Lauren Bower, a second year student at the University of Dayton, is an innovative leader passionate about applying her mechanical engineering skills to addressing environmental and social justice issues in our community. Her work is centered on a major landfill located in West Dayton, whose presence the community was powerless to stop. She is collaborating with a faculty mentor and community members to co-create a community enterprise that would use the landfill gas to power generators to produce off-grid electricity. The off-grid electricity is proposed to power bitcoin miners and an indoor farm, both of which will be community cooperatives. Currently, Lauren is working on the economic model to validate the worth of the enterprise. For the next two years, she will be working on the design of the cooperative organizations and continuing to build relationships to support the sustainability of the project.
Growing up, paying it forward and finding ways to help others was always important to my parents and mentors. They taught me the power of action through participation in mission trips and volunteering. Starting college, I knew I wanted to get involved in groups focused on environmental action and service to make a difference. I began by getting involved in multiple sustainability groups on campus where I work on projects such as installing solar panels on nonprofits and participate in peer education programs that teach about environmental issues and their effect on different groups. I also joined a research project focused on using landfill gas to power a bitcoin server farm and an indoor farm. Through using the gas from this landfill to power the bitcoin and indoor farms the model aims to create jobs in the community and access to healthy food while cleaning up the landfill gas.