LORMAN, Miss.—Three ERDC Environmental Laboratory (EL) researchers joined the global Earth Day celebration April 22 with their exhibit at Alcorn State University’s (ASU) observance on the Lorman, Miss., campus, which included introduction of its sustainability program aimed at increasing awareness of environmental responsibility and protective actions.
Research Biologists Cynthia Banks and Jennifer Gerhardt-Smith, along with Research Ecologist Courtney Chambers, continued ERDC’s annual support of the ASU event with a booth display and explanations to inquiring students on the range of organism testing conducted at the Environmental Toxicology Research Facility. Interested students received marketing material related to environmental sustainability research and student employment opportunities.
Gerhardt-Smith said EL researches answered numerous questions from students visiting ERDC’s exhibit, such as, “My degree concentration is in computational math, so what sort of work is done at ERDC that could use those skills?”
“The ASU Earth Day is a perfect opportunity to support a regional Historically Black College and University,” said Banks. It is my hope that the ASU Education Partnership Agreement, which was updated in April 2012, is the beginning of a lasting mechanism to identify talented ASU students in the area of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), leading to advance minority recruitment for ERDC.”
Healthier and cleaner environment
Spearheaded by the SEEDS Campus Ecology Chapter of the Ecological Society of America, the Department of Biological Sciences, and Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, event activities focused on cleaning up the ASU campus, along with educating students, employees and the community on environmental issues.
Senior Vice President for University Operations Betty Roberts said, “We are pleased to celebrate this annual event with people around the world as we renew our commitment to building a healthier and cleaner society for all of us.”
Highlights of the daylong activities included groundbreaking for the new campus arboretum, former New Orleans Saints player Deuce McAllister as keynote speaker and the Experts Symposium on the Environment showcasing the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science and ERDC’s research representatives.
Alcorn’s sustainability logo, “Brave People, Go Green,” was unveiled and displayed on recycling bins located around campus, along with “Shred-It” trucks throughout the campus for paper recycling.
Alcorn State University works with ERDC on projects “as a comprehensive land-grant university developing diverse students into globally-competitive leaders, and applies scientific research through collaborative partnerships that benefit the surrounding communities, state, nation and world.”