Sun in the fun

The University of Wyoming Sustainability Coalition is hoping to show off what solar power can do during SolarFest — an annual celebration of renewable energy — Saturday.

The sun celebration includes solar-powered live music and free food, Sustainability Co-Chair Alanna Elder said.

“It should be a lot of fun,” she said. “Hopefully, it will be sunny enough to enjoy the solar power.”

Wyoming bands Whippoorwill and the Woodpile and Fort Collins, Colorado, trio Tall Grass are scheduled to perform on a stage powered by solar-paneled trailer.

“The Ag Extension department has a solar trailer that we can just use for free, which is just great,” Elder said. “And they thought, ‘What better way to use it than to have some music and celebrate solar power?’”

The event is one the entire community can get behind, Elder said.

“People in Laramie like to listen to local music and mill around outside, even when it’s a little bit chilly in the fall,” she said.

“And it’s also an excuse to have a dance party and a fun community event. And then with the Big Event partnership, it’s a link for the Sustainability Coalition to engage with the rest of the community.”

Elder added SolarFest shares one of the Big Event’s goals: bridging the gap between campus and community.

“The whole ethos of the Big Event is getting students to say thank-you to the Laramie community by volunteering,” she said. “And then this celebration is like Laramie thanking them back because there can be a pretty big division between campus and the rest of Laramie. So, it’s fun to get to be a part of another event which blurs those lines.”

During the event, Wyoming Conservation Corps will be collecting glass recycling.

“It’s open to anyone in the community,” said Presleigh Hayashida, Sustainability Coalition co-chair. “Community members can bring their glass. I know a lot of people hoard it until conservation corp comes.”

The Sustainability Coalition is the combined effort of several campus groups — including many sustainability-themed student organizations — to coordinate and assist each other with projects, movies, panel discussions and other events.

“So, there were a lot of RSOs that are working toward similar goals, but they were not working together,” Elder said. “And we thought that it would be a lot more effective if we had some way to all communicate.”

While SolarFest took place on campus in previous years, it will be located downtown to better coordinate its celebration with Laramie Main Street Alliance and the Big Event.

SolarFest 2017 runs from 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday at the Laramie Historic Railroad Depot. The event if free to the public. Call Hayashida at 307-922-1818 for more information.

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