Wow, 7 months have past since my last post. I need to get better at this blogging thing. I keep telling myself . . . just a short paragraph a day will keep this blog alive. The unfortunate (or fortunate, based on how you look at it) thing is that once I start writing, I can’t stop, so to me, there is no such thing as a short paragraph.
I’ve been busy though. The most recent time-consuming activity has been the third RYSAG summer camp. Once again, it was a success, although there was doubt at the beginning. Would the students be interested in “saving the environment”? Was the topic “sexy” enough for them? In the end, the students came to campus already aware of and concerned with issues of global warming and the need to change the way we all treat the environment. While there was no real element of discovery or suspicion, as there was in the last two camps, and students didn’t seem super motivated in class, the final presentations impressed us all, as they have always done.
The typical subject collaborations existed as they have in the past – science/chemistry, math, research, public speaking/communication and technology. In addition, we invited a few “green experts” from campus to each teach one day on their specialized topic. An Anthropology professor took students back 1000′s of years to introduce the idea of those people’s “waste,” to make the point of how much that waste has grown into modern times. She had students calculate their individual carbon footprint. Two Geology professors discussed water runoff and global warming/climate change, respectively. A History professor introduced students to the campus’ community garden and talked about sustainable agriculture, including the creation of compost piles. Finally, a Chemistry professor engaged our students in the harnessing of solar power based on blueberries as a source of energy.
Small student groups within each of our four camp teams were assigned to particular interviewees that would lend their perspective on sustainability issues and efforts. Interviewees ranged from the middle-aged curmudgeon professor who’s only motivation to recycle was to recoup 5 cents from each plastic bottle returned to the sports enthusiast Geneseo alum who didn’t care how the new stadium was designed as long as he could attend his favorite sports events to administrative officials of our campus food service who introduced students to the idea of biodegradable cups and other “plastic ware” and the push to purchase food from local farmers. Additionally, students designed 8-question surveys that they administered to anyone on campus that would take the survey. All of these ideas and data were incorporated into each team’s final presentation – a formal plea to college administration to “green-up” our future athletic stadium by implementing the suggestions made by our students. As mentioned above, the delivery, data and teamwork employed in each presentation was incredibly impressive. Our youngest team consisted of 15 11-year olds (incoming sixth graders) and they did a fantastic job!
The ppt presentations will be loaded to the GREEN-UP camp website soon, but in the meantime, enjoy the public service announcements that our students created while on campus (found on the right hand page of the GREEN-UP webpage).