Obama’s Energizing Visit

The president sees engineering center, speaks to students

President Barack Obama touts his administration’s plan for an energy-efficient America at the BankUnited Center in February.
The first stop on President Barack Obama’s February visit to the Coral Gables campus was the College of Engineering, where he toured a government-supported center that helps local companies become more energy efficient.

“What this facility does is teach these outstanding young engineers to do energy assessments,” Obama said as graduate student Jason Grant showed him around the college’s Industrial Assessment Center, which recently received a
$1 million U.S. Department of Energy grant to help small and medium-size local manufacturers manage energy requirements, reduce waste, and increase productivity at no cost to them.

Obama said the assessments save about 25 percent in energy costs. “It’s a great example of how people are being trained right now to make our businesses more efficient all across the country.”

UM’s was one of 24 such university-based centers funded by the DOE in September. During the five-year grant, engineering students will conduct seven energy assessments in conjunction with the Puerto Rico Manufacturing Extension Program and 13 more in South Florida annually.

Obama’s next stop on campus to deliver his message of sound energy practices was the BankUnited Center Fieldhouse. Speaking before more than 1,400 attendees—the majority students—he laid out his administration’s multipronged plan for a more energy-efficient nation that’s less dependent on foreign oil. “If we’re going to take control of our energy future, if we’re going to avoid these gas price spikes down the line, then we need a sustained, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy—oil, gas, wind, solar, nuclear, biofuels, and more,” he said. “We need to keep developing the technology that allows us to use less oil in our cars and trucks, in our buildings and plants. That’s the strategy we’re pursuing, and that’s the only real solution to this challenge.”