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100-mile-per-gallon car and climate-related campus courses showcased at Duffield exhibition

A car that gets 100 miles per gallon and courses that address campus climate issues were just a few examples of Cornell efforts to address climate change that were showcased in the Duffield Hall atrium at the Feb. 28 celebration of the one-year anniversary of President David Skorton's signing of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (PCC).

The sunlit atrium buzzed with people milling around colorful exhibits where knowledgeable staff, faculty and students explained their projects.

For example, mechanical engineering student Terence Davidovits '08 discussed Cornell's Automotive X-Prize project. The team of more than 45 students and faculty members plans to design and build a commercially feasible 100-mpg vehicle. Cornell is currently the only university entering the 2009-10 $10 million Automotive X-Prize. The winning vehicle also will need to meet strict emissions caps and finish a rigorous cross-country race in the fastest time.

David Weinstein, a senior research associate in natural resources and a member of the Presidents Climate Commitment Implementation Committee, stood before a booth displaying courses that are addressing ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on campus. Students in the course Planning a Carbon Neutrality Campaign (Comm 494), taught by Katherine McComas, associate professor of communication, are designing a cutting-edge advertising campaign to inform incoming freshmen about campus carbon neutrality efforts. The course Carbon Sequestration (Natural Resources 694), taught by Professor Tim Fahey and Weinstein, includes an examination of the capacity of forests and agricultural lands at Cornell to sequester carbon.

Among the other exhibits were ones showcasing climate neutrality efforts by Campus Life, the student group Kyoto Now! and Transportation and Mail Services.

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