Going with the flow in Chile
“As a geology student, there is nothing like hiking up a volcano, seeing an outcrop, and walking up to it with familiarity and confidence.” That’s what Alexander Crawford ’12 had to say after he spent three weeks on an extended study trip to Chile, led by geology professor Karen Harpp over the winter break.
    Twenty students in GEOG 410: Solid Earth Processes engaged in extensive field work at five of the world’s most spectacular volcanoes — Llaima, Copahue, Lonquimay, Lanin, and Villarrica — and produced digital learning modules for future geology students around the world who are unable to visit the sites in person.

Students hiking the Navidad Cone on the Lonquimay volcano in Chile (photo by Victor Vargas)

    Throughout the semester, five groups of four students each planned the activities for the five different volcanoes, and began building the resources for an online field guide. Harpp required that each guide include background information, photos, maps, bibliographic information, and eruption history on the featured volcano, as well as detailed plans for field activities and investigations that other educational groups can use in the future. Students responsible for each site had to be the instructors for the volcano and design the field activities to be carried out by the rest of the group. During the trip, students documented their field-based activities and added interpretations they could only get by visiting the sites.
    Harpp demanded the highest quality and accuracy of her students. “This is for real,” she said. “If constructed well, it will be an international resource for many years.”
    Crawford was on the team that taught the other students about Copahue, a volcano with an acid crater lake that sits on the border of Argentina. “We were better prepared for what we saw because we planned it ourselves,” he said. “I think it’s a sign of a good teacher when she lets her students take on that much responsibility.”
    To prepare for the trip, the class read papers on and discussed each of the volcanoes. They also worked with Colgate’s information technology staff to learn how to use the equipment they would use in the field to produce the learning modules.
    Crawford, a double major in geology and geography, applied what he is learning in other disciplines. “The best part for me was that I found many situations where GPS and GIS (geographic information systems) could be applied to what we were doing, and also to hazard assessments, economic analysis, and understanding the volcanic history and geologic setting. This trip gave me more evidence of the utility of these tools.”
    Check out the class’s online field guide at http://applemediasv02.colgate.edu/groups/geol420.
— Barbara Brooks

Feeding entrepreneurial spirit

On a Wednesday morning in February, 42 students in Curtis Hall received a sweet wake-up call: Dunkin’ Donuts food and coffee delivered to their dorm rooms. The Entrepreneurship Club was testing its latest venture, a service that has students select what they want for breakfast and a delivery time, then pay with their ’Gate Card when it arrives.
    Just one of the club’s many ideas, the test went well, and yielded a substantial profit that will go toward future ventures. The club is always coming up with ways to meet demands they see in the Colgate and Hamilton communities, all while learning about what it takes to start a business.

Members of the Entrepreneurship Club meet to turn their business ideas into reality. (Photo by Andrew Daddio)

    “We view the club as a learning experience,” said Harrison Gillis ’13. “We want to get our minds around the practical ideas of starting and running a business, so that if we do have plans to start one, it’s not the first time we’ve dealt with these concepts.” Club members also meet with local entrepreneurs, hold classes and seminars on different aspects of entrepreneurship, and speak with alumni who have successfully launched their own business ventures.
    Those alumni contacts have begun to play a major role in the club’s programs. For one, they are following the endeavors of Nick Kokonas ’90, whose Chicago restaurant Alinea was recently ranked best in the nation by S.Pellegrino. Kokonas also is working on a book about the restaurant business, so he has experience in the publishing world, too. The club members follow his efforts, pose questions to him about what he’s doing, and then Kokonas responds in unique ways.
    Bharadwaj Reddy ’12 explains, “Nick gets back to us in a high-tech fashion — e-mail, Twitter, blogs — because he can’t get here, so we’re maximizing the time for this opportunity. He’s going to be Skyping with us, e-mailing us, teleconferencing, etc.”
    Some club members are also participating in a seminar called Thought Into Action, a class taught by alumni and offered to students on campus. One alumnus participating is Wills Hapworth ’07, an entrepreneur and the founder of DarkHorse Investors, a company that invests in college students’ start-up businesses.
    “There is a serious interest in entrepreneurship at Colgate that needs to be answered and nurtured,” said Hapworth. “Creating a great culture for start-ups and turning thought into action is difficult but essential, and the students, school, and alums are all taking steps in the right direction.”
    The number of ventures the club has in the works indicates how the entrepreneurial spirit is starting to thrive at Colgate. Whether selling Indian and Chinese food at the Coop or hosting an “idea raffle” at Winterfest, the club’s members are always thinking of creative ways to meet the demands of the Colgate community while putting their business knowledge into action.
    For student coverage of Colgate’s entrepreneurial happenings, visit http://gateentrepreneur.blogspot.com.
— Kate Hicks ’11

Faculty buzz

Biology professor Geoffrey Holm has been awarded a $370,561 grant from the National Institutes of Health for his research into a group of viruses known as reoviruses.
    Holm and his student researchers will be applying state-of-the-art genetic and molecular techniques to explore the manner in which infected cells respond to the presence of the reoviruses. Specifically, they will research why some strains of reovirus cause devastating disease while
others, despite striking genetic similarities, are far less virulent.
    As other disease-causing microbes exhibit similar patterns of infection, this research will contribute to a basic overall understanding of pathogenesis in infectious disease.
    Mary Ann Calo has been named Batza Professor of art and art history. An art and art history department faculty member since 1991, her recent work has focused on modern African-American art.
    Two faculty members have received promotions, effective July 1. Charles Pete Banner-Haley, of the Department of History, has been promoted to full professor. Kezia Page, of the Department of English, has been granted continuous tenure and promotion to associate professor.

Upstate research grants

Three faculty members recently learned that their research projects pertaining to upstate New York will be supported by grants from Colgate’s Upstate Institute. The institute serves to promote scholarly research that relates to the region’s social, economic, environmental, and cultural assets.
    Charles Pete Banner-Haley, history and Africana and Latin American studies professor, will research the history of African Americans in Broome, Chemung, and Steuben counties to consider gender relations between African-American men and women between 1890 and 1950.   
    Joscelyn Godwin, music professor, will write a manuscript on some of the eccentric spiritualities in upstate New York, which was once known as the “Burned-Over District” for its history of religious groups like the Oneida Community.
    Beth Parks, associate professor of physics, will conduct a project that will allow homeowners to learn the insulation levels in their homes in order to start the process of increasing energy efficiency.

Math and science collaborations

The Picker Interdisciplinary Science Institute announced the award of the following grants supporting collaborative research by professors who combine their expertise from different areas of study to address science and mathematics questions.
    Janel Benson, assistant professor of sociology and anthropology, will collaborate with Brandon Yoo (assistant professor of psychology, Arizona State University) to examine the mental health trajectories of racial/ethnic minority youth who exhibit lower levels of mental health compared to whites.
    DeWitt Godfrey, associate professor of art and art history, and Tom Tucker, mathematics professor, have teamed up with Toma┼ż Pisanski, a mathematics professor at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, and London architect and engineer Daniel Bosia to apply mathematical methodologies to art and design.

Hanging in the halls of Ho Science Center
Students exploring the sciences hung their poster presentations in the halls of the Robert H.N. Ho Science Center this semester. Using techniques learned in class, they explored global issues pertaining to the environment and geography.
From ENST 101: Social Science Perspectives on Environmental Issues, taught by Professor April Baptiste:

(photo by Andrew Daddio)
Environmental Efficiency of Organic Agriculture Compared to that of Industrial Agriculture in the U.S. The primary U.S. system of food production is industrial agriculture, which is an environmental issue due to the consequences of industrial processes — such as air pollution from greenhouse gas emissions and reduced biodiversity. Caitlyn Schieneman ’14, Madison Brown ’14, and Matthew Weber ’14 hypothesized that organic farming is more environmentally efficient than industrial agriculture when the long-term environmental effects and negative externalities are taken into account.

Overfishing in the Southern Pacific. More than 170 billion pounds of wild fish and shellfish are taken from the oceans every year, and while fisheries managers maintain that this is a sustainable rate, recent studies show that is far from the truth, found Lindsay Martin ’13 and Maggie McMullen ’13. Martin and McMullen specifically examined how interrelations between humans and the oceans of the Southern Pacific create the problem of overfishing. Additionally, traditional cultures are being lost because of the massive impacts of commercial fishing efforts.

(photo by iStock)

From GEOG 245: Geographic Information Systems, taught by Professor Dai Yamamoto:

Evaluating the Relationship between Divorce, Marriage, and Income in California. The California divorce rate has remained consistently higher than the national rate since data collection of divorce statistics began in the 1940s. Also, the Golden State has the largest economy of any U.S. state. Numerous studies have compared marriage, divorce, and wealth in the United States, but none for California specifically. Using U.S. census data from 2000, Callie Brazil ’11 determined that both marriage rate and per capita income have positive correlations with divorce rate. With an increase in marriage rate comes an increase in divorce rate, and with an increase in per capita income comes a higher divorce rate.

Evaluating the Spatial Distribution of Environmental Injustices in Essex County, N.J. Race, ethnicity, religion, and socioeconomic background should not factor into the distribution of local environmental hazards, but the bleak reality shows otherwise, according to Josh Rosen ’11. His objective was to evaluate discrepancies in flood-zone and contaminated-site locations across Essex County, N.J., the most densely populated county in the state. Rosen used GIS to develop map-based visualization and statistical analysis of these issues.

More bins, less waste
Thanks to student researchers who provided important findings and recommendations, Colgate’s recycling efforts have been given a boost. Over the past year, students in Professor Catherine Cardelus’s FSEM 124 and Professor Bob Turner’s ENST 480 classes explored ways to increase the campus’s recycling rate. Their results prompted the university to invest in more recycling containers and clearer signage near the bins.
    Convenience is key, the researchers concluded. Finding that the ratio of trash cans to recycle bins was out of proportion, the students maintained that this made recycling inconvenient in many instances. Also, through focus groups, they learned that a significant percentage of people on campus are complacent about recycling (they’ll only do it if it’s convenient), and that many do not know recycling basics, often mixing paper, plastics, and non-recyclables in the same bin. Furthermore, waste audits confirmed that between 30 and 50 percent of the contents (by weight) in any given trash container could have been recycled.
    Now, blue bins abound, with 2,250 new containers for campus recycling (including 1,800 5-gallon containers for use in student rooms). These bins were placed in 12 academic buildings, 7 residence halls, and 9 Broad Street houses; and additional bins are now used for recycling at events. Students helped hang signs near each bin to better facilitate proper recycling.
    Adding to the initiative was the university’s participation in RecycleMania, an annual 10-week competition between more than 630 colleges and universities. This was the second year that Colgate competed, and a difference was already noticeable in week one of the contest. Compared to the first week of RecycleMania 2010, Colgate increased its recycled material by 4,530 lbs and decreased landfill waste by 5,920 lbs.
    These are impressive one-week totals, especially considering that we have more students on campus this year. The overall goal is to increase recycling rates from 14 percent last year to more than 20 percent this year. If we can accomplish and maintain a 20 percent recycling rate, the university will save roughly $100K over the course of the next 10 years in landfill tipping fees. This is a trend that is good for the environment and good for our coffers.
    For more on Colgate’s recycling efforts, visit www.colgate.edu/about/sustainability/wasteminimizationandrecycling.
— John Pumilio, sustainability coordinator

A walk in the woods

When sociology professor Chris Henke teaches SOAN 245: Nature, Culture, and Politics, he challenges his students with lofty questions: What counts as nature? How do humans conceptualize and relate to it? How are nature and human culture intertwined? And he also brings them back to the earth.
    “We started off the semester reading about the environmental history of Chicago and how, although we often think of cities as being apart from nature, you can’t understand the history of a place like Chicago without understanding how it was created in tandem with the use of natural resources and the overall creation of new ‘natural’ landscapes in conjunction with urban ones,” Henke said.

Jack Pitfield ’12 leads the SOAN 245 class on a natural history walk through upper campus. (Photo by Andrew Daddio)

    The same, of course, is true of Hamilton, N.Y. So Henke took his students outside for a snowshoe tour of the woods on campus with Outdoor Education leaders Jack Pitfield ’12 and Caroline Callahan ’11.
    “These hikes open students up to a much bigger picture of the land that they make their home for four years,” Callahan said. “They begin to understand Colgate on a deeper level, not just what it is, but what it was.”
    Henke agrees. “The history of Hamilton — like the history of Chicago — is the history of the transformation of nature,” he said. “In the 19th century, the hills above campus would have been largely treeless and covered with sheep. The students leading the walk did a really nice job of teaching us about these changes over the past 200-plus years since the Paynes and other settlers arrived.”
    Henke — who leads Colgate’s Sustainability Council, works with the local Common Thread Community Farm to teach students about local agricultural issues, and hosts an occasional bread-baking class for students — admits to having an ulterior motive when he takes students outside.
    “I also want them to see the beauty just above their dorms and classrooms,” he said. “Lots of our students are from the suburbs or cities, and haven’t spent a lot of time just slowing down and appreciating a walk in the woods.”
— Barbara Brooks


HIST 354: History of Coffee and Cigarettes

MW 1:20 p.m., Alumni Hall 109
Robert Nemes, Associate Professor of History

Course description: How did Arabian coffee and American tobacco become global vices? How has the use and meaning of these products changed over time? Why are so many people drawn — and addicted — to caffeine and nicotine? Using primary sources (letters, advertisements, and government reports) alongside recent scholarship, we examine the long history of coffee and cigarettes. Readings and discussions range from 16th-century Turkish coffeehouses to 21st-century Starbucks, and from the prohibition by King James I on tobacco to contemporary debates on secondhand smoke. With “globalization” as a major theme, we critically address issues at the heart of Colgate’s new Global Engagements core curriculum requirement.

Texts: Bennett Weinberg and Bonnie Bealer,
The World of Caffeine; Iain Gately, Tobacco; Ralph Hattox, Coffee and Coffeehouses; Marcy Norton, Sacred Gifts, Profane Pleasures; Taylor Clark, Starbucked

On the assignment list: The Coffeehouse Detective — visit a place on campus or in town where people go for coffee. Wait, watch, and think. Then write 500 words about some aspect of this experience. Act like a sociologist and study the customers. Who drinks coffee here? What are the most popular drinks? Or, think like an architect: Is the space set up for people to linger — or do people leave quickly? Other hats you might try on: a coffeehouse economist, chemist, or poet.

Special activities: In-class discussion with Johny Chaklader ’03 and Michael Tringali ’04, founders of a sustainable development coffee and tea company; watch
Mad Men TV show; trip to an Ithaca or Utica café

Live and learn

In January, students had the opportunity to shadow alumni at work through A Day in the Life, organized by the Center for Career Services. Samuel Robinson ’12, who has participated in the program for the past three years, reports:

I had the pleasure of spending a week at Cahn Capital Corp., a New York City–based boutique investment bank run by founder and president Stewart Cahn ’61. Mr. Cahn graduated with an MBA degree from Cornell’s Johnson Graduate School of Business in finance and has more than 40 years of experience in investment banking.
    On my first day, I was given a desk and folder of research. I spent the morning reading about six different companies seeking capital in fields ranging from biotech to green technology to Internet social media. I discussed the positive and negative aspects of each company and learned the history of each project by talking with different team members. I attended meetings with prospective clients and observed the firm’s evaluation process. I also contributed by asking questions and voicing my opinions.
    I learned how investment banking firms like Cahn Capital operate and select corporate clients for structuring and placing capital to assist in their growth. Without the program and the efforts of alumni like Mr. Cahn, I would not have as clear of a perspective of the financial world or my career options upon graduating.

Photo: Robinson with his Day in the Life host Stewart Cahn ’61 (left) and Fred Miller, who is Cahn’s business partner as well as the father of Greg Miller ’92 and Amy Miller-Friedman ’96.

For more on A Day in the Life, read what Yvett Sosa ’12 wrote about her experience observing plastic surgeon Dr. Jonathan Sherwyn ’78 by clicking here.