Tag Archive for COE

5 Questions With . . . Michael Dorsey on COE’s Think Tank

Michael Dorsey, visiting professor of environmental studies, says the College of Environment’s Think Tank is "a novel, innovative space for learning."

Michael Dorsey, visiting professor of environmental studies, says the College of Environment’s Think Tank is “a novel, innovative space for learning.”

In this issue of The Wesleyan Connection, we ask “5 Questions” of Michael Dorsey, visiting professor of environmental studies. In September, he was reappointed to the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Advisory Committee.

Q: Professor Dorsey, you’re a visiting professor of environmental studies and a fellow in the College of the Environment’s Think Tank. What is the 2012-13 Think Tank theme, and what is your role in the year-long exploration?

A: The 2012-2013 College of the Environment’s Think Tank theme is: environmental justice and global health.

Despite growing awareness of the problems of environmental injustice and related impacts on health and sustainability, many communities here in the U.S. and around the globe remain vulnerable or are being put at risk in new ways. This year’s COE Think Tank will use our collective interdisciplinary strengths and practical experience to seek to tackle these complex issues. Using complementary, yet distinct, disciplinary approaches to examine the connection between environmental justice and global health, we will explore the health and livelihood implications of environmental injustice from local to global scales –from neighborhood struggles for food justice to regional responses to mountaintop removal in Appalachia and environmental activism in East Asia to the plight of island communities facing unfolding global climate disruption.

Q: Why did you want to be part of the Think Tank, and what do you hope will be accomplished?

A: The College of Environment’s Think Tank is a novel, innovative space for learning; it is a unique space for environmental autodidactical fellowship. Individual learning blossoms as a result of camaraderie and collegial labor—of both peer faculty and dynamic student fellows.

Eco-Tools Map Campus Pollution, Promote Green Purchasing

The Wesleyan Eco-Map prototype shows the monthly pollution index of most wood-framed homes on campus.

To help members of the Wesleyan community be more aware of their environmental impact, the College of the Environment is developing practical and accessible Eco-Tools.

The Eco-Tools prototype, launched in April, provides links and information to Wesleyan’s current projects, the Wesleyan Eco-Map and the Wesleyan Eco-Purchasing site.

“Wesleyan is the first university in the country to create these tools,” explains project coordinator Mary Alice Haddad, associate professor of government, East Asian studies and environmental studies. “The project is just starting to bloom, but once we get it up and operating, it can act as a model for other universities.”

Wesleyan is developing en Eco-Map that shows what buildings on campus are using the most energy.

The Wesleyan Eco-Map highlights changes in energy usage in different buildings on campus over time, based solely on changes in human behavior. The prototype currently tracks the monthly pollution index for all wood-framed housing on campus, and in time, may track heat and water usage for the entire university.

“The biggest drive for pollution is who’s living in it,” says Bill Nelligan, director of environmental health, safety and sustainability. “The Eco-Map will provide a real visual for students living in these homes to see their energy use month to month, year to year, and make them think, “How can I improve?'”

The map shows that residents residing at 1 Vine Street used almost twice as much energy (hence, creating twice as much pollution) during the months of December, January and February, as they did in March, April and May. So, students who reside in the home in 2012-13 can monitor their own energy usage on the site, and compare it to the energy use in 2011-12.

Of course, there are environmental factors to take into account. Some homes are heated with gas; others are electric. Some are 4,000 square feet, others are half that size. Some homes, such as 19 and 20 Fountain Avenue and 231 Pine Street were constructed in the past 10 years, while the majority of homes are from the 1900s. And the roof of 19 Fountain Avenue is topped with solar panels.

Wesleyan’s second Eco-Tool, Wesleyan Eco-Purchasing, offers members of the Wesleyan community detailed information about the environmental impacts of the information technology products in use on campus. The site promotes responsible purchasing decisions and encourages companies to act in more environmentally and socially responsible ways.

“I.T. companies and their suppliers are among the worst polluters,

COE’s Think Tank Discusses Human’s Relationship to Water

Members of the College of the Environment’s 2011-12 Think Tank gather every Wednesday to discuss ways in which the human relationship to water, as both resource and environment, has changed over the long term. The Think Tank is a group of Wesleyan faculty, scholars and students who produce scholarly works that will influence national/international thinking. Pictured, from left to right are faculty members Joop Varekamp; Clark Maines, William Pinch and Elise Springer.

Patton Appointed Dachs Professor of Science

Peter Patton has taught at Wesleyan since 1976.

Peter Patton, professor of earth and environmental sciences, has been appointed as the first Alan M. Dachs Professor of Science, currently housed in the College of the Environment.

The endowed chair was created with the generous support of Alan Dachs ’70, P’98, chair emeritus of the Board of Trustees.

“I am delighted that Peter Patton will be the first to hold the Alan M. Dachs Chair in the Natural Sciences,” says Dachs. “It is only fitting that a scientist and teacher of his caliber should be recognized in this way. Wesleyan, and science at Wesleyan, have always come first in Peter’s professional life. He epitomizes the very best Wesleyan has to offer.”

Patton has taught at Wesleyan since 1976, making substantial contributions as chair of Earth and Environmental Sciences, as interim director of Information Technology Services, through twice serving as Interim Dean of the College and by serving as vice president and secretary of the University for ten years through 2008. He has served on numerous university committees

Mellon Foundation Supports Wesleyan’s College of the Environment

Wesleyan’s College of the Environment seeks to develop informed citizens who can discuss environmental issues from a variety of disciplinary perspectives.

An $800,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will support Wesleyan’s College of the Environment (COE) for the next four years.

Wesleyan’s faculty and administration approved the COE in 2009 to graduate students who have engaged with critical environmental issues from a variety of disciplinary perspectives; who are sensitive to how those issues are connected to social and political concerns; who can interpret scientific information correctly; and who can communicate conclusions effectively and honestly.

The Mellon Foundation grant will support funding for post-doctoral teaching fellows, visiting COE fellows,