Carnegie Mellon University

CGI U 2015 attendees

May 15, 2018

Clinton Global Initiative University Accepts CMU Student’s Energy Waste Solution

By Cody Januszko

Amanda King
  • Communications Analyst
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In an attempt to bridge her passion for drama with her values of sustainability, Mercedes Hesselroth, a Carnegie Mellon University student pursuing a combined degree in Global Studies and Drama through the BXA Intercollege Degree Programs, submitted a Commitment to Action to the prestigious Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) program. CGI brings together global leaders with goals to take on global challenges. The University branch of the initiative does the same—but on college campuses.

Her proposal aims to reduce the waste associated with theatrical productions at Carnegie Mellon’s renowned School of Drama.

Collaborating with CMU Professor of Dramatic Literature Wendy Arons and the School of Drama community, Hesselroth will bring the Broadway Green Alliance (BGA) Green Captains Campus Program to CMU. BGA encourages environmentally-friendly practice in theatres. In her proposal, Hesselroth said she wants to launch this program to raise awareness for such practices and to reduce the material and energy waste that are byproducts of theatre productions.

Mirroring BGA’s protocol, the School of Drama will appoint a “Green Captain” for each of its 14 productions. These captains will attend a training workshop and conduct mid- and post-production surveys to see what sustainable practices work and which can be improved.

Some of the practices that Hesselroth said she hopes to implement include recycling lighting gels after performances, using rechargeable batteries in sound packs and ensuring that the lights are off after rehearsal. Ideally, both undergraduate and graduate students from disciplines across the School of Drama will serve as Green Captains so that a variety of CMU-trained theatre professionals can take these eco-friendly skills with them into the future.

Funding for the CGI U proposals is provided by CrowdRise and the Social Venture Challenge coordinated by the Resolution Project. Hesselroth will develop her solution at the CGI U conference at the University of Chicago in October 2018.

CMU alumni including Ashwin Kumar Balaji have previously presented at the CGI U Conference. Balaji, Energy Science, Technology & Policy Program alumnus now policy research intern for the Wilton E. Scott Institute of Energy Innovation at CMU, presented his project on “Solar Kiosks for underprivileged households” at the 2017 CGI U Conference. Read about his experience.

Photo: Attendees of the 2015 CGI U Conference. Credit: Max Orenstein / Clinton Global Initiative