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High school students bring new energy ideas to light

Electric rainfall. Autonomous transport pods. Machines powered by sound waves. Green laughter. These are just a few of the alternative energy-related projects high school students across Washington State will present at this year’s Imagine Tomorrow competition being held at WSU Pullman May 29 – 31.
The public is invited to attend the event and view demonstrations and displays submitted by 91 teams composed of 330 students from 36 Washington high schools. Now in its second year, the Imagine Tomorrow 2009 competition centers on the theme, “Power Your Future.”
“Imagine Tomorrow provides students in Washington State with a unique opportunity to demonstrate civic engagement, teamwork, interdisciplinary problem solving, creativity, and imagination by designing innovative solutions to energy resource issues,” wrote State Superintendent Randy Dorn in an open letter to the competitors.
Governor Christine Gregoire also welcomed the participants – emphasizing her interest in exploring biofuels, wind power, solar energy and other sources of clean energy not only to decrease dependence on fossil fuels, but to stimulate Washington State economy.
“These students represent our future,” she wrote, “and their creativity and resolve will have a lasting impact on the health of our environment and the sustainability of our communities as a whole.”
Judging and special programs on Saturday
Project displays will be set up Friday in Bohler Gymnasium, room 125. Judging will take place throughout the day on Saturday – from 9 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.
A special address by Rick Woodbury,
president and founder of the Spokane-based Commuter Cars Corporation, will take place at Beasley Performing Arts Coliseum at noon on Saturday.
Woodbury, developer of the “Tango – the world’s fastest urban car” will drive one of his highly compact vehicles into the coliseum for a first-hand look at his remarkable invention.
The awards ceremony and a keynote address by Weyerhaeuser executive, Miles Drake, will be held at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, also in Beasley Performing Arts Coliseum. Drake is senior vice president of research and development and chief technology officer for Weyerhaeuser, which, according to their website, is a company seeking to find “sustainable solutions to the world’s challenges through the development of innovative forest products.”
Along with Bank of America, Boeing, BP, and McKinstry, Weyerhaeuser is among 36 sponsoring companies and organizations that have contributed over $100,000 in prize money for Imagine Tomorrow. Last year, a three-person team from rural Lake Roosevelt High School in Coulee Dam took home Grand Prize – $5,000 for each member plus $5,000 for their school.
This year, 73 judges will participate in the competition – coming from business, scientific, engineering, financial and educational organizations around the state. Seventeen of the judges are WSU faculty.
Student participants will also be able to take in a number of workshops, tours and demonstrations to be held at various locations on the WSU campus.
Imagine Tomorrow is directed by an internal steering committee of Grant Norton, College of Engineering and Architecture, Craig Parks, Department of Psychology, Dave Bahr, School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering and Tariq Akmal, College of Education.


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