Professor of Geography Richard Kujawa and two of his students presented their research at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the New England and Saint Lawrence Valley Geographical Society held at the University of Maine in Farmington, October 19-20. Topics ranged from hydraulic fracturing to the impact of Mardi Gras or a jazz festival on urban spaces.
Environmental studies major Nick Rucci '14 of Livonia, NY presented a poster on the impact of hydraulic fracturing methods of natural gas production on agriculture landscapes in counties in Pennsylvania and New York on the Marcellus Shale. The poster, co-prepared with Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Laura Stroup, was the result of a faculty-student research collaboration in the summer of 2012, funded by an SMC Vice President for Academic Affairs Fellowship. Nick's trip to the conference was funded by a travel grant from the Vice President's Office.
Festivals and urban spaces
Patrick Crannell '13 of Waitsfield, VT, an English major and human geography minor, presented a paper titled "Festivals and Urban Public Space: Economic Imperatives and the Social Construction of An Ephemeral Community." The paper drew on insights from theorists Ferdinand Tonnies, Georg Simmel and Michel Foucault among others in considering the ways contemporary festival events in cities transform social relations. He showed that the urban festival can provide moments of unity or moments that enforce the solidarity of urban life.
Exploring the Mardi Gras of New Orleans, the North Sea Jazz Festival, Sydney's pre-Olympic festivals and the Edinburgh Fringe festival, he showed "the universality of a 'placeless' culture" with social relationships that are symbolic of a city's economic agenda and vision of Western society.
New Environmental Studies Course
Professor Richard Kujawa also presented a paper which drew on his collaborative teaching with Professor Laura Stroup. The paper, "Superfund, the Toxic Release Inventory, TOXMAP, and Teaching: Something for everyone?" reported on the development and implementation of a curricular unit which linked environmental health and toxicology, environmental law and explorations of the relational databases and GIS maps of the EPA and National Library of Medicine. Kujawa also met with researchers from the Maine EPSCoR team to complement his work on the Regional Adaptation to Climate Change project funded by Vermont EPSCoR.
Meeting with Nobel Laureate Robert Kates
All presenters met in person and attended a plenary session with Nobel Prize Winner Robert Kates, Presidential Professor of Sustainability Science at the University of Maine, who discussed his professional career path and involvement in four cycles of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.