Symposium allows for interdisciplinary "snaptalks"

By Nikki Briggs


At the second annual Environmental Snaptalk Symposium on March 30, five faculty members each gave eight-minute “snaptalks” of their work in the Traditional Reading Room of the Ellen Clarke Bertrand Library. Faculty and students were able to sample some of the diverse scholarship and research underway among University faculty and provide insights on the environment and sustainability.
Topics ranged  from the subject of environmental evil to international development. Each snaptalk was followed by eight minutes of audience discussion.
“By allowing the audience to be introduced to 5 different topics in an hour and a half, snap talks trigger the creativity of the listeners, who start seeing patterns and making connections between what seem to be disparate topics,” Cathy Curran Myers, BUEC Director who created the event, said. “We intentionally try to choose faculty from each of the major divisions and schools: engineering, management, humanities, social sciences and natural sciences, to make connections that bridge the gaps between disciplines.”
Brandn Green, the coordinator of the Bucknell University Environmental Center’s Nature and Human Communities Initiative, spoke about “The Community Platform,” a website that works to link organizations in neighboring areas to address poverty, social exclusion and inequality. These organizations are listed on the website and the initiative is looking to expand from the bottom up. 
“We as the local partners are working to figure out how to add organizations that don’t fill out 990 [forms],” Green said.
Maria Antonaccio, professor of religion, discussed distinguishing between moral and natural evil. She defined these terms and whether environmental destruction falls under the criteria.
Associate professor of biology Steve Jordan lectured about conservation genetics and the glacial meltwater stonefly of Montana.
“There are problems developing in these systems that are probably caused by climate change,” Jordan said.
According to Jordan’s research, climate change has caused glaciers to melt, destroying the natural habitat of this endangered species.
Peter Jansson, associate professor of electrical engineering, discussed renewable electricity and photovoltaics.
“Most of my work is about integrating renewable energy with the grid, and making the grid greener,” Jansson said.
He is an advocate of solar thermal technology in order to impact global markets and investment.
Assistant professor of management Eric Martin concluded the symposium with a discussion of the sustainment of international development, showing pictures and sharing stories from his multiple trips around the world.
“The way I approach this in general is that first of all we need feedback, and second we, the international community, need to align our goals,” Martin said.
It was evident that the audience was engaged by each “snaptalk,” as most discussions lasted longer than the allotted eight minutes.
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