The National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium (NAFTC) hosted a National Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) Day Odyssey display on April 21 at the West Virginia University student union as part of the WVU Sierra Club’s Green on the Green Eco Jamboree celebrating Earth Day.

National AFV Day Odyssey is a nationwide, biennial celebration created by the NAFTC to promote the use of and educate the public on alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles.

Since Odyssey’s beginning in 2002 with 51 participating locations, the NAFTC has continued to oversee this event. Odyssey has grown in size and impact through the years. Each National AFV Day Odyssey draws an increasing number of participating locations and reaches millions of consumers through media outlets. In 2010, nearly 200,000 people attended Odyssey events at 131 participating locations, and more than 90 million consumers were reached through the media. For 2012, Odyssey’s goals include hosting more than 150 event sites, attracting more than 200,000 event attendees and reaching more than 100 million consumers through the media.

The NAFTC participated in the Eco Jamboree with the hopes of recruiting exhibitors for the WVU 2012 Odyssey event and to spread Odyssey’s message of energy independence to other attendees who might be interested in hosting events. At the Odyssey display, NAFTC employees passed out information on alternative fuel vehicles, Odyssey tote bags, pens, water bottles and notepads. About 50 event attendees visited the Odyssey display and signed up to participate in National AFV Day Odyssey 2012.

“We are excited to see so many WVU students interested in alternative fuel and advanced electric drive vehicles. Today’s youth will become tomorrow’s consumers of alternative fuel vehicles. We are thrilled to be able to educate new generations of AFV drivers,” said NAFTC Odyssey Manager Virginia McMillen. “With so much support from young people, Odyssey is sure to grow throughout the coming years.”

WVU Odyssey Michele Wengryn

NAFTC Odyssey Specialist Michele Wengryn supplies Odyssey information to an Eco Jamboree attendee. Credit: NAFTC

The NAFTC exhibited at the Eco Jamboree under the umbrella of the National Research Center for Coal and Energy (NRCCE) programs. The NRCCE also hosted a display on energy efficiency and recycling by Industries of the Future-West Virginia, which invited event attendees to shoot aluminum cans through a basketball hoop with a recycling bin underneath it to stress the energy efficiency benefits of recycling. At the Odyssey display, employees from the NRCCE and NAFTC instructed attendees in making hand-held electric motors from D-cell batteries, magnets, paperclips and turning wire to demonstrate the effectiveness of electric drive vehicles.

WVU Odyssey Jenny McMillen

NAFTC Odyssey Manager Virginia McMillen shows a WVU student how to construct a hand-held electric motor. Credit: NAFTC

The Eco Jamboree featured about 20 other campus organizations that focus on environmental issues, including the WVU Solar Decathlon Team and WECAN, WVU’s sustainability program.




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