Colleges of the Fenway 12th Annual Muddy River Symposium

April 11, 2018

Over 120 faculty, staff, and students attended the 12th Annual colleges of the Fenway Muddy River Symposium at Wheelock College. The theme of this year's event was "Environmental Protection: A Call For Action." 

Dr. Ellen FaszewskiWheelock Professor of Biology Ellen Faszewski developed and led the Symposium for the past 12 years in collaboration with the COF Center for Sustainability and the Environment. Each year, the event has grown larger. The Symposium combines the celebration of the Muddy River, an important resource in the Fenway community, with the important work of teaching students to (a) pursue questions related to environmental sustainability and environmental justice, (b) document their research, (c) teach others about their findings, and (d) advocate for change.

"Ellen's collaboration with other faculty from Wheelock and across the COF is a terrific example of the power of Wheelock College and our mission on the local community," said Wheelock President Dr. David Chard.

Gabby Queenan, Policy Director for Mass Rivers Alliance provided the Symposium's keynote address and over 33 student research projects were presented, including seven additional projects from the COF Center for Sustainability Mini Grant Winners. 

This year's winning research projects were:

Keep Cool - MCPHS University

KeepCool offers an environmentally friendly and sustainable cooling system for medications that require temperature stability. KeepCool has developed a revolutionary cooling device free of battery replacement to avoid the difficulty of replacing batteries in refrigeration systems because of expense and availability. KeepCool targets individuals who do not have access to adequate means for cooling. KeepCool's vision is to promote environmental stewardship and sustainability by building a trusted company for proper medication storage.

Bee Hotel - Wheelock College

The bee population is rapidly decreasing at an alarming rate, and humans are at fault. The Bee Hotel will create a home for solitary bees, which are just as important as the well-known honeybee. The Bee Hotel will provide an opportunity for solitary bees to remain alive and warm throughout the cold winter months. This project is not only important to the continued lifespan of the bees, but the continued production of our food is also in crisis.

Reuse Room - Emmanuel College

The Emmanuel College Sustainability Committee will be using their grant to launch a planned assessment for the need of a permanent reuse room and food pantry. The assessment will include the analysis of student opinions collected via survey, presentation of the data to the Emmanuel College's Administration, and a promotional campaign regarding this initiative to create an informed public discourse on campus.

Photo Posts @ Drumlin Farm - Simmons College

The aim of our project is to create an opportunity for collaboration between two centers of environmental education: the Boston Area Climate Experiment and Mass Audubon's Drumlin Farm. The funding will be used to create two "Photo Post" sites, one at each location, which engagevisitors to help track the growth and development of native species of plants over time and their phenological response to climate change. Surrounding the photo posts will be garden beds planted with a variety of native plant species.

Bee Awareness Event - Wheelock College

As a part of our Course Bee-Aware Environment & Society at Wheelock College, we will use the funding to raise awareness about sustainability, pollinators, pesticides, and issues with environmental health to the Wheelock Community.

Power Tomorrow - Wentworth Institute of Technology

Power Tower will utilize a heat engine created from 3D printed PLA plastic to harness the energy from Nitinol, a shape memory alloy (SMA) made of nickel and titanium. The funding for Power Tomorrow will be used to test the wide variety of applications of the harnessed energy.

Deterra Drug Disposal - MCPHS University

The Deterra drug disposal system is comprised of pouches for safe and proper disposal of unused medication. These pouches contain activated carbon that adsorbs all organic compounds when combined with warm water. This product is non-toxic and the pouch is made of biodegradable material. The use of Deterra can reduce the amount of medical waste found in sewage and drinking water which is caused by flushing and improper disposal of medication. Deterra also allows people to safely dispose their unused medication which prevents others from easily obtaining them for inappropriate uses (e.g. substance abuse).

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