Rep. Lois Capps, who is in her final year of serving as a Congresswoman, visited Cal Poly. From left to right: Mechanical Engineering Professor Kim Shollenberger, Architecture Professor Sandy Stannard, Rep. Lois Capps. | Naba Ahmed/Mustang News

Congresswoman Lois Capps visited Cal Poly on Tuesday to discuss renewable energy and public health initiatives.

Cal Poly’s Solar Decathlon team met for a roundtable with Capps to discuss INhouse, its solar-powered, energy-efficient home. At the College of Architecture and Environmental Design, students and advisors presented the renewable energy capabilities of the house that earned them third place overall at the annual Solar Decathlon competition.

Capps wanted to meet with the team responsible for the project because its renewable and energy saving efforts can be applied on a much larger scale.

Rep. Lois Capps met with students involved in the Solar Decathlon project, as well as kinesiology professor Susan Phelan. | Naba Ahmed/Mustang News

“We consume more energy and fossil fuels in our country than most other countries,” Capps said. “This campus and department is really paving the way for that alternative so that we are not fully reliant on fossil fuel as an energy source.”

Capps also spoke with kinesiology professor Susan Phelan about federal investments in research for Phelan’s study on gestational diabetes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this type of diabetes affects nearly one in 10 pregnant women.

As part of a $2.8 million National Institutes of Health five-year federal grant to Cal Poly, Phelan will lead the study to examine what precautions can be taken pre-pregnancy to reduce the risk of diabetes.

“Before I came to Congress, I was a public health nurse and I worked a lot with teenagers who become pregnant early,” Capps said. “I was helping them have a healthy pregnancy and teach their children healthy ways of living because this cycle of diabetes is really an epidemic and we need to change that.”

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