- About UVM
- Student Life
UVM faculty members are invited to apply for mini-grants of up to $1,000 to cover expenses associated with altering an existing course to include service-learning pedagogy, developing a new course involving service-learning activities, or initiating a long-term service-learning project or partnership. Jay Ashman, Community Development and Applied Economics (CDAE), Anju Dahiya and Don Ross, Plant and Soil Science; Walter Kuentzel, David Kestenbaum, and Walter Poleman, Rubenstein School of the Environment and Natural Resources (RSENR), have all committed to creating new service-learning opportunities at UVM. The CUPS office is supporting the implementation of these new courses by awarding $3,750 in Fall 2010 Service-Learning Implementation Grants to these faculty members. These proposals are judged on the quality of both the projects and partnerships proposed, as well as evidence of innovation and creativity. The Faculty Fellows for Service-Learning Program recruits faculty members from across UVM to participate in a seminar each Spring on how to build service-learning pedagogy into courses. Carol Buck-Rolland, Nursing; Binta Colley, Education; David Conner, CDAE; Larry Forcier, Jed Murdoch and David Raphael, RSENR, will be participating in the spring seminars, and will join a community of over 70 trained faculty members at UVM.
Jon Erickson is frustrated. "Lake Champlain is in bad shape," he says, "The algae blooms we see each year are a symptom of a lake receiving too much phosphorous, too much pollution." "We've got good science; we already know how to solve this. But the public has this apathy," he says. "We're not making the tough choices needed to clean it up." So, this September, Erickson, the director of UVM's Gund Institute for Ecological Economics, took a break from writing academic papers -- and decided to make a movie. Three months later, on Nov. 29, more than 250 people fill every seat of the Palace Nine theater in South Burlington to watch the premiere of Bloom: The Plight of Lake Champlain, a 30-minute documentary film. Dozens of people are turned away and told they must wait for a second impromptu screening. Apparently, not everyone is apathetic about the lake. Which is very pleasing to Erickson, who served as Bloom's executive producer, Victor Guadagno, the film's writer and director, Amy Seidl G '01 a lecturer in the Environmental Program, and Ben Falk '01 a landscape architect and experimental farmer.
Mountain Manager Jesse Paul and University of Vermont student volunteer Christian Ruf have been busy this fall at Cochran's Ski Area in Richmond. Lights have been installed for night skiing as Cochran's prepares for a 50th anniversary celebration in February.
Classes, clubs, labs, dorms, study spots and dining halls. These are a few of the broad terms that shape our understanding of university life. But what does it really look like when 15,000 people -- faculty, students, staff -- work and live together, pursuing knowledge, making discoveries, and yes, having fun, too? For one day, we're spreading out around campus, knocking on doors, stopping passers-by, climbing to the fourth floor of the library and hiking down the hill to capture snapshots and small glimpses into the people, programs and places that make up this university. Follow us here as the day progresses to see one day in the life of UVM.
Four students at the University of Vermont have been awarded a scholarship by United Academics (AAUP/AFT) for demonstrating their dedication to social, economic, and environmental justice. Each year the faculty union at the university provides $500 to be used for books and supplies by students who exemplify not only academic excellence but also an active commitment to achieving justice. The scholarship is named in honor of Jeffrey Brace, a Black American who lived and farmed in Vermont from the late 1700s until his death in 1827. The United Academics Jeffrey Brace Book Award for 2010-2011 goes to DeAnna Bevilacqua, a psychology major from East Greenbush, N.Y.; Kimberly Davy, a nutrition and food science major from the Bronx, N.Y.; April Hillman, an environmental sciences major from Shelburne, Vt.; and Genna Waldvogel, another environmental sciences major, from Branford, Conn. This is the seventh year the scholarship has been awarded.
In 1941, the University of Vermont acquired an exhausted farm in Jericho, Vermont. It was a place of sandy soils, rutted steep pastures, and few trees. But, in the last seven decades, the trees have grown back and the old farm has grown up into UVM's Jericho Research Forest. This 500-acre parcel, 30 minutes from campus, is now part outdoor classroom, enlightened logging school, wilderness camp, research station, community center--and working model of ecological recovery. Many aspects of this work will be on display, Saturday, Nov. 6, during an "Open Forest" event at the Jericho site. Free and open to the public, the Open Forest runs from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., and the public is invited to attend all or part of the day's events.
Before Gwen Ifill, senior correspondent and co-anchor for the PBS NewsHour, delivered her George D. Aiken Lecture and fielded questions from members of a packed Ira Allen Chapel on Sept. 30, she wanted to get a few things out of the way. "You will want to know if Washington is as screwed up as it looks," said Ifill, moderator and managing editor of Washington Week. "The short answer is nothing could be as screwed up as it looks. You will want to know if my craft, journalism, is hopelessly out of whack. The short answer is -- not quite. In fact, we are a lot less screwed up than it looks from a distance. You will want to know if Jim Lehrer (PBS NewsHour anchor) is as cool as he seems. The answer is more. And you'll want to know whether I liked it when Queen Latifah played me on Saturday Night Live. Short answer -- I liked it a lot. I don't get a lot of cover girl models playing me, so I'll take it." Ifill's 40-minute lecture titled "Politics, Policy, and Reality from Washington to Vermont and Beyond" took on a more serious tone and touched on a wide range of topics including the current political climate heading into the mid-term elections, the media's role in covering world events, and her journey as a black female journalist.
The Vermont Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (VT EPSCoR) has appointed Miranda Lescaze as the coordinator of the VT EPSCoR Center for Workforce Development and Diversity (CWDD). The center recognizes the increasing importance of cultivating and preparing a diverse science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and social science workforce in Vermont and providing research internship opportunities for meritorious high school, undergraduate and graduate students interested in pursuing these areas of study.
Gwen Ifill, senior correspondent and co-anchor for the PBS NewsHour and moderator and managing editor of Washington Week, will be the keynote speaker of the 2010 George D. Aiken Lecture on Thursday, Sept. 30 at 5 p.m. at Ira Allen Chapel. Her talk is titled "Politics, Policy, and Reality from Washington to Vermont and Beyond." Iffil, who was awarded the prestigious 2008 George Foster Peabody Award for her work on Washington Week, is author of "The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama" and will be available to sign the book following her lecture.
The Wilderness Society announced the 2010 recipient of the Gloria Barron Scholarship. The $10,000 annual scholarship was awarded to Rose Graves, a graduate student of University of Vermont. Tom Barron, a Wilderness Society Governing Council Member, created this scholarship in honor of his mother Gloria Barron who is a dedicated educator and tireless advocate for wilderness protection. Through this scholarship, Barron "hopes to encourage some of our nation's best conservationists at a crucial point in their careers. We want nothing less than to identify, support, and honor the future Aldo Leopolds in our midst — as well as future Rachel Carsons, Mardy Muries, John Muirs, Howard Zahnisers, Bob Marshalls, and Gaylord Nelsons." There were more than 80 applicants who submitted research proposals that deal with wild land conservation in the United States. Ms. Grave's proposal focused on re-connecting wilderness areas in the northeastern U.S. to better enable wildlife movement and survival in the face of threats from development and climate change. Her project combines ecological and GIS analysis with a plan for partnerships with communities to help the needed re-connections happen.
If ever a building needed, deserved, and, to take some license, wanted to be green, it is the George D. Aiken Center. Yet for years the home to UVM's Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources has been a place where students listen to lectures on the natural world in a windowless room with poor air circulation. Filled with students, carbon dioxide levels spike to the point that even the most engaging professor would have a fight to keep heads from nodding. But with a green light from the university's board of trustees last October, Aiken's time has come. Though work continues on adding more critical private support into the building's funding mix, crews broke ground on the renovation this summer. A rapid construction schedule anticipates cutting the ribbon on the newly green Aiken Center during the 2011-2012 academic year.
When Bennie J. Hayden, a businessman and self-described social entrepreneur, searched the internet from his home in Detroit for a place he could learn more about sustainable and socially responsible business practices, he determined that Vermont was where he needed to be. Wanting to learn more, he enrolled in a five-day intensive course in the summer of 2010 at the University of Vermont titled "Sustainable Business: Practices in Support of People, Profits and Principles." Jon Erickson, professor of ecological economics in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, and managing director of the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics, collaborated with the School Business Administration faculty to start the "Sustainable Business" course six years ago before concepts around sustainability and ecological economics had become more mainstream.
Four members of the UVM faculty have been named Fullbright Scholars and will spend the 2010-2011 academic year studying abroad in Hong Kong, China, Tanzania and Kazakhstan. Richard Johnson and Cynthia Gerstl-Pepin, both associate professors in the College of Education and Social Services; Jurij Homziak, extension assistant professor in the Rubenstein School of Environmental Studies; and Jon Erickson, associate professor of ecological economics in the Rubenstein School, were among 800 U.S. faculty and professionals awarded grants to lecture and conduct research in their chosen fields. The Fulbright Program, sponsored by the United States Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, is the flagship international educational exchange program designed to "increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries."
Students from UVM's Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources visit the desert city of Arad, Israel – a sister city of Burlington, VT – to help locals make the most of their ecologically-sensitive surroundings. Led by professor Kimberly Wallin and UVM Hillel director Susan Leff, the team of six men and seven women demonstrated their skill at "making the most out of whatever is available," said Ohr Menachem school principal Chanie Mendelzohn. And in deference to the religious sensibilities of the local population, they did so while adhering to Jewish norms of modesty. Graduate student Byron Murray led the men in tackling projects at the boys’ school, while the UVM women – bedecked in long skirts and three-quarter sleeves – got their hands dirty at the girls’ school under the direction of university teaching assistant Kim DePasquale.
Six University of Vermont students have been awarded prestigious Benjamin A Gilman Scholarships. The Gilman is a nationally competitive award given to accomplished students with financial need who wish to study abroad. Rubenstein School students Joshua Carrera ('12) and Kellie McMahon ('12) are recipients.
As oil continues to leak into the Gulf of Mexico, it's clear the long-term effects of this disaster will be far-reaching. Here, three UVM faculty and a post-doctoral researcher address the issue from their respective fields: ecological economics, finance, political science and sociology. The Mississippi River Delta has lost more than a million acres of land since the 1930's. Kenneth Bagstad, a post-doctoral researcher at UVM's Gund Institute for Ecological Economics, sees the BP oil spill disaster adding to this problem. He's a co-author on a new report "Gaining Ground," that explores the value of restoring Louisiana's coastal wetlands and the risks of not doing so.
New England forests stand at a turning point. A new study released today by the Harvard Forest reports that, following almost 200 years of natural reforestation, forest cover is declining in Vermont and all the other New England states. The authors of the Wildlands and Woodlands report, including University of Vermont forester Bill Keeton, call for conserving 70 percent of New England as forestland, a target that they say is critical to protecting vital natural benefits that would be costly, and in some cases impossible, to replace. "This may be unprecedented," said Keeton, "it's one of the first times that forest scientists from leading institutions across the whole of New England have gotten together to share a common conservation vision for the region." "We're making a statement that now is the time we need to act to protect our forests," Keeton said. He points to the cutting of forestland for development and changing forest ownership patterns, a warming climate, and a growing list of invasive pests as the "three critical threats" to New England's forests. But much forest still remains. "We've been given a second chance to determine the future of the region's forests," said David Foster, lead author of the report and director of the Harvard Forest. "This report calls attention to the pressing need to couple New England's existing conservation capacity and shared land ethic with a vision for the next century in which forests remain an integral part of our livelihoods."
The National Geographic Society has selected University of Vermont scientist Saleem Ali as an "Emerging Explorer" for 2010. He will be featured in the June edition of National Geographic magazine. One of fourteen "visionary, young trailblazers from around the world," the society announced today, Ali, an expert in conflict resolution and environmental science, will also receive a $10,000 prize. Ali has received international acclaim for his work to bring together vying -- even warring -- groups to communicate and build diplomatic trust. "My goal is to get policymakers and educators thinking about how environmental issues can, in fact, be used as a peace-building strategy," says Ali, professor of environmental planning and Asian studies.
The Smithsonian's National Design Museum has selected an "Eco-Machine" created by John Todd, professor of ecological design at the University of Vermont, as one of the winners of its National Design Triennial. Built at the Omega Center for Sustainable Living, in Rhinebeck, N.Y., Todd's Eco-Machine is an advanced waste-water treatment system that mimics nature, using an integrated series of tanks filled with microbes, algae, plants and even fish to clean water and break down sludge. Part of the new exhibition, "Why Design Now?" Todd's Eco-Machine, with 125 other winning projects, was selected by the curators as one "the most innovative, forward thinking designs at the center of contemporary culture in the previous three years." The exhibition opens at the Smithsonian Institution's Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum3 in New York City, May 14 and will be on view through January 9, 2011.
Faculty, students and community partners were honored at the annual recognition reception of the UVM Office of Community-University Partnerships and Service-Learning on April 26 for their commitment to service-learning and the creation of community-based learning opportunities that enhance student learning and meet real community needs. Since the inception of the ceremony in 2003, the number of service learning courses at UVM has more than tripled. In the 2009-2010 academic year, 65 courses included community-based learning elements often resulting in research conducted by faculty in collaboration with community partners. In the Outstanding Service-Learning Student category, Dana Gulley was the undergraduate winner for her work in the Charlie Ross Environmental Public Service Practicum for which she eventually served as teaching assistant for two years. Gulley also serves as a Rubenstein School Steward and provides leadership and support to students within the school. Teage O'Connor was the graduate student winner in the same category for his work in developing a community outreach program for the city of South Burlington in the course "Place Based Landscape Analysis" taught by Walter Poleman, senior lecturer in Natural Resources. O'Connor helped survey a 250-acre farm conserved by the Vermont Land Trust and investigated the human history on the land from the retreat of the glaciers to the present.
The moment Kevin Jordan '04 fully realized he'd made the right choice in selecting UVM from the nine schools in his college search didn't occur in the Green Mountains, but a couple of thousand miles away in the red canyons of Utah. Studying in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, Jordan was among the fortunate undergraduates who land summer internships with Professor Robert Manning and his team in the Park Studies Laboratory. His summer of 2002 was a memorable one, spent surveying visitors to Zion National Park and in his spare time hitting the trails. One particular jaunt stands out -- an excursion with Manning, his wife, Martha, and a backcountry ranger through a challenging slot canyon route known as "The Subway." "Where else but UVM could I have the unique experience of hiking a famed hike with one of my professors who just two semesters before was testing me on Aldo Leopold, Edward Abbey, Rachel Carson, and other great environmental writers," Jordan recalls. "It was on this hike and thereafter that I viewed Manning as a friend and as a peer rather than as an instructor or as a supervisor." Teacher-student mentorships that start in the classroom and grow into close bonds in the field are typical memories for Manning's former undergrad and graduate students. Many of them added their voices of support in backing the professor's selection for the university's 2010 George V. Kidder Award, a teaching honor bestowed by UVM's Alumni Association.
Its southern orientation, easygoing slope, and ample surface area make the roof of the University of Vermont's Miller Equine Center on Spear Street a potentially ideal sunlight collector. That fact was not lost on a committee of University of Vermont students, faculty, staff and alumni charged with greenlighting proposals received by the university's new Clean Energy Fund. Thanks to the fund, the horse barn's red metal roof will house a large array of solar panels producing up to 150 kilowatts of electricity, one of nine renewable energy-related projects to be financed through the new fund. The Clean Energy Fund assesses UVM undergraduate and graduate students a $10 fee each semester to establish new clean energy projects on and around the UVM campus, generating about $225,000 per year. The idea for the program was launched by students in 2005 and endorsed by the Student Government Association two years later, after a randomized survey of 419 students showed that 68 percent would pay $10 per semester for the development of clean energy for the UVM campus. The fund was approved by the university's board of trustees in 2008.
"Would any sane person think dumpster diving would have stopped Hitler, or that composting would have ended slavery...or that chopping wood and carrying water would have gotten people out of Tsarist prisons...?" asked Derrick Jensen last year in Orion magazine. "Then why now, with all the world at stake, do so many people retreat into these entirely personal 'solutions'?" Jensen, philosopher, environmental activist and acclaimed author, has never been one to soft-pedal his opinions. "We are members of the most destructive culture ever to exist," he writes. Now he is asking: can our culture undergo a voluntary transformation to a sustainable way of living? He'll address this question and others in a keynote address, "Civilization and Resistance: What are the Stakes?" Wednesday, April 21 at 7 p.m. in Ira Allen Chapel. Part of UVM's Earth Week events, Jensen will be joined by John Todd, professor of ecological planning in UVM's Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, who will speak on "Forty Years Ago Today: Earth Day Then and Now." The event is free and open to the public.
Twelve faculty members recently met at the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) on the third floor of Bailey-Howe library to share a lunch of hearty Indian food, a good measure of camaraderie, and — not surprising for a group of university faculty — a round-robin series of packed full PowerPoint presentations. The meeting culminated the inaugural year of UVM's new Sustainability Faculty Fellows program, which provides support for faculty across a range of disciplines, including some unexpected ones, who want to infuse sustainability themes and content into their teaching. The Sustainability Faculty Fellows program grew out of a seminar sponsored by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) that Stephanie Kaza, director of UVM's Environmental Program, and Wendy Verrei-Berenback, director of the CTL, attended in January 2009. One of AASHE's goals is to help institutions incorporate sustainability issues into their academic programs.
Water scarcity creates an environment ripe for the spread of human and animal disease
by Joshua Brown, Vermont Quarterly, Spring 2010
To understand how the next disease like SARS or bird flu could arise, take a trip to the Great Ruaha River. It meanders for three hundred miles through south-central Tanzania, flowing year-round from the vast Ihefu wetlands through the Ruaha National Park. Or it used to. Starting in 1993, the river stopped running during the dry season. Some years, it's been silent for more than one hundred days. The river offers water to the safari-famous Ruaha landscape—a grassland twice the size of Vermont that's home to lions, giraffes, endangered wild dogs, and some thirty thousand elephants. The river also has been a liquid life-force for groups of semi-nomadic farmers, including the Maasai, Barabaig, and Sukuma, who live on the borders of the park—and have relied on the river for themselves and their prized herds of cattle. With no water in the river for several months, people and animals have a hard time finding a drink. "This has created more overlap between livestock, wildlife, and people as they all go for the same dwindling water resources," says UVM's Jon Erickson.
The Adirondack Park provides more than a nice place to hike and a vast supply of clean water for New York City. Since 1885, the park's "forever wild" status has been viewed as the strongest land protection law in the world. But, in recent decades, the park has become a six-million-acre question mark in a global debate: can big wilderness areas have people living in them? UVM professor Jon Erickson and his co-authors in a new book, The Great Experiment in Conservation: Voices from the Adirondack Park, trace the park's evolution -- its natural and human history -- seeking an answer. Erickson, associate professor in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, and one of his two co-editors, Ross Whaley, former chairman of the Adirondack Park Agency, will discuss their new book, and the future of the Adirondacks, on Thursday March 18, 6:30 p.m., at the offices of the Lake Champlain Basin Program, 54 West Shore Road in Grand Isle, VT. This event is free and open to the public.
Vermont freshman Ryan Sleeper (West Windsor, N.J.) of the men's indoor track and field team was featured in the Trenton (N.J.) Times. Sleeper, a middle distance runner for the Catamounts, has been one of the top performers for UVM this season. He is an environmental sciences major in The Rubenstein School.
Numerous researchers from the University of Vermont are featured in four upcoming broadcasts of Emerging Science on Vermont Public Television. A new season of the program premieres Tuesday, Feb. 2, at 9 p.m. on VPT and online at www.vpt.org. Programs will repeat on VPT Sundays at 1 p.m. and be archived online. On Tuesday, Feb 9, at 9 p.m., Bob Costanza and Jon Erickson of UVM's Gund Institute for Ecological Economics explain the Emerging Science propelling their field. They argue that, with the recent failings of our financial system, new economic models need to be considered. As Earth's ecological systems continue to be strained, the aim of the Gund Institute is to shift the world's economies away from their present emphasis on infinite growth and toward a focus on sustainable human well-being.
Once again John Todd has swept the field, being recognized for his innovative design work, this time for his Eco-Machine at the Omega Institute. Dr. Todd's work has been elected for the Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum Presents "National Design Triennial: Why Design Now?". This is an honor of a lifetime - it is the highest design honor possible and the category is for the best in contemporary design.