WVU Festival of Ideas features energy expert and “Switch” film producer Scott Tinker

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September 15, 2012 by Trina Wafle, National Research Center for Coal and Energy

Morgantown, W.Va.–The West Virginia University community will get an advance screening of a new feature-length documentary exploring the future of energy in conjunction with a future speaker in the David C. Hardesty Festival of Ideas on Sept. 25.

Switch, from Arcos Films, exploring the future of energy through the eyes of Scott Tinker, Ph.D., an internationally known geologist who has personal and professional ties to energy experts at WVU. The film will be shown at 7 p.m. Sept. 25, in the Gluck Theatre in the Mountainlair.

Tinker is the director of the Bureau of Economic Geology and the state geologist of Texas. He is also the acting associate dean for research, and a professor holding the Allday Endowed Chair in the Jackson School of Geosciences at The University of Texas at Austin.

Tinker himself will speak at WVU as part of the Festival of Ideas on March 19. “Scott is in high demand as a leading voice about energy who will not fail to stimulate ideas among the Festival audience,” said Patchen.

The Sept. 25 showing is free and open to the public and is being sponsored by the Davis College Division of Resource Management and the National Research Center for Coal and Energy. Other organizers include WVU’s Office of Sustainability, Regional Research Institute, College of Law’s Center for Energy and Sustainable Development and Eberly College Department of Geology and Geography.

In Switch, Tinker and director Harry Lynch explore the world’s leading energy sites, from coal to solar, oil to biofuels, many highly restricted and never before seen on film. Over the course of two years of filming in 11 countries, Tinker spoke to dozens of energy experts, representing government, industry and academia.

“I’ve known and have worked with Scott for more than a decade,” said Douglas Patchen, director of NRCCE’s Petroleum Technology Transfer Council Appalachian Center. “He is highly respected worldwide and is a highly credible source of information about energy. I think he’s taken a balanced approach that shows all sides of the energy issue, source by source.”

“If you are interested in learning about the future of energy then you need to come see this movie,” said Wesley Burnett, assistant professor of resource management, and one of the campus organizers hosting the screening. “One of the first things identified in the film is that the amount of energy we consume and produce is based upon economics,” he said. Burnett, an economist himself, offers courses to help students learn and understand the interplay of energy and economics.

The WECAN Ecolympics competition will award points for students who sign in at the screening of the film, according to Office of Sustainability Director Clement Solomon. Ecolympics is the annual contest among WVU’s dormitories and buildings for the title of most environmentally conscious building on campus.

“Viewing Switch falls in line with our ‘campus-as-the-classroom’ thinking where learning can occur in venues that extend beyond a traditional classroom,” said Solomon. “Integrating the Switch movie as part of the Ecolympics competition kickoff is sure to enlighten and inspire our campus community to assess our individual as well as collective energy footprint.”

For more information about the documentary, please visit Switch Energy Project. For more about the Ecolympics, visit wecan.wvu.edu. For more information about the Sept. 25 screening, contact Wesley Burnett at 304.293.5639 or Wesley.Burnett@mail.wvu.edu.

CONTACT: Trina Wafle, (304) 293.6038