University of Kansas Students Generate Energy for Green Movement

LAWRENCE, KS -- The University of Kansas (KU) is the latest school to harness green, user-generated energy by retrofitting ellipticals in its fitness center.

University officials say they hope the sustainable fitness equipment will engage students who otherwise might not visit the school’s fitness center.

“We do believe that more intrigue and curiosity will be generated [by the ellipticals], but we’re hoping that it will engage those who do not come to the center to come for a look and start a healthy lifestyle using all that we offer in the way of programs, services and facilities,” says Mary Chappell, director of KU Recreation Services.

Some 15 ellipticals will be retrofitted with ReRev devices at the university’s David A. Ambler Student Recreation Fitness Center. The energy students generate will be used to decrease the center’s carbon footprint.

“We already have the equipment—they are Precor elliptical fitness machines that we’ve had on our floor since we opened the facility,” Chappell says.

The machines are expected to be ready by early August for the upcoming school year. KU began promoting the new devices to students in March and plans to further promote them with incoming freshmen during summer orientation sessions, Chappell says. University professors also will be discussing the energy-generating devices in classes.

A KU student suggested the idea for the retrofits before taking his proposal to the Student Environmental Board of the Student Senate. The board is funding the $15,000 project in its entirety.

In addition to its green energy efforts, the Ambler Center has a recycling effort in place, as well as a rain garden that uses rainwater run-off from the rec center roof as an irrigation system.

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