Marietta College students install wellhead on campus in memory of fallen student

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MARIETTA, Oh. (WTAP) - Marietta College students worked side by side with professionals to install an oil and gas wellhead on campus Saturday afternoon. And that well holds special meaning for students.

The student-led group Energy Business Alliance was created in 2014.

“At the Energy Business Alliance, we do many things," said EBA president, Derek Krieg. "We do trips. But we do simulated projects as well. We try to take our education beyond the classroom.”

This includes projects like designing an entire system of horizontal utica shale wells, simulated to be in Harrison County. All of the drilling and engineering plans for this project are done by the students.

With some help from local companies and Universal Wellhead Services, who donated the wellhead, students got to work alongside professionals in the installation process. Industry experts were on hand to ensure all safety protocols were observed.

“It feels great to be able to help out fellow people coming up in the oil and gas industry," Universal Wellhead Services vice president Harry Berry said.

The wellhead will be very useful to professors and students because it's open.

“Coshockton Industries are the ones who actually cut the wellhead so we can see the internal compartments of it," said Krieg, "which is something you’re not going to get to see in the field, and it’s going to be very valuable for us as students."

The wellhead is also very special to students because it will be named after Joel Wunnenberg, a freshman who suddenly passed away in March 2017.

Almost 25 people from his hometown of Springdale, Pennsylvania, including his family, attended the ceremony.

“The love of my life died at age 18," Joel's mother, Kim, said, "and all he ever dreamed of was being at Marietta and being a petroleum engineer.”

Wunnenberg fought back tears alongside her older son, Brandon. They say Joel’s humble spirit inspired everyone at the college even know he was just a freshman.

“You would think this would be a place that would be hard to come back to," said Brandon Palermo, Joel's older brother, "but it really isn’t. Everyone’s so gracious and welcoming. You feel the love of my brother when you come here.”

And that love will live on with the wellhead bearing his name.

“This is awesome. This is forever,” added Wunnenberg.

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