Lucy Bechtel (right) with members of The Global Sunrise at UQ
Lucy Bechtel (right) with members of The Global Sunrise at UQ
12 July 2011

A University of Queensland graduate is playing her part in an ambitious solar energy project in Africa.

Economics alumnus Lucy Bechtel is the Asia Pacific Coordinator of The Global Sunrise, a network of young professionals spanning three continents who met during a climate change conference at UQ in 2009.

The group have set themselves the task of raising USD$100,000 by the end of the year to provide mobile solar energy generators and deliver renewable energy education programs to a school in Sierra Leone.

“The Global Sunrise project will empower schools and communities and provide education programs in using renewable energies,” Ms Bechtel said.

“The outcome is a long term commitment to economic development and environmental sustainability. By engaging schools and communities in our own neighbourhoods we hope to create awareness and encourage habitual change in our own actions.”

Founder of The Global Sunrise Michael Furey said the Universitas 21 conference had provided the impetus to make a difference.

“U21 has been a game changer for myself and for many conference participants. What started as seemingly minor commitments to alter our own lifestyles has now blossomed into actions with global ramifications,” he said.

“I was able to use the U21 network to mobilise a group of passionate young minds with diverse academic expertise who are committed to awareness and action on climate change.”

The group hoped the pilot project in Sierra Leone would be the first of many in both developing and developed countries.

“I’m passionate about the work of The Global Sunrise and believe it is an exciting chance to pursue future ambitions in this field,” Ms Bechtel said.

“We have been fortunate to have been able to engage with a number of organisations already working in Sierra Leone. By the end of the year we will have tangible results in a school in Sierra Leone and plans for more renewable energy projects in the future.”

If you would like to support the Global Sunrise, or learn more about its projects, please visit

Media: Lucy Bechtel ( or Kate Swanson (07 3346 7406,