Each year, during the week before Thanksgiving, Seattle Pacific University’s Associate Professor of Physics, John Lindberg, takes a group of students from his engineering class to Camp Casey Conference Center. The trip provides a unique environment where students are able to explore one of the most abundant and powerful natural resources at Camp Casey – wind.
“The class exposes the engineering students to technology that might be useful in the developing world, and this class project focuses on small scale wind power,” Professor Lindberg said.
While at Camp Casey the students are able to put theory into practice by setting up windmills for the generation of electricity. The activity has become a required component of the Appropriate and Sustainable Engineering (ASE) Concentration program at Seattle Pacific University.
The ASE program is designed to prepare students to use engineering to address issues facing the increasingly complex global society. Sustainable energy is one focus of the program. Camp Casey’s unique environment plays an important role by allowing learning through hands-on experimentation.
“Camp Casey provides a distraction free environment to experiment and learn. Students bond and share more freely in this historic and natural setting,” Professor Lindberg said. “The students get plenty of instruction and lessons at the Campus, but here they are able to put what they have learned to practical use. By doing hands on work, they are able to gain practical experience with success and failures. Students can learn more from failures then success, so allowing them free reign to build and assemble is a very powerful tool.”
Students in the program echo Professor Lindberg’s sentiments on the importance of hands-on learning. They say the experience has brought them closer together as a group and helps them learn how to work as a team.
The class stays in the Quartermaster’s Building and uses the vast Parade Field for their experiments. The best thing about Camp Casey is “location, location, location,” Lindberg said. “It’s an ideal place for the wind setup.”