Columbia Gorge Community College Receives Invite to an International Renewable Energy Conference


Suzanne Burd
Community Education Coordinator/EM-Tech Program Coordinator, (541) 506-6123

November 1, 2013

In March 2013, Columbia Gorge Community College (CGCC) was contacted by Jack Corbett, PSU's international exchange liaison requesting a tour of the Renewable Energy Technology (RET) program. On April 4th a delegation from the Universidad Tecnologica de los Valles Centrales de Oaxaca visited the college to learn more about its renewable energy technology programs. The UT, as it is generally referred to in its home state of Oaxaca, Mexico, is a new public university focusing on appropriate technologies, food processing and commercialization, community development, and sustainability. Its mission is to support the regional economy and local opportunity in Oaxaca, one of the poorest states in Mexico and home to many Mexicans migrating to the Pacific Northwest. The delegation of UT faculty and staff visited Oregon to explore the possibilities of collaboration and exchange with institutions of higher education here, as part of its effort to learn from international leaders in program innovation and training. Currently international investors are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to take advantage of Oaxaca's potential in wind energy so the Universidad Tecnologica seeks to prepare its students to enter industry support services there rather than confront the long, difficult, and uncertain journey to the United States.

Suzanne coordinated the visit and led the RET program tour with help from RET staff and faculty. At the time, it was offered that a CGCC representative would be invited to attend their conference as ongoing efforts at a cultural exchange. As it turns out, they were serious.

On October 24 and 25, Suzanne Burd represented Columbia Gorge Community College at the Technological Challenges for Sustainable Development conference, an international renewable energy conference in Oaxaca, Mexico. She presented on what it takes to be successful in developing a renewable energy technology program.