Students at SUI (Southern Illinois University) have built a solar charging station. The solar panels act as the picnic table’s umbrella providing shade to the students sitting down. The table is made of completely recycled plastic and is equipped with solar umbrellas, 4 seats, a 110-volt charging station and two USB ports. The table is entirely green! The only thing that I would have changed is the amount of USB ports. Now a days most people carry multiple mobile devices and it was unclear if the table was powerful enough to sustain a charge for a laptop. The picnic table is used a tool to show the students exactly what can be done with sustainable energy. The table is also equipped with a battery that powers an LED light at night and can hold a charge enough for two full days of overcast weather.
The funding of the table was taken care of by SIU Sustainability Council’s Green Fund. The Green Fund is entirely funded by the Students on campus that wish to make improvements to sustainability and programming. The students receive the majority voice of the committee that decides where the funds are spent.