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.
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:
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
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.”
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.”
The 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.
By 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.
By Rachael Blum
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.
Three 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!”
Climber, 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.
Cameras and flashes were going off from every angle. Cell phones and DSLRs were held in the air documenting stretchy pizza strands and raised glasses. The multimedia journalism class took a field trip to cover the English Department Pizza Party, Oct. 30, at DiMaggio’s Pizza. They spread the news via Social Media, audio interviews, photo slideshows, and Audio Soundslides. Check out their work here. Thanks to the English Department for hosting a fun event, and a learning opportunity for the Multimedia Journalism class.
Dr. Soraya Cardenas is a new Associate Professor in Interdisciplinary Studies. Her areas of specialization are Environmental Sociology, Social Justice, Sustainability, Renewable Energy and Water Resources. She received her doctorate at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She comes to Sierra Nevada College from the University of Maine at Fort Kent. Some of her accolades include Fulbright Scholar, University of Kansas Dissertation Fellow, recipient of a National Science Foundation Grant to produce a documentary with students on biomass, researcher of the year at the University of Maine at Fort Kent, and nominee for a statewide service award in Maine for her work with students and the community. Most recently, she just completed a manuscript for publication.
On a personal note, Soraya is a distance runner and currently is training for a marathon. She also enjoys downhill and skate skiing, hiking, snorkeling and biking.
Multimedia Journalism student and Sustainability major Sharhesa Fife interviews Soraya about when Soraya realized she was passionate about Sustainability.
The foot-stompin’, hand-clappin’ music from the Lost Sierra Hoedown is lingering long past the Sept. 20-22 event, as refrains of the student-led fundraiser for a shuttered ski area spread through the ski community.
This time, Freeskier magazine took note, and interviewed Interdisciplinary Studies students Drew Fisher, Rachael Blum and Cody Wilkins for an article about the event, “Sierra Nevada College students aim to preserve Johnsville Ski Bowl with Lost Sierra Hoedown.”
Besides detailing how the event was conceived and created, the Freeskier story explains the goals of the Interdisciplinary Studies. Read the story on the link above, but also consider how Sierra Nevada College’s “experiential learning” is lauded in the final paragraphs of the article:
The project certainly met the underlying goal of the Interdisciplinary Studies service learning project; the event taught them more about leadership in the outdoor adventure arena than anything in a lecture hall ever could have. The school encouraged Drew Fisher, Cody Wilkins, and Rachael Blum to try something different, and then provided the support to meet that objective.