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Students Design Interactive Energy-Saving Information Station for MEA’s EmPOWER Maryland Campaign

Maryland Energy Administration Launches Statewide, Eight-College Tour to Inform and Educate Residents About Sustainability

Posted 09.13.10 by mica communications

EmPOWER MARYLAND, You Owe It to Yourself booth

MICA and the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) have partnered to develop an energy-saving interactive mobile information station that demonstrates to users how to save money and reduce power consumption with simple behavior changes. The exhibit, EmPower Maryland: You Owe It to Yourself, is the product of a year and a half partnership with the MEA and MICA's Center for Design Practice (CDP) on designing innovative communication strategies for the state's campaign on energy efficiency, EmPOWER MARYLAND. MEA is launching this exhibit with a statewide eight-college tour beginning at MICA through Wednesday, Sept. 22 in the Brown Center's Leidy Atrium (1301 W. Mount Royal Ave.).

The modular 10" x 10" translucent box made with eco-resin, an eco-friendly, recycled material, is a participatory experience in which the users interact with the exhibit and calculate a number that represents their personal savings from energy-efficient behaviors by 2015. MEA's campaign is designed to educate and inspire Marylanders to reduce energy consumption statewide by 15 percent by 2015, and to live more sustainable lives.

"The Maryland Energy Administration continually seeks ways to support our local communities through the promotion of energy resources, incentives and reliable information statewide. Our multi-year partnership with MICA is a true reflection of innovative, grassroots and fun educational outreach that integrates compelling design concepts with solid energy information," says Christina Twomey, spokesperson for MEA and the director of this initiative. "We encourage the public to visit this exhibit as it travels across Maryland and to learn about combinations of energy saving measures that are most appropriate for their homes and lifestyles; as in many cases, these measures do not require a financial investment, but do add up to big results towards saving money and the environment."

The exhibit will travel for the 2010-11 school year to seven additional college campuses across the state as a mobile information station designed by MICA students and promoted by MEA. The tour continues to University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Thursday, Sept. 23-Friday, Oct. 1; Johns Hopkins University, Monday, Oct. 18-Friday, Oct. 29; and tentative dates at the University of Maryland, College Park; Salisbury University; Towson University; Morgan State University; and one additional location to be determined. It will be installed at each school for approximately three to four weeks.

The project developed after the CDP completed a successful branding campaign for the MEA. MICA designers continued to investigate strategies for public dissemination of information and encouraging energy-efficient behaviors. Not only does the project disseminate valuable information to target audiences, it also becomes a valuable data resource for the MEA as it assesses and develops new energy programs.

The CDP, housed within MICA's Office of Research, takes an interdisciplinary approach in students and faculty partnering with outside organizations to create solutions to issues facing communities.

Image caption: The EmPOWER MARYLAND, You Owe It to Yourself booth is on display at MICA's Brown Center before it travels to college campuses across the state.

Founded in 1826, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is the oldest continuously degree-granting college of art and design in the nation. The College enrolls nearly 3,500 undergraduate, graduate and continuing studies students from 49 states and 52 countries in fine arts, design, electronic media, art education, liberal arts, and professional studies degree and non-credit programs. With art and design programs ranked in the top ten by U.S. News and World Report, MICA is pioneering interdisciplinary approaches to innovation, research, and community and social engagement. Alumni and programming reach around the globe, even as MICA remains a cultural cornerstone in the Baltimore/Washington region, hosting hundreds of exhibitions and events annually by students, faculty and other established artists.