By SHYAN MURPHY
Most students who belong to the UMW community have passed by the Jepson Science Center before. This tends to be a heavily trafficked area on campus due to the science general education requirement, and several residence halls being stationed nearby. When a strange object was erected outside of Jepson, some students had questions about the new structure.
“I have friends who live in Eagle and I go over there almost every day,” said junior English major Joshua Staley. “When I first saw, I had no idea what they were building.”
With the help of associate professor and department chair for Earth & Environmental Science, Chuck Whipkey, the structure’s identity was properly identified.
“[It is] a recording anemometer or wind-speed indicator,” said Whipkey.
According to a University of Illinois sponsored site, as the wind blows, the cups of the anemometer fill with air and are pushed. The cups start to rotate which makes the long rod in the center start to spin. As the rod spins, the number of rotations are counted by the anemometer which is then used to calculate the wind speed.
The anemometer is being used for a student run project.
“Two students will be recording wind speed data over the next two semesters as part of a preliminary study of air currents in the vicinity of Jepson,” Professor Whipkey said.
The students conducting the study are senior environmental science major Adam Berry and sophomore environmental Mary Hoffman. In an interview with Berry, it was explained that this device would be used to collect, “a year of wind speed in order to determine if it would be efficient to put a wind turbine where the anemometer is.”
“This is a project that other people can work on after I graduate, but I am proud to be the initiating student to work on it,” Berry said.
The project was originally the idea of a past student. The equipment was purchased but never put into use until Berry decided to use the anemometer to study wind patterns for his senior project. The project has been met with an overall positive reaction from UMW students.
“I think this is a great start for sustainability in our community,” said junior biology major Nicole Lamb. “I am proud that we have faculty and students here at UMW searching for alternative energy sources for the science center.”
The future of this project is promising, not only for the students and faculty involved, but for the UMW community as a whole. Berry said that they could not have put this project in place without the help from the grounds team, and he wished a special thanks to them and anyone else who has taken part in helping to move along his senior research project.