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UT Martin to create mobile energy classroom with USDA grant


Contact 1: Erin Chesnut


MARTIN, Tenn. — The United States Department of Agriculture has awarded the University of Tennessee at Martin $147,000 to finance the creation of a mobile classroom to educate university students and the general public about the conservation and production of different types of energy.

The mobile classroom project, led by John Cole, UT Martin lecturer, and co-authored by Drs. Paula Gale and Rachna Tewari, all of the Department of Agriculture, Geosciences, and Natural Resources, will include both static and hands-on demonstrations of current energy production, conservation and renewable technology.

“The idea is to provide visual and hands-on education in energy, energy conservation and renewable energy to the general public, K-12 students and interested university students,” said Cole. The classroom will be able to visit regional schools, civic clubs and organizations, community centers and area festivals to meet interested students where they are.

“The ability to take our knowledge and resources out into the community is instrumental to the continued development of our young people and our region,” said Dr. Bob Smith, UT Martin interim chancellor. “We are confident this project will inspire students of all ages to better understand how much we depend on effective and efficient energy to sustain life on our planet and how young people can become leaders in this industry.”

The grant is one of 12 awarded by the USDA through the Capacity Building Grants for Non-Land-Grant Colleges of Agriculture program and is intended to “support research, education and outreach activities at non-land-grant colleges and universities to further agricultural research and teaching,” according to a USDA press release.

“To meet the challenges the United States and the world face as the global population grows will require contributions from diverse, qualified scientists,” said Dr. Sonny Ramaswamy, director of the National Institute for Food and Agriculture. “These projects and programs will enhance the educational experience of students at non-land-grant institutions and help them create the needed solutions.”

For more information on UT Martin’s Mobile Classroom Project, contact Cole at 731-881-7264 or by email at


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