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Honors students to benefit from Rocky Mountain Power Foundation grant.

By Chanapa Tantibanchachai

The University of Utah Honors College recently received a $2,500 grant from the Rocky Mountain Power Foundation for Fueling Up, one of its 2015-2016 Praxis Labs. Each year, the Honors College offers three Praxis Labs, which are yearlong, project-based courses that combine theory with action and exist to engage students with the community.

Sylvia Torti, dean of the Honors College, said “The University of Utah Honor’s College is grateful for the generous support of the Rocky Mountain Power Foundation grant. Student-designed Praxis Lab projects offer a unique opportunity to identify and respond to specific community needs. Through self-driven implementation, students engage the practice of innovative ideas that have a sustainable impact on education or policy.”

In Fueling Up, students will spend the first semester exploring the numerous scientific, economic and sociopolitical impacts of available and emerging energy systems and technologies. Students will hear from a variety of guest speakers, including community members, academics and business professionals, to gain different perspectives on energy.

In order to further provide students with a multidisciplinary understanding of energy systems, the course will be taught by two professors. Associate professor Brenda Bowen, an interdisciplinary geoscientist, and associate professor Brett Clark, an environmental sociologist, will lead the students on the yearlong journey.

During the second semester, the class must collectively choose a project that addresses a specific aspect of what they’ve learned and implement a solution in the local community. Past Praxis Lab projects have resulted in sustainable non-profit organizations, published books, new Honors courses and student working groups.


Chanapa Tantibanchachai is an associate science writer at University Marketing and Communications. If you have an interesting story idea, email her at