University symposium promotes discussion of sustainability


A symposium on sustainability took place in the McIlhenny Ballroom Tuesday to discuss how The University can adopt and spread sustainability practices within the local and global community.
Brian P. Conniff Ph.D., the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, opened the program with an expression of his enthusiasm for the event and delight for the large number of students in attendance.
Next, Professor Nicholas P. Truncale, physics lab director for the Physics and Electrical Engineering department at The University and project leader of the Reflective Solar Tracking Collaboration, presented the Reflective Solar Tracking Array (RTSA), a solar panel system that increases the amount of energy harvested by the sun by about 140 percent from traditional solar methods.
Truncale stressed the global implications of this project by showing its potential to provide energy to refugee camps in developing parts of the world. He emphasized the project’s end goal as helping others and encouraged students to look for ways to help others through sustainability in their own endeavors.
The event transitioned into a panel discussion in which panelists Senator John P. Blake, Sharon Meagher Ph.D., Mark Murphy, Michael Cann Ph.D., James Loven and Jessica Nolan Ph.D. shared their ideas on a variety of sustainability topics.
Pennsylvania’s 22nd district State Senator Blake presented sustainability from an economic standpoint as a matter of “allocating limited resources across growing human needs.”
He encouraged students to “think globally and act locally” and hold legislation accountable for making sustainable decisions. Murphy, The University’s director of sustainability, discussed some of the The University’s own sustainability efforts including LEED certifications for The Patrick and Margaret DeNaples Center and Loyola Science Center, LED lights in the Long Center Gymnasium and Madison Ave. parking lot and an abundance of recycling receptacles on campus. He hopes that these efforts not only positively impact the environment but also impact University students by teaching them sustainable practices that they can carry into their future careers and workplaces.
Faculty and students can become more involved in sustainability through faculty workshops (contact Cann or Meagher), considering an environmental studies concentration or major and making suggestions to the Office of Sustainability.
In his closing remarks, Cann urged students across all fields of study to start thinking about how they can employ environmentally friendly practices in their own careers and act as leaders in sustainability.

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