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MIT student blogger Melis A. '08

Thomas Friedman on Energy & MIT by Melis A. '08

A NY Times article highlights MIT's innovative energy solutions

We’re all aware of climate change and the impact that it will have on our future. MIT has been very active in developing solutions to energy challenges, and President Susan Hockfield established the MIT energy initiative in May 2005. Since then, MIT undergrads have done wonders through student groups like Biodiesel@MIT, the MIT Energy Club, the Solar Electric Vehicle Team, and the Solar Decathlon (read more in the Spring 2007 issue of the MIT Undergraduate Research Journal.) Last year, the Biodiesel team got national recognition when they won the grand prize of $25,000 in the GE / mtvU Ecocollege Challenge. (For more info, read one of my previous entries).

Today, Thomas Friedman, an op-ed contributor to the NY Times, wrote an article called “The People We Have Been Waiting For.” In it, he talks about the tremendous contributions of MIT students:

Last week, I also met with two groups of M.I.T. students who blew me away. One was the M.I.T. Energy Club, which was founded in 2004 by a few grad students discussing energy over beers at a campus bar. Today it has 600-plus members who have put on scores of events focused on building energy expertise among M.I.T. students and faculty, and “fact-based analysis,” including a trip to Saudi Arabia.

Then I got together with three engineering undergrads who helped launch the Vehicle Design Summit — a global, open-source, collaborative effort, managed by M.I.T. students, that has 25 college teams around the world, including in India and China, working together to build a plug-in electric hybrid within three years. Each team contributes a different set of parts or designs. I thought writing for my college newspaper was cool. These kids are building a hyper-efficient car, which, they hope, “will demonstrate a 95 percent reduction in embodied energy, materials and toxicity from cradle to cradle to grave” and provide “200 m.p.g. energy equivalency or better.” The Linux of cars!

They’re not waiting for G.M. Their goal, they explain on their Web site — — is “to identify the key characteristics of events like the race to the moon and then transpose this energy, passion, focus and urgency” on catalyzing a global team to build a clean car. I just love their tag line. It’s what gives me hope:
“We are the people we have been waiting for.”

15 responses to “Thomas Friedman on Energy & MIT”

  1. SMS says:

    MIT is sooooooooooooooooo cool….I hope I get in…can wait…good luck all the other EA’s…

    SMS out

  2. -Q says:

    I love how they were discussing energy at a bar. This is what the world needs. Best of luck to them.

  3. Bassil T says:

    If anyone is going to change energy policy in the world, it’s MIT students. grin

  4. job says:

    OMG i love that line. “we are the people we have been waiting for” its like…stop waiting for somebody else to fix things, and do it yourself. so powerful. ^-^

  5. Kim says:

    soo cool. I wrote about the MIT energy initiative in my application. I hope I get accepted so I can take part in all of this!!

  6. Vani says:

    Wow!! That’s just amazing!! Way to go, MIT!!!

  7. donaldGuy says:

    For those who don’t know, Thomas Friedman is also the author of the bestselling The World is Flat. It is a very good read and as my mom likes to tell people, “an important book” .. because it really might hold truth about what the future holds for the world. He gave a talk about it at MIT.. video of which can be found here:

    Its good to see him praising the ‘tvte, because while he clearly respects it and quotes it as a source of innovation and uses its staff for expertise several times, he is more complementary of GA Tech’s educational programs.. (which my mom occasionally used to try to convince me of it being better than MIT .. she failed to do so) (not that it is not also a great school.. and very likely where I will choose to go if MIT sees fit for it to happen that way -_-)… </personal tanget>

    Anyway .. always good to see awesome people trying to improve the world .. and good to see them get recognized for doing so

    ~Donald Guy


  9. stephy says:

    I so want to be part of the world-changing process.
    MIT, you rock.

  10. Isshak says:

    Wow I had never heard of this. So anyone can join? And like if we get accepted at MIT can we help on the project in our freshman year ? Sounds so interesting it’s making me curious, quick ! Let’s go on the website.

  11. Anonymous says:

    WOW. just plain wow. This is why i love MIT…

    “we are the people we’ve been waiting for” killer line!

    i SO badly want to be in class of 2012!!!

  12. Anonymus says:

    Lol, the “The Linux of cars” describes it well. I’d love to have a hyper-efficient car one day, but I doubt it’ll catch on until fossil fuel becomes ridiculously expensive. Then fossil fuel cars would be a luxury item, or worse, a symbol of luxury and the rest of the world would hate them. XD

  13. Anonymous says:

    Why is it taking so long with all the resources? Give a monkey enough time, and it would do wonders.