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Solar powered DJ performs at Technology Commons grand opening

By Meghan Lindner
On February 2, 2012

The new Technology Commons in Computer Center I held its grand opening event on Wednesday. Students enjoyed free pizza provided by Dell and Domino's and the chance to win merchandise such as T-shirts, tote bags, coffee mugs and a new Dell laptop. UCF Dining Services in collaboration with I.D.E.A.S and Seattle's Best Coffee had DJ Chill Will provide music for the event with a system completely run via solar power.

According to UCF Dining Services marketing programs manager Shannon Frost, the Seattle's Best Coffee located inside the Technology Commons will operate in an environmentally aware fashion. UCF Dining Sustainability and I.D.E.A.S. are campus partners and both are members of the Student Government Association's Environmental Coalition.

"Seattle's Best, like all UCF Dining Services locations, is focused on recycling, conserving energy and water, tracking and reducing food waste, and increasing sustainable food options," Frost said. "Employees from Seattle's Best are members of UCF Dining Sustainability's Green Team, furthering the sustainable options and practices not only at Seattle's Best, but across all dining locations."

According to Frost, UCF Dining Services chose DJ Chill Will for the event not only because of his skills, but because he is involved with I.D.E.A.S., and the goals of I.D.E.A.S. align with the Dining Services' sustainable solutions.

Senior English literature major and coordinator for I.D.E.A.S. Sebastian Church said the main goal of the solar powered DJ event was to allow people to not only see solar power at work, but to allow them to interact with it.

"It's going to be phenomenal. People that walk by, they're going to see because you know people don't see solar panels on an everyday basis," Church said. "You'll be able to see it, you'll be able to interact with it, touch it, kind of see how it works and what's hooked up to what. It's going to be a lot of fun in terms of increasing awareness about solar energy."

DJ Chill Will, a sophomore environmental studies and architecture major who requested his real name not be released, rented solar panels from entrepreneur Terry Hershner. Hershner started Gas Free Earth in 2005 when he converted diesel vehicles to run on vegetable oil. Hershner also lives "Off the Grid," which is an I.D.E.A.S. initiative where Hershner lives in a house that runs completely off solar and wind power.

"I moved into a house, and I never turned on the power," Hershner said. "I started putting up a couple solar panels. I got a wind turbine installed. One of the biggest things is just figuring out how to use less energy, and then as we save more money from that we can put up more panels and start building electric vehicles."

Hershner helped set up the solar panels, which were connected to a battery that powered Will's laptop and turntable.

"We're in the sunshine state. Why not use it?" Will said.

The event was the first time he and Hershner tested the solar powered DJ system. Setting up the solar panel system involved trial and error. Hershner said the first battery fell off his motorcycle during transport, so they used a backup battery.

"This is not a perfect science. This is why everyone in the world does not do this yet," Hershner said.

Senior interdisciplinary studies major Krista Middleton said she enjoyed the event and this was her first time visiting the Tech Commons.

"It was really nice. Actually, when I walked in it smells like a new car," she said. "It's very modern."

It was also Middleton's first time on campus this semester because she takes online courses.

"First thing that attracted me was the DJ. I thought that was really neat," she said.

At the end of the event, Will announced the winner of a raffle. The prize was a free party with music provided by DJ Chill Will.

"I definitely think that the Grand Opening event made students, faculty and staff more aware that this new location was available to them. We are excited to offer a full array of coffee beverages including mochas, iced coffee and blended beverages along with grab n' go sandwiches and breakfast items," Frost said.

The Technology Commons aims to provide an innovative place for students to study and use technology. Inside are a computer lab, computer store, video recording and editing suite and technology service center. There is also a technology patio where students can study outdoors.

For more information on the Technology Commons, visit the Facebook page at

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