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Photo by Bill DiLillo

The Living/Learning ethos runs strong

For the uninitiated, the maze of interconnected brick residence halls that make up the Living/Learning Center can be a bit disorienting. Expect a few trips up the wrong stairway as you sort out Building A from Building B, Low C from Middle C from High C, or the like. There are no long, straight corridors; it's a residence hall with twists and turns, some surprises. But what goes on in the collection of suites known to many generations of UVM students as “L and L” is the really intriguing part.

Since 1973, students have been bringing education home with their own self-designed residential learning programs - an array of pursuits that link up closely with academic majors or take off in completely different directions. L and L's mission has long been to provide a residential environment that integrates formal and informal learning experiences and encourages students to be responsible for their own education. And that it continues to do: more than 40 programs currently exist in the complex, encompassing foreign languages, art, Japanese animation, documentary filmmaking, and emergency medicine for starters.

John Sama '84, the center's director and an alumnus of the emergency medicine program, says graduates often mention the lifetime connections they made by living at the center. With that in mind, let's take a tour of a few L and L suites circa 2005 for a glimpse of the learning, the experiences, and the friendships that are being created by today's students.

Outside In
When you walk into Suite 370 in Building E of Living/Learning, the first thing that hits you is the warm blast of moist air. It's balmy for February, especially afternoons, when the sun hits the Mylar wallpaper above the 36-square-foot oasis of trees, edible plants, and a pond stocked with frogs and minnows.

This lush living-room eco-system blossomed after Gautam Muralidharan, and partners William Wheeler, Wyatt Sidley, Joe Cosmides and Benjamin Kruse submitted a formal project proposal through Living/ Learning's “Walking the Walk: Applying Your Natural Resource Education” program. That initiative is designed to provide students with opportunities to blend formal coursework in natural resources with a living environment that emphasizes applying that knowledge to day-to-day life.

For Muralidharan, the project has become a way to put his classes in ecosystem management and ecological design into practice. “This is a living lab where I can try out things that I've learned in class,” he says. “I'm seeing what happens up close when I allow for structure and function in an ecosystem. We get to sit right at the foot of nature so we can constantly interact with it.” And he adds one other benefit: “It's also been keeping us sane during winter.”

Service and Sox
Over in C Low, Suite 320 - sans lizards, orchid-free - the theme that unites the residents isn't as immediately clear. If one had to guess purely by the décor, the pennants and posters, the couches engineered into “stadium seating” to view NESN, the surroundings suggest this might be the “Red Sox Loyalty” suite. Not so, it's just what you get when the guys in charge are from suburban Boston and southern New Hampshire, says Chris Rivard, blue cap firmly in place.

Rivard and Josh Zall are serious about their baseball, but had even more serious business in mind with this suite. “Our goal is to get college students connected with the community beyond the campus,” says Rivard. The “Community Connections” suite did just that over the past academic year through events that ranged from charity dinners to bike-athons to snowshoe-athons. Early in the year, suitemates decided to donate the proceeds from these fundraising efforts to the Committee on Temporary Shelter and have contributed more than $1,000 to the Burlington-based agency for the homeless.

Late in the spring semester, Rivard and Zall were already looking to next fall, sorting through applicants for students who looked like good fits to join next year's program. “L and L friendships are closer,” says Rivard. “It's more like a family. The kind of events we've had have allowed the first-year students to open up and experience college life a lot more.”

Looking East
Building A, Suite 220: The residents of the “Anime as Art” program attempt to educate a visitor whose knowledge of Japanese animation begins and ends with Pikachu. They're much too cordial to condescend with, “It's an anime thing, you wouldn't understand.” So they pop Princess Mononoke into the VCR, and as a red-eyed monster resembling a gargantuan, ambulatory mound of ground beef wreaks havoc, the students tackle the age-old impossibility of explaining a great love.

It's about the quality and variety of the animation, they say. It's about the rich mythology of the stories. It's about the window anime offers on Japanese art, culture, and language. It's about going beyond the fantasy or sci-fi that first come to mind with anime and exploring comedy and drama, plots with multiple layers of meanings and riddled with double entendre.

Somebody mentions there is even an anime on bread making. Really? And the conversation lopes off in another direction. So it goes at the weekly meetings when the group gets together for a couple of hours to watch new animes and, better yet, banter with their own running commentaries.

When Erin Walker and her friend Christina Golkin from Westford, Vt., started the anime suite in Fall 2003 they wanted to gather a circle of like-minded friends. Jon Guilmette, a first-year student from Manchester, N.H., wasn't necessarily one of them. He liked the idea of themed residential suites but wasn't a hardcore anime guy. “My friends joked that they'd lock me in a closet,” he says. No worries, Guilmette is free to come and go, and plans to live in the suite as a sophomore, an anime aficionado among friends.

New and Improved L and L in the works
Business as usual at Living/Learning hit a bump during the spring semester when a fire, set off by a pot of cooking oil left on a stovetop, shut down part of C Building for several weeks. There were no injuries and students were relocated to the nearby Sheraton, their indoor pool offering some consolation for their inconvenience.

Post-fire fix-up at C Building coincides with complex-wide renovations being completed building by building in the summers of 2004, 2005, and 2006. New flooring, lighting, walls, fixtures, and expanded suites will essentially create brand new living space in the complex. (Living/Learning alums take note. Those balconies - home for years to bikes and kayaks, Christmas lights and pigeons - are being enclosed to expand living rooms.) The entire renovation is due for completion by fall 2006.

3 Questions
Dr. Hyman Muss recently published research that promises to change the way many doctors treat breast cancer in older patients. Muss, professor in the College of Medicine, and colleagues authored an article in the March 2 edition of The Journal of the American Medical Association that analyzed the results of four major clinical studies on breast cancer chemotherapy treatment in older versus younger women. The study showed that healthy older women who underwent the stronger chemotherapy derived the same benefits as the younger women - they had similar reductions in breast cancer recurrence. The older women also had the same chance of surviving breast cancer as the younger women. Muss's work has attracted attention because of the magnitude of the problem it addresses. Roughly 50 percent of new breast cancers in the United States occur in women aged 65 or older.

Q. Why haven't doctors tended to prescribe more aggressive treatment with older cancer patients?

A. One reason is simply that many doctors have not been trained concerning issues related to older patients and today's life expectancy. A healthy 65-year-old today is going to live 20 more years on average. Pretty impressive. A lot of docs don't know this and don't know how healthy these people are. This is coupled with concerns about increased side effects in older people. Those issues are very pertinent and we haven't had a lot of information about side effects for some treatments. Clinical judgment and common sense have suggested that older people may not tolerate many effective chemotherapy treatments. Also, I think that sometimes there is that paternalistic or maternalistic bias that leads doctors to say, “She's led the good life and we want to spare the side effects of treatment.”

Q. From your perspective as a clinician, what advice would you give patients and families to help them work with their doctors to develop effective treatment plans?

A. When you have a diagnosis of cancer, or any serious disease for that matter, try to get some numerical data concerning your illness. Discuss the prognosis. What is the chance that this breast cancer could spread? Get some numbers. Then ask what are the different treatment options and how much would they change this. If I took, let's say a drug like tamoxifen for breast cancer therapy, how much would that help me? If I took chemotherapy, how much would that help me? Then you should ask what are the side effects of all these therapies.

You need to work with the doctor to make a decision. Older people have traditionally relied on health care professionals, whether nurses or doctors, to make these decisions for them. I think it is a partnership built on sharing information about the disease, treatment options, and side effects.

Q. What are some of the questions that are still out there about treating older cancer patients?

A. We're learning quickly, but there is a lot we don't know. Many older people with cancer have lots of other serious diseases, and that's where our knowledge gaps are really great.

When it comes to chemotherapy, we have a paucity of data in older people. Slowly we're overcoming our biases with people in their sixties and we have a fair amount of data, but for patients in their seventies that isn't the case. So, we're now trying with national trials to learn more about our treatments in this age bracket.

Another key question is how treatments affect patients' day-to-day function. Is that chemo treatment going to mean you can't care for yourself at home anymore? There is a lot of health services research we can do to consider the melding of function, quality of life, and the side effects of therapy.

What Lies Beneath

Map by Suzanne LeGault

Digging is a way of life for Bostonians. That may not be news to those of you who have spent hours bumper-to-bumper in a Big-Dig-era tunnel wondering if you'll ever see your loved ones again. Such travail is to be expected in a city where the 19th-century citizens chipped away at Beacon Hill and dumped the fill into Back Bay to help transform a pencil-necked peninsula into a major metropolis.

Jacqueline Carr, assistant professor of history, has been doing some digging of her own in Beantown. Her recent book, After the Siege: A Social History of Boston, 1775-1800 (Northeastern University Press, 2004), is the product of years of research into a difficult and long-overlooked era in the city's history. Carr's story isn't that of the great men, but of the common men and women - in the vernacular of the late 18th-century “the middling and the lower sort.”

During the British siege of Boston the population dropped from 16,000 to 2,000. “How do you rebuild from that - 10 months of occupation, terrible devastation, a smallpox epidemic? Where do you start?” Carr says. There are no simple answers to those questions, of course, but the professor notes that Boston's enduring sense of community, held together through institutions such as the town meeting, was critical to its survival. “Bostonians never questioned if they were going to be there,” she says.

Carr developed a keen imagination for Boston's 18th-century past while doing research in the city and walking its 21st-century streets. If a summer trip takes you there, check out a few of the professor's favorite spots.

Playing Fields
This is where a kid could be a kid in the 1780s. Throwing snowballs was frowned upon elsewhere, but at the North End's Snow Hill you could wing a few at your friends, not to mention doing a little sledding. Though the buildings are 19th-century, the layout and even the names of many of the narrow streets date back to the 18th-century. “Dense housing, alleyways, with a little bit of imagination you can still transport yourself there,” Carr says.
Widow's Work
Forget the shopping at Faneuil Hall for a minute and think about Elizabeth Fadre. This 18th-century Boston widow ran a tavern in the area to support herself and her two children. Her struggles embody what so many overcame to keep the community alive. Carr traced her life to 1785, when she knows Fadre married again, but then the woman's trail disappears. “I don't know what happens to her,” Carr says with the wistfulness of one talking about a lost friend, “but someday I hope to find out.”

Twisted Business
Making rope, one of sea-faring Boston's earliest industries, required some space. Carr explains that braiding was done in extremely long warehouses where men would stand at either end twisting the rope. Hence, “the rope walks” were relegated to the outskirts of town, which this area in the vicinity of the Public Gardens once was before Back Bay was filled.
Power House
Picture the Old Statehouse before it was dwarfed by office towers. Viewed from Long Wharf, where ships docked, the Old Statehouse dominated the 18th-century cityscape. “You knew what the center of power was,” says Carr. She notes that the lion and unicorn, symbols of British authority, currently on the building are reproductions. Rebellious Bostonians tore down the originals and burned them in 1776.

Often Clipped, Rarely Quantified

Researchers examine residential landscape's role in capturing carbon

The standard-issue American residential landscape - turf lawns and shade trees, marigold patches and evergreen shrubs - harbors mystery within its familiarity. Beyond their role as places to play and putter, do these tidy green spaces fill a larger function through their collective power to draw significant amounts of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere?

A new National Science Foundation-funded project led by Jennifer Jenkins, a research assistant professor at UVM's Gund Institute of Ecological Economics, may help answer that question, which could have a critical impact on national estimates of carbon sequestration. The study seeks to quantify carbon cycles in three Baltimore-area neighborhoods, and, more importantly, determine how different factors influence them.

“What we're doing is starting to fill in the gaps,” Jenkins says. “All the carbon estimates published by the State Department, and used in the Kyoto Protocol, don't include this. So we want to help fill in the spreadsheet. We are going to test hypotheses about what really drives these residential stocks and fluxes.”
In addition to estimating how much carbon dioxide moves in and out of greenery in their selected urban and suburban neighborhoods, Jenkins and her colleagues will also try to determine the relative importance of factors such as soil type, landscape structure, residential age, and land use history in influencing rates of carbon storage.

The work will involve, among other things, selecting sites and test plots, then conducting the delicate education and outreach work that will find residents willing to allow researchers to occasionally visit their property to take meter-deep soil cores, or even mow their lawns (and collect the clippings!) for a summer to quantify the health and turnover of their grass. A social-ecological prong of the project will use neighborhood-level commercial marketing-research to relate an area's per-capita fertilizer and lawn products spending to the carbon-sequestering vigor of its sweeping green lawns, perhaps yielding a model with predictive power nationwide.

Another fascinating facet of the project involves the analysis of land-use history - a neighborhood's past, whether as forest, agricultural land or a reclaimed golf course, is a factor in its ability to sequester carbon, since sequestration is related to the nitrogen content of soil.

Something to think about as you're firing up the Lawn-Boy this summer, those blades of grass (and even the occasional dandelion) are all doing their bit to keep the planet livable. And soon we'll have a better idea what it all adds up to



The UVM College of Medicine's rank for quality in primary care training among the country's 125 medical schools, according to U.S. News & World Report's 2006 edition of America's Best Graduate Schools.

National Champs
Photo by Sabin Gratz

A potent debate duo is a mysterious thing, a partnership of minds that are at once in sync and independent. Case in point - sophomores Jake Meany and Jason Hitchcock. Their account of winning the 2005 Junior Varsity USA Debate Championships unravels for a moment when Hitchcock says that the team's favored status in the tournament provided a “boost.” Meany's not so sure about that word choice and quickly counters. Wouldn't “fear” be more accurate? Fear that the pair wouldn't measure up to expectations. Fear that they wouldn't add a notch to the Lawrence Debate Union's winning tradition with a third straight national championship in the JV division. “Two in a row is maybe a fluke,” Meany says. “Three in a row is a dynasty. Definitely a dynasty.”

No fear, Hitchcock and Meany emerged victorious after the mental and physical marathon of three consecutive days of debate, each packed with four two-hour-and-15-minute contests. With UVM debaters also winning the novice division at the event, hosted by Georgetown University in March, Vermont “pretty much closed out that tournament,” says Hitchcock.

The 2005 JV champs came to the discipline via distinct paths. Meany's father coaches debate at The Claremont Colleges in California, and Jake tagged along at competitions throughout his childhood, looking up from his Game Boy long enough to realize there was something interesting going on. By high school, he was deeply into this family business. Knowing the strength of the program and Professor Alfred “Tuna” Snider, UVM's longtime guru of debate, convinced Meany to make the long trip to Vermont for college.

Hitchcock, originally from Nashville, Tennessee, found his way to the team through Snider's “Fundamentals of Debate” class his freshman year. “Big beard, big guy, not what you'd expect,” Hitchcock says, describing his first impression of Snider. That difference intrigued him and he soon caught the competitive debate bug. “I saw the trophies and wanted one as well,” he says.

When a competition approaches the demands on debaters amplify as they amass evidence, study their opponents, and hone their rapid-fire deliveries. Meany jokes that perhaps the World Health Organization should investigate the rigors of the tournaments, citing a sore jaw after three days of intense argument. But it's no joke that debate can be all-consuming, causing even the best students to burn out on competition or lose sight of their studies. Post-championship, Meany and Hitchcock both took a few weeks of downtime from debate. It's a smart move and one they had no problem agreeing on.

Incoming: Great News
Based on an impressive number of incoming students who have committed to the University with a $300 deposit, the Class of 2009 promises to be a large, diverse, and talented bunch. UVM's ten-year vision rests on an ambitious enrollment growth plan, yet the Class of 2009 will likely exceed this year's growth target by more than 200 students.

By mid-May, 2,533 students had made deposits to enroll as new students in fall 2005, an increase of 19 percent over last year's total. Out-of-state deposits increased 17 percent to 1,868, while in-state deposits grew 26 percent to 667. Based on past experience with what's known as “summer melt” in the admissions world, University officials expect that first-year enrollment in fall 2005 will be about 2,300 students.

SAT scores are also up by an average of 12 points among those making deposits, and the 179 ALANA students planning to attend UVM is an 11 percent jump from last year's number.

“These dramatic numbers demonstrate that our strategy of growing the undergraduate student body to further increase academic quality at UVM is achievable,” said President Daniel Mark Fogel. “For the number of students committing to the University to grow so significantly, with quality and diversity up at the same time, shows that the word is getting out widely about the strong academics and exceptional student experience offered by the University of Vermont.”

The University's 10-year Strategic Financial Plan calls for undergraduate enrollment to grow by about 2,000 students between 2003 and 2013, to 9,395. The plan also calls for the addition of 80 tenure-track faculty.

Campus Pulse
Students in Lecturer Sheila Weaver's Stat 051 class kept a close eye on their fellow UVM students this spring semester. Putting the class to the task of designing and executing their own statistical studies is a standard part of Weaver's syllabus. It's an experience that creates a firsthand look at the challenges of gathering and analyzing data - whether that means soldiering through a phone survey or hanging out observing people in a public restroom without appearing to be, well, hanging out observing people in a public restroom.

So it's not a random sample, but here are a few of our favorite questions the stat students tackled this spring:

• Does owning a “trendy, colorful Nalgene water bottle” actually lead to better hydration habits?
Not quite, but men drink more water than women.
• Are skiers (“two-plankers”) smarter than snowboarders (“knuckle-draggers”)?
Well, the numbers said yes.
• Are male or female students more likely to wear hats in winter?
The guys, even if you don't count baseball caps.
• Is there a correlation between eating breakfast and GPA?
Yes, of course, listen to your mother.
• And, finally, paper or blow dry? “Bathroom Etiquette and the Ecological Impact
of Daily Duties” explores hand-washing and drying habits on campus.
We don't have the space to go into it.

Healthier Herds
Genetic work promising for mastitis control

Collaborating scientists from UVM and the United States Department of Agriculture have, for the first time, produced genetically modified dairy cows resistant to a form of mastitis, the painful bacterial infection of cows' udders that poses a perpetual threat to animal health. David Kerr, assistant professor of animal science, and Robert Wall, principal investigator and USDA animal physiologist, and colleagues published their results in the April issue of Nature Biotechnology.

In his UVM lab, Kerr produced the modified gene that enables animals to produce a naturally occurring enzyme, lysostaphin, in their milk. Lysostaphin breaks down the cell walls of the S. aureus bacteria, a major cause of mastitis. Wall and colleagues at the USDA in Beltsville, Maryland, inserted the gene produced at UVM into Jersey embryos. So far, five transgenic cows and one bull carrying the lysostaphin gene have been produced. Among these, three cows underwent testing; all showed resistance to Staphylococcus aureus, and one never became infected. Fourteen percent of the mammary glands of transgenic cows were infected compared to a 71 percent rate of infection in nontransgenic cows in the experiment.

“This is an important step toward helping dairy farmers,” says Kerr. “Every year, U.S. farmers lose $2 billion to mastitis in discarded milk, veterinary costs, and the like. This approach could cut that substantially. This research also addresses two other issues: current reliance on antibiotics and cattle welfare - this is a painful infection for cows.” Since the disease is difficult to cure with antibiotics, it is often controlled by removing chronically infected cows from the herd.

As with milk from cows with mastitis or receiving antibiotics, milk from these genetically modified cows is not approved for human consumption. Use of milk containing lysostaphin would require federal regulatory approval after food-safety testing. This effort is at the early stages of research and development.

“It was brilliant of UVM provost and animal scientist John Bramley to recognize this staph bacteria's potential a decade ago,” says Thomas McFadden, associate professor and interim chair of the Department of Animal Science. “His and others' research paved the way for this significant accomplishment. David Kerr has carried on and improved that initial work to bring it to recognition by one of the top journals in the field.”

Quote Unquote
How could we even think that skin color determines a person's worth? What if we had
a university that only accepted people with large noses? It's totally absurd… The Bible says our worth is intrinsic. It's part of being human. It belongs to everyone without distinction.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu speaking to a capacity crowd at Patrick Gymnasium on March 29, 2005.
The University of Vermont and St. Michael's College both presented Tutu with honorary degrees at the event.

What's New
Raul Hilberg, professor emeritus of political science and a towering international figure in the discipline of Holocaust studies, was elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences on April 26. Membership in the academy, which was founded in 1780 by John Adams, James Bowdoin, John Hancock and other scholar-patriots, is one of the nation's most prestigious intellectual honors and is reserved for leading scientists, scholars, artists, business people, and public leaders. Hilberg, who retired from teaching at the University in 1991, was a young UVM professor when he published his 1961 landmark volume, The Destruction of the European Jews, a foundational piece of research that precisely documented the Holocaust and brought it “back to life” with a rigor and authenticity previously unseen. His honors and achievements are legion, including inspiring the University's flourishing Center for Holocaust Studies, which was established to celebrate and perpetuate his scholarship.

Carl Lisman '67 was elected as the new chair at the UVM Board of Trustees' May meetings. Lisman, a graduate of UVM and Harvard Law School, is president of Lisman, Webster, Kirkpatrick & Leckerling, a Burlington law firm. He has been active both in many professional organizations and in the community, where he has served as chair of a number of nonprofit and charitable organizations, including the Chittenden County Chapter of the American Red Cross, the Baird Center for Children and Families, and the Vermont Foundation for Children and Families.

Class of 2005 Sets Forth
The day should have been as luminous as the upturned faces of the University's Class of 2005 were at the moment they were formally sent off into the world as college graduates, but the weather did not cooperate and UVM's 201st Commencement was a rainy, abbreviated affair.

It was the second time since 1962 that the event has been held on the historic University Green, and also the second straight year of rain. But the estimated 6,000 attendees - and the 2,400 or so graduates - stocked up on umbrellas, snapped up the towels and disposable rain jackets handed out by event staff, and cheered the graduates' accomplishments.

If the graduation-day climate wasn't novel, the event did mark, President Daniel Mark Fogel said, a year of noteworthy “firsts” for the University.

Commencement, he said, included the first graduates from UVM's innovative partnership with Christopher Columbus High School in the Bronx, New York. The day also saw the first class of 18 Green and Gold Scholars graduating - the program, endowed by the estate of Burlington resident Genevieve Patrick, awards a full scholarship to the top student from every high school in the state. Other firsts the day included were the first graduate with a degree in Vermont Studies; the first commencement in which the new Honors College banner joined those of the other colleges and schools; and, of course, the graduation of the core of the first UVM team of student athletes to win a game at the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.

UVM awarded honorary degrees to Ruth Simmons, president of Brown University; local historian Lillian Baker Carlisle '81 G'86; F. Herbert Bormann, ecological scientist and professor emeritus at Yale University; Thomas R. Cech, recipient of the 1989 Nobel Prize for Chemistry and president of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute; and Adam Clymer, one of America's top political journalists during his long career with The New York Times.

Due to the weather, Ruth Simmons quickly wished the graduates well rather than deliver her commencement address. Her full speech, a personal testimony to the transformative power of education, is available at uvm.edu/commencement.

Study Takes a Close Look at Burlington Bay

Burlington Bay is alive and mostly well, but faces some serious threats, according to a five-year study led by Professor Mary Watzin, director of UVM's Rubenstein Ecosystem Science Laboratory. Lake Champlain's most urban harbor meets water-quality standards and boasts a diverse mix of fish and aquatic life. However, stormwater pollutants make the water unsafe for recreation in some shoreline areas, and the presence of other pollutants and invasive species pose challenges for the bay's future.

“Since the local community was concerned about water quality and healthy recreational use of the bay and its shoreline,” says Watzin, whose lab is part of UVM's Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, “we built a project around these public concerns. We focused on stormwater flowing into the bay, toxins in the sediment, blue-green algae, and the invasion of zebra mussels. We also hoped to document any changes in the fish and other organisms that were occurring after the significant investments to clean up the inner harbor in the 1990s.”

Although no high levels of poisonous pollutants were found in stormwater, there were pulses of lower concentrations of a wide variety of substances, and there is residual pollution in the sediments in the harbor. Watzin says this pollution deserves additional research to determine if there are subtle effects on fish and other organisms that use the harbor. She also hopes to work with the city to help identify critical sources of pollutants and work to reduce them.

“However, the biggest changes we will see in the bay in the next decade may come from the expansion of zebra mussels across wide expanses of the bay's bottom, and the invasion of non-native fishes,” Watzin says. “The Lake Champlain ecosystem is resilient, but to understand and manage these changes, we will need to continue to investigate their impacts.”

The UVM study, released in May, was funded by Green Mountain Power Corporation and other companies and individuals as part of an agreement related to the remediation of the Pine Street Barge Canal Superfund site. GMP was among those named responsible for the canal contamination by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and in 1998 the agency directed the responsible parties to pay $4.3 million to implement a remedy that included containing canal contamination with an underwater cap, restoration of wetlands areas at the site, and long-term maintenance and monitoring. In a separate voluntary agreement crafted by the Lake Champlain Committee and local citizens, GMP agreed to fund $3 million in additional projects to improve the greater Burlington environment, including the Burlington Bay research project.

“Green Mountain Power and the other companies and individuals who followed their lead deserve credit for both quickly stepping up to the plate and seeing the long-term value to the community of the Burlington Bay research,” says Watzin.

On the Waterfront
• Water quality is generally good and meets state criteria.
• The concentration of phosphorous in stormwater is very high. This stimulates algae growth, especially at the places stormwater enters the lake.
• Stormwater carries high levels of coliform bacteria, making it unsafe to swim along the waterfront except at public beaches.
• With the exception of road salt in winter, scientists did not find high levels of poisonous pollutants in the stormwater.
• Toxic blooms of blue-green algae occurred in 1999 and 2000, but there have been no toxic outbreaks in the last several summers in Burlington Bay.

UVM Shelf Life

Lost at Sea
Alumna weaves tale of soul-searching teen
She's nineteen and she's stuck - in a small, coastal town; in the memories of her father, who disappeared into the sea eleven years ago; and in her mind, which blurs the lines between fantasy and reality.

“She” is the unnamed protagonist in The Seas (MacAdam/Cage), the debut novel by alumna Samantha Hunt '93. The story unfolds in a fishing village, where everybody knows everybody else and none can escape the labels the town puts upon them. A social outcast searching for her adolescent identity, Hunt's lead character imagines that she is a mermaid belonging to the same water that took her father.

The Seas is rich in both landscape and language, drawing on the author's UVM background as an English major and geology/studio arts minor. While a fascination with geology might seem out of place in the company of language and art, Hunt is the sort of writer who casts a wide net for inspiration and experience upon which to ground her fiction. She says that the book's depiction of the coast relied, in part, on a summer course spent scouring the Eastern shoreline with Geology Professor Charlotte Mehrtens.

Hunt's art pursuits peaked post UVM, but not far from the school on the hill. She credits work as a graphic artist for the Burlington weekly Seven Days with nurturing her desire to create visual art and eventually resulted in the crafting of “little, tiny artists' books.” That same impulse drives some of the more unusual elements of The Seas, such as pages filled with backwards block print and word derivations.

These days, Hunt lives in Brooklyn and teaches writing and bookmaking at Pratt Institute. The bulk of her time is spent writing and that's the way she likes it. The Seas, which has received admirable reviews in publications from Publisher's Weekly to The Village Voice, will be re-released by Picador in January. And Hunt says a second book, started two-and-a-half years ago while still working on the first, should be finished up this summer.

To those weary of the chase for the elusive book contract, Hunt offers words of encouragement - “sometimes the stars all align for you.”
-Heidi Hill

No Braver Deeds:
The Story of The Equinox Guards

By Brian L. Knight '93 G'97, Friends of Hildene, Inc.
In late 1861, 87 men and boys from North Shire of Vermont's Bennington County marched off to fight for the Union. The “Equinox Guards” took its name from the mountain that united the soldiers' corner of the state. In June of 1862, 59 members of the guard fought in the Battle of Savage Station in Virginia and in just 45 minutes of fighting, 52 of the Vermonters were killed. Author Brian Knight is curator at Hildene, Robert Todd Lincoln's family house in Manchester, Vermont, where a current exhibit also documents the Equinox Guards. Knight says that the book and exhibit both strive to “tell the poignant story of who these soldiers were, the path they followed to their destiny, and the profound impact that destiny visited on this community.”

Race Over Empire: Racism and U.S. Imperialism, 1865-1900
By Eric T.L. Love G'90, The University of North Carolina Press
White supremacy has long been viewed as the driving force behind the American imperialism of the late 19th century, an era when the United States asserted its influence in the non-white world from Cuba to the Philippines. Eric Love sees it differently and in his new book he makes a compelling case that “the imperialists' relationship with the racist ideologies of the era was antagonistic, not harmonious.” Love, who earned his master's degree in history at UVM, is an associate professor of history at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Bad Dirt: Wyoming Stories 2
By Annie Proulx '69, Simon & Schuster
Vermont to Newfoundland to the Texas panhandle, rural landscapes and the human lives tied to them are a hallmark of Pulitzer Prize winning alumna Annie Proulx's fiction. Bad Dirt marks her second exploration of the remote reaches of her new home territory in rural Wyoming. Life is tough here and the living makes a good match for Proulx's sharp eye, hard-edged humor, and sinewy prose. Fans of the author may also want to check out annieproulx.com, where you'll find an interesting series of brief journal-like essays which Proulx describes as “a monthly letter with odds and ends relating to the high-altitude writing life.”