiple times throughout the semester, asking questions and presenting their designs for approval.
Ultimately, their recommendations and designs will become a reality.
The real world implications are a big motivator for students and for Dr. Hoxie. With Ecolibrium3’s partnership, Dr. Hoxie remarked that the UMD SHINES! Program provides students the opportunity to learn “the benefits one’s education can provide to the community.”