Soofa Solar Supply

Alex Bushong and Laura Brent talk on the new Soofa solar powered bench at Lebanon Valley College

As you have walked through campus this fall, you may have noticed the addition of some interesting looking new benches.

These benches happen to be solar powered and feature USB outlets that allow you to charge any portable device. There are currently three solar powered benches on campus, and they are located outside LVC Sports Center, in front of the Allan W. Mund College Center, and on the Annville Square by Subway. In addition to the benches, there is an individual charging unit outside of Rosemary Yuhas Commons.

There are some pre-existing charging stations around campus, but these new benches take advantage of solar energy to provide a more sustainable way to charge electronics. Using solar power also eliminates the need to be in a building or near an outlet, making them perfect for when you want to enjoy outdoor activities around campus.

Soofa, a Massachusetts based company that started in the media lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is the supplier of the new solar benches. According to their website, “The Soofa Bench is made of sustainably harvested materials and built in the United States.”

Each bench features two USB outlets on the front of the solar charging station that allows for two devices to be charged at a time. Any type of charger that utilizes a USB port can be used with the benches. Devices can also be charged at night since the charging stations store energy collected throughout the day.

The addition of these new benches was made possible through a combination of Sustainability Advisory Committee (SAC) funds, a President’s Innovation Fund grant, and the assistance of the Information Technology Department. This is the newest extension to SAC’s growing list of sustainability initiatives in the LVC community.

“It is a unique item that enables students and community members to charge their devices with solar power and also allows us to learn more about how we can utilize solar power,” said Dave Shapiro, senior director of information technology. “The information provided by these benches will help LVC better understand energy usage and peoples’ habits on campus. This additional knowledge will allow for LVC to make positive changes leading toward a more sustainable campus.”

Keep an eye out for other additions to LVC that make our campus cleaner, greener, and more sustainable for the future.