Hartmann and Drake

Engie CFO Judith Hartmann shakes hands with Ohio State President Michael Drake in a Tuesday meeting announcing the first of Engie and Axium’s financial contributions to the university. Credit: Matt Dorsey | Engagement Editor

Ohio State Energy Partners announced the first of its promised investments to the university Tuesday afternoon. $100,000 will go to the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum, and $50,000 each will go to the Women in Engineering program and to student sustainability initiatives.

The $200,000 investment is part of the $150 million Ohio State Energy Partners — which is comprised of the companies Engie and Axium — committed to put into Ohio State academics, a portion of the $1.015 billion payment the partnership is making to the university as part of the 50-year energy privatization contract signed in March.

“We’re incredibly proud of this partnership,” Judith Hartmann, Engie’s CFO said at the meeting announcing the investments. “I am speaking for both companies here, and academic collaboration and all the different things that you are working on we really feel is part of what we want to support.”

The funding for the cartoon library comes with the purpose of expanding its collection of French works, such as comics and graphic novels. Engie is based in France.

The cartoon museum — which holds the world’s largest collection of cartoon and comic materials — also will look to expand programs such as artist talks centered on its collection of French works, as well as making the works easier for the public to find, said Jenny Robb, the museum’s curator.

“We are hoping to improve the discoverability of the items that are in our collection already and that we’ll be acquiring as well,” she told The Lantern. “So that just means that it will be easier to find them online.”

The investment in Women in Engineering — a program within the College of Engineering designed to increase the number of women studying and working in the historically male-dominated field — will help to build a sense of community that will drive the 2,200 female engineering students at Ohio State toward success, said Lisa Barclay, the senior director of diversity, outreach and inclusion for the College of Engineering, who oversees the program.

“The added funding that we’re very thankful for actually is going to position us to expand our programming in the classroom,” she said in the meeting. “So with those 2,200 undergraduate women, we are now able to expand our tutoring and our supplemental instruction opportunities, as well as our career development and professional development programming.”

Vikas Munjal, a fourth-year in public health as well as Undergraduate Student Government’s director of sustainability, said the funding from Energy Partners will allow the student body to work on developing new sustainability programs, though it has yet to be determined what those might be.

Munjal said with the expertise of Energy Partners, “We’ll be able to do something different, that has not been done before.”