World-renowned architect Tod Williams of Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects in New York City visited the Department of Architecture and Design at Alfred State this October to deliver the lecture titled “Architecture is a noun.” Attracted by the new Bachelor of Architecture program’s unusual emphasis on the ‘Poetics of Construction,’ which is also the theme of the Department’s lecture series this year, Williams took the time to give invaluable feedback to students and discuss their ongoing projects before beginning his lecture. Department Chair Dr. Heinrich Hermann hopes this sort of interaction becomes commonplace in the program as the BArch degree ramps up. Now in its first year, the degree is one of only eight such programs in the entire State of New York and the only one of its kind in the SUNY system, Hermann says.
Ever wonder what happens after you dispose of your empty body wash or facial scrub containers? Those same products are landing in the Great Lakes and polluting our environment. Dr. Sherri Mason, a professor at SUNY Fredonia and our previous IWA expert, has now lead the charge on the study of higher levels of microplastics in Lake Erie.
Microplastics are small particles that are added to personal care items to give them an abrasive property. They can be found in your toothpaste, deodorants, body washes, hand cleansers and facial scrubs. In summer 2012, in collaboration with the 5 Gyres Institute, Mason recorded the plastic content of Lake Huron, Lake Erie and Lake Superior and discovered that Lake Erie had higher concentrations of microplastics than any other body of water on Earth, with concentrations exceeding data collected in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Alarming levels were also present in Lakes Huron and Superior.
When he isn’t teaching, Jeremy Speed Schwartz, assistant professor of Digital Media & Animation at Alfred State, spends his time traversing wormholes, discovering the surface of Mars (in Ireland), and diving headfirst into aquifers. He calls himself an imaginary scientist, and his work redraws (or altogether erases) the line between fact and fiction, science and art. And believe it or not, it’s his wild imagination that’s allowed him to pair up with some of the greatest minds in science and technology. “In the past, we’ve worked with biologists at MIT, NASA geophysicists, and, most recently, scientists at the Memphis Ground Water Institute,” Speed Schwartz said. It also landed him the rare opportunity to deliver a TEDx talk in Buffalo on October 15 at Canisius College.
Three Alfred State students set off for Colorado this September, where they embarked on an epic 2,500-mile cross-country trivia game called The Fireball Run. This contest saw participants traveling from the forest Northwest to the desert Southwest all in an effort to help raise awareness about missing children. Their trip started in Longmont, Colorado, and ended in Riverside, California.
“There’s not only a common interest in helping the community among the contestants but also a passion for racing and traveling,” says Canada native and 2013 Alfred State automotive graduate Ryan Dontoh. “This experience is going to open every door possible for me.”
Alfred State students are doers, not bystanders. In fact, last year alone, more than 2,000 of this college of technology’s students contributed more than 46,000 hours of service, civic leadership, and workforce-ready knowledge to communities in need. And this August, the college was selected to participate in a national initiative on civic learning and democratic engagement for the second consecutive year.
Alfred State has been named one of just 70 colleges and universities in the nation designated Lead Institutions by NASPA Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, the leading voice for the student affairs profession.