Indiana University at South Bend’s Society for Physics Students invited Gary Gilot, Director of Public Works for the City of South Bend, and myself to present on the hydroelectric generator project for the dam at Century Center. 


I gave a brief overview of my interest in the project starting with my “green” sensibilities and how I was able to research hydroelectric power in South Bend for my Masters degree in Liberal Studies at IUSB.  In my presentation, I enjoy asking the audience my trivia question: “What natural resource on our river did the early French settlers exploit to make their fortunes,” for which I offer anyone with the answer a bar of fair-trade, organic dark chocolate.  I’m always amazed how long it takes someone to come up with this piece of history on our city.  The audience seemed to appreciate my narrated slide show on the history of using water power in South Bend leading up to the current hydro project under consideration. 


Mr. Gilot followed up with his presentation on some of the “green” initiatives underway in South Bend, including upgrading the sewer system to reduce combined sewage overflow into the river, diverting heat from supercomputers on the campus at Notre Dame to the desert dome of the municipal greenhouse and, of course the hydroelectric project.  Mr. Gilot reported the windowed concourse is still in the design plans and that the city is pursuing “economic stimulus” package money as a possible funding source.  He reported the city is also in contact with private entities to try to find funding sources there.  The city continues to seek public support for this and other “green” initiatives, including a proposed wind-farm co-op if an appropriate site can be found in the area.