Lauren Rabaino

Local democratic congresswoman Lois Capps visited Cal Poly’s Engineering Plaza Wednesday to meet with teachers and students regarding alternative fuels research projects that are being carried out on campus. Also discussed was the proposed center for renewable energy and alternative electric transportation technologies, as well as a proposed wildland urban interface fire institute.

Hybrid electric vehicles made by students were on display and Capps had a chance to speak with students about their designs.

John Dunning, a Cal Poly research scholar in residence, said that the students would benefit greatly from government funding for their projects to advance the ability of the facilities and provide new updated equipment.

“By having these facilities it would give us a more sophisticated ability,” he said. “Also, the ability to attract more funding and more competitions.”

Dunning said that by having Capps visit Cal Poly, she is making it clear that she is interested in all that the school is working towards.

“She can see that these people are here and able,” he said.

Capps said she was impressed at the level of knowledge that the students have, and how their designs are paving the way for the future.

“We are in the midst of an energy crisis,” she said. “We cannot continue on the energy path we have been on; we need to save precious resources.”

Capps said that she has always been proud of Cal Poly because it is a premier research institution where student not only learn from books, but learn how to actually apply their knowledge to real life.

Capps said she was excited to meet the students and see how enthusiastic, involved, and proud they were of their projects.

Mechanical engineering senior Denny Truong is one of the designers of a hybrid vehicle that Capps viewed.

“It feels good that she is here,” he said. “She needs to see what we are doing, and what we are contributing to. We are applying what we are learning.”

After the viewing, presentations were made regarding wildland urban interface fire institute, disaster management, and algae biofuel research.

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