GREENSBORO, N.C. — If you've been on the University of North Carolina Greensboro's (UNCG) campus recently you may have seen these blue and yellow umbrellas near the cafeteria, and today we went out and found out these aren't just your run-of-the-mill picnic benches, they're powering the future.
Solar power is considered one of the most sustainable forms of energy in the entire world. One UNCG Middle College student found a way to take that energy and shine a new light on campus.
Thanks to 16-year-old Neil Kapileshwari, you can add UNCG to the list of colleges with solar-powered umbrellas on campus.
"I first saw this when I was living in Florida, on FAMU's campus. They had an older version of this, they were one of the first colleges to have solar umbrellas on their campus," is where Neil says he got the idea from.
However, bringing one of these charging stations to his campus wouldn't be easy, and he couldn't do it alone. He knew he needed help and funding. That's where the university's 'Green Fund Program' came into play.
"We're always excited to get proposals from students. Neil was actually the first student from the middle college to submit a proposal so it was really exciting to get someone from his generation to participate in the program", Todd Macinnes, UNCG Green Fund Director said.
Although this is the first semester these picnic tables are on campus, the student body seems to love the idea.
"People are always working on their laptops outside or hanging out outside. Now that these solar panels allow you to charge your phone and laptop it's very beneficial because I'm using it right now to write my story for class", said sophomore UNCG student Tsunami Em.
These tables feature, four standard outlets, four USB ports, four wireless phone chargers, and even four lighting adapters as well.