Category Archives: Interdisciplinary Studies

Soraya Cardenas speaks at DRI

Soraya Cardenas

Sustainability Professor Soraya Cardenas speaks at the Desert Research Institute on Feb. 21

Sustainability Professor Soraya Cardenas visited the Desert Research Institute Feb. 21 to discuss how collaboration with various agencies can help obtain competitive grants. She used a case study from Fort Kent, Maine about a $97,000 grant, funded by a National Science Foundation Sustainability Initiative.

Turnip the Heat Tuesdays organized by SNC senior

Senior Samantha Van Ruiten continues to be a huge asset for the Tahoe-Truckee community as she works with several area nonprofits organizations on community events. She has created an event for the Tahoe Food Hub called Turnip the Heat Tuesdays.

She began working on a community soup night last semester for her Service Learning project and is now continuing this semester for her Senior Portfolio. The goal of Turnip the Heat Tuesdays is to create a more food-focused community, using fresh, sustainably grown ingredients.

The first Community Soup night was held Feb. 11 at Spice. The next one will be from 6-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 25, at Full Belly Deli in Truckee’s Pioneer Center. Cost is $5 for soup and bread, and the event includes a raffle, music and drinks.

The next event will be March 11 at Coffeebar in Truckee.

Go have some soup and support Samantha!

High Country News recognizes SNC’s Sustainability program

Sierra Nevada College’s Sustainability major was included in the High Country News’ annual Special Issue on the Future. This year’s theme: Building a more sustainable West, one city at a timefocused on the region’s more notable efforts to build sustainable urban environments.

There was a special pull-out section Sustainability Studies Guide – Sustainability: Higher Education’s New Field of Study which included SNC as one of the leading programs in the country and what we are doing to help meet the challenges of the future. Go to page 49-51 on High Country News’ pdf version of the magazine to see the blurb about SNC and the photo of Lake Tahoe next to it. We also have an ad for SNC on page 44.

The High Country News says that next year it will continue to explore the future and its challenges. As it uncovers what academic institutions, innovative and non-traditional educational programs, conservation groups, companies and others are doing to address those challenges, we expect and hope that SNC will continue to be included for its innovative work in Sustainability.

Soraya Cardenas to share case study at DRI

Sustainability Professor Soraya Cardenas will visit the Desert Research Institute Feb. 21 to discuss how collaboration with various agencies can help obtain competitive grants. She will use a case study from Fort Kent, Maine about a $97,000 grant, funded by a National Science Foundation Sustainability Initiative.

The DRI conducts cutting edge applied research in air, land, life and water quality in Nevada, the U.S. and internationally. It has 500 employees on two main campuses in Reno and Las Vegas and generates $50 million in total annual revenue. However, its faculty members are responsible for their own salaries from external grants and contracts.

She will be talking about her case study with the DRI scientists at noon on Friday, Feb. 21, in the DRI’s conference room. Below is the explanation of her presentation:

Adopting Collaborations with Social Sciences in Grant Opportunities: The Case Study of Fort Kent, ME

Obtaining grants have become more competitive and agencies have required greater joint parameters between institutions, such as the partnering of varying sciences.   This presentation will demonstrate how this collaboration is possible through a case study, which was funded by a National Science Foundation Sustainability Initiative.  Environmental Sociologist, Dr. Cardenas who was the PI for the grant, successfully secured $97,000 for an exploratory research initiative with the possibility of renewal for 4 years. This project explored the potential for biomass introduction and adoption in Fort Kent, ME and surrounding community.  This grant supported faculty from the Biological Sciences, Forestry and Social Sciences.  They were solicited to study varying aspects of the issue.  Social Scientist, Dr. Cardenas project consisted of utilizing her students in her Environmental Sociology class and developing a documentary that describes biomass and explores the feasibility of biomass as an alternative heating initiative. This presentation will introduce the biomass project, a 15 minute video of the students’ work, followed by a brief discussion of how DRI scientists can collaborate with Sierra Nevada College to increase funding opportunities through the inclusion of student assisted research.

 

Learn about this semester’s Service Learning projects on Monday, Dec. 9

The editors of the Eagle’s Eye queried a group of students Monday night about what they like to read about in the campus newspaper. One of the top choices that the students mentioned were the interesting and exciting projects students created through Service Learning.

Every semester, Interdisciplinary Studies students develop a personal project which clears a path to their future career, according to an Eagle’s Eye article. SNC offers an innovative interdisciplinary class called Service Learning where students dig deeper and become involved in unique volunteer opportunities. The SNC website, says “Through the required Service Learning course, which challenges students to explore how their actions, their academic interests, and their own initiative can contribute to the community, students learn to make a difference AND maximize their learning. This hands-on, experiential program dares students to get out and do it—and they do.”

If you want to see the inspiring projects completed by this semester’s students, there will be presentations from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 9, in TCES 139. Stop by to hear the following students talk about their projects:

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Peace Center inspires Social Sustainability students

 
Justice Club

Students from the Society and Sustainability capstone course and the Justice Club listen to passionate opinions by members of the Nevada County Peace Center.

By Kelly Benson
Junior

Students in the Society and Sustainability capstone course and members of the Justice Club joined Professor Brennan Lagasse on a field trip Nov. 19 to meet with members of the Nevada County Peace Center.

This trip gave students the opportunity to see first-hand how the topics of justice, peace, and equality could transfer from classroom discussion to real world examples. For several hours different members of the Peace Center spoke on their topics of interest, ranging from climate change, GMO labeling, activism in the form of non-violence, action through artistic expression, and changes in policy. It was evident that the speakers were very passionate about their work, and excited to share with a group of young, motivated students.

Samantha Van Ruiten, a student in the capstone course shared, “I’m inspired by the actions and knowledge of the ladies at the Peace and Justice Center in Nevada City. I think it is important to see and interact with those type of organizations, because it’s one thing to discuss this in class but another to meet and talk to people who are involved and a part of these social movements.”

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2nd Annual Sustainability Film Festival

Sustainability-FIlm-Festival-Logo-2

 

 

Engage, Educate and Activate Sustainability Awareness

By Beth Portesi

SNC kicked off the 2nd annual Sustainability Film Festival earlier this week. The aroma of popcorn permeated the TCES lobby Thursday evening as students and members of the community filled TCES 139 for a screening of the film “Chasing Ice.”

chasing iceThe turn out was a huge success, with viewers sitting along the back walls of the room. The documentary film followed James Balog and his Extreme Ice Survey team as they set up time-lapse cameras in the most severe conditions, to document the effects of our changing climate on glaciers. Balog is aware that people are bombarded with contradicting arguments, predictions, and statistics regarding the crisis of our planet. He sets out to send a message to people through his photography of what is happening right now, in our lifetime, due to carbon dioxide emissions. The Denver Post review of the film puts the film’s impression in perspective, “The scale of the glaciers, and the almost hallucinogenic clarity of the images, make the resulting footage, based on three years’ shooting, most impressive. One piece of ice we see breaking off is said to be the size of lower Manhattan.”

The Festival continued on Friday and Saturday with food, drinks, raffles, and prizes donated from businesses in the Tahoe area. The other featured films of the weekend included The Garden. Bidder 70, and Pipe Dreams.

James Balog’s TED talk on the Extreme Ice Survey project with the results of his study.

 

Sustainability Club supports this week’s film festival

By Rachael Blum
photo

Rachael Blum

My role in the Sustainability Club is as co-president with Marina McCoy. We like to give club members opportunities to explore and learn how to be more sustainable in their daily practices while also exploring and providing opportunities to attend neat events pertaining to sustainable matters.

Sustainability Club has had a slow start in regards to recruiting members. We are working on changing a few things, but plan to begin implementing projects including improved recycling on campus, food improvements in the bookstore, student bus passes, fill stations etc. Meetings are Mondays at 6 pm in TCES lounge.

For the Sustainability Film Festival on Nov. 6-9, we have made efforts to make it a Zero Waste Event by teaming up with IVGID’s Waste Not program. There will be recycling and composting bins available on site to help reduce the waste we generate.
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Students lead parents on hike around Spooner Lake

By Rachael Blum
ODAL student

Parent’s Weekend on Oct. 12 was full of activities to better convey what Sierra Nevada College is all about! The men’s team competed in its first lacrosse game, parents could listen in on academic panels, President Gillette hosted a BBQ, and the ODAL program provided a hike around Spooner Lake.

It was a perfect fall afternoon to get parents moving and into the woods. The aspens were showing off their colors and the sky was as blue as ever; morale was high as about 24 parents and students walked the two-mile loop around Spooner Lake.

Screen shot 2013-10-16 at 12.36.48 PMThree students led the hike: Drew Fisher, a Journalism and ODAL major; Ashley Vander Meer, an Environmental Science and ODAL major; and myself, Rachael Blum, a Sustainability and ODAL major. Coming alongside us was Darrel Teittinen, an ODAL instructor at SNC.

The parents were very enthusiastic to learn about the Outdoor Adventure Leadership program and get outside. They were particularly impressed with the beauty of the area. Conversation was easy and continuous, bonds were made, and smiles were everywhere.

ODAL Program Chair Rosie Hackett added, “This was a great opportunity for our ODAL students to show off what they really do….active learning at its best. ODAL students can’t just talk about their education to their parents, they need to show their parents what they are capable of, i.e. LEADING!”

Good turnout for Adventurer Todd Offenbacher’s talk

Skiing-EMBClimber, skier and adventurer Todd Offenbacher spoke at Sierra Nevada College Oct. 8, highlighting his climbing trips in Alaska and his ski mountaineering in Antarctica. What an awesome presentation for ODAL students! There was great attendance as well from the community and SNC students.

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