For Emily Clements ’18, reality set in one summer evening in 2017 when she heard a theology professor talking about the benefits of solar power. Our Lady of the Road didn’t need her advice. It needed cheaper electricity.
A mission supported by South Bend Catholic Worker and Notre Dame’s Center for Social Concerns, OLR is a place near downtown South Bend where street folks are welcome to take a shower, do their laundry and get a meal.
Its donations come in small denominations. Every nickel counts. Clements, who graduated in May with a chemical engineering degree, was looking for a project to satisfy the capstone requirement for her sustainability minor. Her epiphany came during one of her volunteer shifts at the shelter, when she heard Notre Dame theologian Margaret Pfeil, an OLR co-founder, musing about how solar power would nearly eliminate the shelter’s energy expenses.
That’s why Clements’ project, instead of simply being typed and double-spaced, will result in a rooftop array of solar panels.