|Feb. 22, 2007
Students in St. Bonaventure University's physical and environmental science programs will now have access to real-life experiences with the techniques used by water quality professionals and other hydrologists thanks to a recent grant award of $126,850 from the Margaret L. Wendt Foundation in Buffalo.
The grant will fund
an integrated field station, or hydrology observatory, that will employ
weather instruments, groundwater monitoring wells, flow gages, storm water
sampling devices, and instruments for physical and chemical analysis of
water quality in the Allegheny River and its tributaries, and geophysical
equipment to assist in noninvasive site characterization.
"With this equipment, the faculty and students of St. Bonaventure will be able to trace the pathways by which a variety of pollutants from our local drainage basin reach the Allegheny River," said Georgian. The observatory will provide the university's environmental science majors with direct, hands-on experience with up-to-date groundwater instrumentation and procedures, he said.
Georgian also noted that the observatory would be used in the training of environmental science majors completing discipline-related internships.
"The hydrology observatory will give us the facilities to train these interns in state-of-the-art techniques in hydrology and water quality assessment," he said. "This sort of research-level experience equips students for graduate study in a way that mere classroom study cannot, and it has the potential to excite a passion for the scientific enterprise in our students."
The training of science interns meshes with the goals of the Journey Project, funded by $2.5 million in Lilly Endowment grants, which encourages the development of a sense of vocation in Bonaventure graduates.
"St. Bonaventure will also continue to put our scientific expertise to use in collaboration with the Pfeiffer Nature Center in Portville," said Georgian. "A number of SBU students have already served as interns at the nature center, some using Journey funds, and a junior environmental science major is planning to use equipment purchased by this grant to analyze sedimentation of a headwater tributary of the Allegheny River that flows through the Nature Center property."
The Environmental Science Program at St. Bonaventure is a multidisciplinary program combining aspects of biology, chemistry, geology, and physics. About 93 students, or over 4 percent of the entire student body, are majoring in these four disciplines.
Because of its strong commitment to a vibrant liberal arts education firmly grounded in the sciences, the University has undertaken an expansion of its science instruction facility. The William F. Walsh Science Center and renovated DeLaRoche Hall will house state-of-the-art computer science, laboratory and classroom space, biology labs, organic and general chemistry labs, a Natural World lab, a 150-seat indoor amphitheater, and faculty offices integrated with lab space for better student-teacher accessibility.
Building and equipping these new science facilities on campus is the highest priority in the University's current Anniversary Campaign for St. Bonaventure.
"The grant is a significant step in helping the University to complete our current Kresge Foundation challenge," said Paula Davis, director of institutional grants. "St. Bonaventure must raise $2,659,880 for construction/renovation of its science facilities - for equipment, and for science-related scholarships and endowment - by Oct. 1 in order to receive Kresge's $850,000 challenge award."
With the Wendt grant, the remaining amount the University must raise in order to receive the Kresge challenge award is $390,816, said Davis.
When St. Bonaventure University’s BonaResponds group invaded the Gulf Coast last March, it did so with sledgehammers and pry bars to help gut homes saturated by Hurricane Katrina. When the local army of volunteers heads south this year its mission will be focused on rebuilding.
The group of 58 faculty, staff, students, community members and alumni will leave Friday, March 2, after classes and will return Sunday, March 11. They’ll be working in Pass Christian and Bay St. Louis, Miss., to help reconstruct homes, including installing drywall and new roofs. In some cases in Bay St. Louis, the volunteers may be rebuilding homes that last year they gutted.
A smaller contingent of 27 volunteers went to Pass Christian in January to construct a new volunteer camp. In the past, volunteer groups have been stationed at school buildings — but now many of those structures have been repaired and are reopening.
BonaResponds coordinator and finance professor Dr. James Mahar said about half of this year’s volunteers participated in the 2006 spring break trip. Many more than that though have worked with BonaResponds on other initiatives, such as responding to the Oct. 13, 2006, snowstorm that downed trees and power lines across much of Buffalo. More than 100 volunteers headed to Lancaster and West Seneca on five Sundays in October and November to clear downed trees and other hazards from 86 homes.
In an effort to nurture the desire to serve, BonaResponds made an active decision to aide in local community service projects in between the large-scale disaster relief projects. In addition to the cleanup efforts in Buffalo, it hosted several other local service days where participants refurbished rooms at Archbishop Walsh High School, painted at Olean General Hospital and worked at the Cattaraugus County SPCA.
St. Bonaventure community members who aren’t able to participate in the Gulf service trip but would like to offer their support are invited to provide donations of food or cash by e-mailing email@example.com.
Has someone in the St. Bonaventure community made your experience better? Do you feel that someone’s Franciscan spirit goes unrecognized?
Give this person the recognition they deserve by nominating them for one of the Fr. Joe Doino, O.F.M., Honors and Awards.
The purpose of these awards is to recognize the exceptional contributions of individuals or organizations on campus. Fr. Joe, who died March 7, 1994, became the first faculty member to receive the Faculty Appreciation Award posthumously.
Fr. Joe was known for his contributions to the University as a professor, scholar, musician, preacher and priest. He was also the Student Government adviser and served on the Student Government Awards Committee since its inception. In 1995, the ceremony was named in his honor.
Award categories are:
Volunteer of the Year
A language immersion program, led by Dr. Zennia Hancock, assistant professor of modern languages, took 10 students from St. Bonaventure to La Plata, Argentina, over holiday break.
The program, “Lessons in Language and Laughter: A Bicultural Project of Community,” helped to develop their language skills and their cultural understanding to help enrich the global community. They visited La Plata from Dec. 27, 2006, to Jan. 12.
“As a whole, this activity encourages students to think beyond their own local – and even national — paradigms with regard to norms and expectations involving age, culture, language and socioeconomic privilege,” Hancock said.
The purpose of the program was to make students aware, firsthand, of a Third-World poverty the and “immense divide” of culture. It helped equip students with the realization that the “human resources needed to interact with the members of the observed culture of poverty” were available within them, Hancock said.
Students involved were Kelly Stoneham, Amalie Donius, Karlin Ames, Kaitlin Ames, Laurel Triscari, Roger Studd, Meredith Brown, Danielle Filer and Jacob Mathis.
Additional participants of the program included one non-SBU student, Gary Williams; three on-site program facilitators from the Universidad de La Plata; Sacred Heart Sisters; and about 57 children from Argentina.
The program was partially funded through The Journey Project at St. Bonaventure, a program that encourages service and vocation.
Students spent time at the Oratorio Don Bosco (oratory and convent) of the La Plata Congregation of Sisters of the Incarnate Word. There, in Spanish, the students were told of the history of the order and the work the convent did with the children.
On Jan. 2, students were accompanied to a bookstore where they chose and purchased storybooks to read to the children with the money provided by The Journey Project.
Students were randomly assigned to the children from the villa de miseria, meaning “village of misery.” As an “ice breaker,” the students asked the children what they knew about the United States. Students then read their books to the children and helped serve the children’s lunch, meat pies. This was a big treat for the children, Hancock said. Normally they would eat broth, gruel, and not much else in their homes.
Following lunch, the students and children were treated to a show by a local La Plata entertainer, “Mago Firu,” or Magician Firu. Students also played soccer in the streets and played jump-rope until it was time for the children to go home. In addition to the joy the children experienced while playing with the college students, the children received toys as gifts. Students were asked before arriving in Argentina to buy a toy for a child. Parents of the students ended up loading their luggage with toys, Hancock said.
During their stay, the SBU students held an informal reflection on their experiences. It was hard for the students to see the children with no shoes, Hancock said. That day with the children, Hancock remembered the students saying, was the most rewarding part of their trip.
While visiting La Plata, members of the program were interviewed and featured on the front page of El Dia, the biggest newspaper of La Plata. Students also used their time in Argentina to attend four-hour classes each day.
But they did not spend their whole trip studying. They also experienced tango lessons and went on excursions to Buenos Aires and a weekend to Villa Gesell, a beach town in the South Pacific.
This was the second trip to Argentina organized by Hancock since she joined the SBU faculty. She hopes to continue the program next year.
The Forum will address the critical topic of interreligious dialogue with Islam, using the encounter between Francis and Sultan Malek al-Kamil as a poignant focus in considering the current conflict.
It will examine how the Franciscan tradition and the core
values of both Christianity and Islam impel us to engage one other
respectfully and cooperatively in rebuilding the world.
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