CAST’s Department of Technology has several student organizations that relate to every major, and the Renewable Energy Society (RES) has been working to thrive and build connections despite the challenges that accompany this year’s learning environment.

RES is an organization with a goal to spread awareness about sustainable and renewable energy topics. With a focus on community involvement and professional development, the organization offers a variety of opportunities for members to get involved on campus and in the community.

RES President Katrina Keller has worked to keep the organization running this year and has organized both in person, socially distanced meeting options as well as Zoom meetings for members.

“We have adapted to COVID-19 by changing our in-person meeting location to somewhere where we could socially distance, whether that be the Quad or the Bone Student Center. We always have Zoom as an option and have had meetings virtually as well. We have strived to still have as many meetings in person as possible to keep the social aspect of the club, and most of the members enjoy it as a break from online learning,” said Keller.

This year, RES participated in the Solar District Cup, a competition hosted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the US Department of Energy.

“The focus of this competition is to design a solar plus battery storage system for a district case, ours was the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. This has been an amazing opportunity thus far for all the members involved because it has opened opportunities to interact with industry professionals, work on a real-life project, and get access and experience to using software used by the renewable energy field,” she said.

RES has a goal of proceeding to the next round of competition, with a focus on competing in the final round in April.

The organization’s members have also worked on projects such as a collaboration with a local community garden, helping to design a passive solar greenhouse to be built in the future. In previous years, members have had the opportunity to go on field trips to various facilities such as Suzlon and Invenergy.

Keller initially became interested in RES when after learning more about her major and department, searching for opportunities to gain experience outside of the classroom and prepare for life after graduation.

“I decided to take on the leadership role of RES because I wanted to take the organization in a new direction by getting us involved in our first collegiate competition. Before being president, I was the vice president so being on executive board is something that I wanted to continue to be apart of,” she said.

Like many other organizations on campus, her main challenge this year has been adapting to the COVID-19 environment and being able to keep the organization running under safety protocols.

“The most rewarding part of being apart of this organization is being able to get to know and collaborate with the other members. Most of us are in the same major so it is great to build that bond with other students that are share similar interests and are taking the same courses. Being apart of RES is also rewarding in that it has provided me with many useful skills and experience that I will now be able to implement post-graduation in the workforce,” said Keller.

The organization is still active this semester and holds meetings every other Wednesday evening. Keller encourages any interested students to learn more and consider joining the organization.

“Renewable energy will be a part of all of our futures, so this is the perfect place to learn more about the topic and an excellent way to be involved in campus and community projects,” she said.

Want to learn more?

For more information on RES or related majors, check out the Department of Technology’s website.