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Energy partnership announces academic investments to support Ohio State programs

The partners in charge of The Ohio State University’s Comprehensive Energy Management Project announced their first academic investments in the university today.

ENGIE North America and Axium Infrastructure announced $200,000 in academic support to programs aiding women in engineering, student sustainability programs and The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum.

“We’re very pleased to have resources to be invested in many of the most important things we work with, such as our students,” said President Michael V. Drake.

In July, Ohio State entered a 50-year partnership With ENGIE and Axium to manage and maintain the university’s energy infrastructure. The $1.165 billion deal includes a $1.015 billion payment to the university and a $150 million commitment to support academics in specific areas requested by students, faculty and staff.

The companies announced $50,000 in support for student sustainability proposals. Undergraduate Student Government (USG) and the Student Sustainability Council will use the investment to promote the development of innovative sustainability-related joint projects and programming.

“It was overwhelming but exciting that we have this amount of funding to carry out very high level projects within sustainability,” said Vikas Munjal, director of sustainability for USG. “We’ll be able to do something different that has never been done by students before.”

President Drake is joined by faculty, student government and leadership from ENGIE and AxiumOne of the key goals of the energy management partnership is to improve energy efficiency on the Columbus campus by at least 25 percent in the first 10 years.

“We are thrilled to be a part of this community. This is such a vibrant community,” said Thierry Vandal, president, Axium Infrastructure US. “It's contagious. You’re on to something and we want to help you with this journey of sustainability.”

The Women in Engineering Program will also receive $50,000 to support the program’s efforts to increase the participation of women within the engineering profession. The funding will help the program expand tutoring as well as career development programming.

“Research has shown us that building a welcoming community that cultivates a strong sense of academic and social integration and a strong sense of belonging directly impacts success and retention of women engineers,” said Lisa Barclay, senior director of diversity, outreach and inclusion for the College of Engineering.

A $100,000 investment from ENGIE and Axium in the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum will create opportunities over the next three years to expand the library’s partnerships, collections and programming relating to French cartoons and comics.

“With this unique and wonderful gift, we’ll be able to expand our collections of rare French materials that will be used in transformative teaching and scholarship,” said Jenny Robb, curator of the library and museum.

The Office of Academic Affairs will continue to engage faculty, staff and students in discussions about future academic collaboration.

“We’re incredibly proud of this partnership,” said ENGIE Chief Financial Officer Judith Hartmann. “The academic collaboration is something we want to support.”