Office of External Affairs

Main Office Contact

Executive Director of External Affairs
Michelle Pourciau

Media Inquiries
John Gordon, Jr., Director
Office of Communications
202.274.5998 (o) | 202.697.1310 (c)

Date of Publication: 

University of the District of Columbia goes off the grid.

Unique Partnership with SavWatt Lights the Way to Savings and Renewable Energy


Washington DC - The lights are on, but traditional 250 watt halide outdoor lighting no longer has a home at the UDC campus on Van Ness and Connecticut Avenue, NW, thanks to a unique pilot program now in operation.  Together with SavWatt, the university is installing an EcoPole on the campus to demonstrate energy cost savings while still providing sufficient light for security and directional support.

According to Howard Ways, UDC’s Director of Planning and Sustainability each EcoPole provides 50,000 hours of maintenance-free light, five times that of a traditional bulb. Moreover, it is powered by wind and sun, which generate all the natural energy needed to operate off the grid. Currently, each new lighting fixture saves over $300/year versus existing lights. For an institution like UDC, swapping out traditional outdoor lights with EcoPoles could translate into thousands of dollars in yearly energy savings.

“As a land-grant university, we have a mission not just to talk the talk on sustainability and environmental stewardship, we have to demonstrate our commitment every day,” noted Dr. Allen Sessoms, president of UDC. “By partnering with SavWatt, we’re positioning ourselves as a leader in renewable-energy lighting.” Ways added, “In addition to saving money and reducing our footprint, these lights put theory into practice for our engineering students focusing on renewable energy.” SavWatt is a market-leading innovator of LED lighting and is headquartered in Baltimore, MD. The Eco-Pole can also be found at the Maryland Science Center and DC Dept. of Transportation.

As the only urban land-grant institution in the United States, the University of the District of Columbia ( supports a broad mission of education, research and community service across all member colleges and schools, which include the Community College, College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences, College Arts and Sciences, School of Business and Public Administration, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and David A. Clarke School of Law.

The University of the District of Columbia is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action institution. Minorities, women, veterans and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply. For a full version of the University’s EO Policy Statement, please visit:

The University of the District of Columbia is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education - 3624 Market Street - Philadelphia, PA 19104 - 267.284.5000


Alan Etter, Vice President of University Relations & Public Affairs,, 202.345.6371