WHAT YOU CAN’T SEE CAN HURT YOU

 

 

Originally published on @theU on October 15, 2018.
 
By Vince Horiuchi, public relations associate, College of Engineering
 

What if you could see nasty microscopic air pollutants in your home?

PHOTO CREDIT: Dan Hixson/University of Utah College of Engineering

PHOTO CREDIT: Dan Hixson/University of Utah College of Engineering
University of Utah School of Computing assistant professor Jason Wiese (left) and computing doctoral student Jimmy Moore conducted a study to determine if homeowners change the way they live if they could visualize the air quality in their house. They provided participants with air pollution sensors, a Google Home speaker and a tablet to measure and chart the air quality in their homes.

Engineers from the University of Utah’s School of Computing conducted a study to determine if homeowners change the way they live if they could visualize the air quality in their house. It turns out, their behavior changes a lot.

Their study was published this month in the Proceedings of the ACM on Interactive, Mobile, Wearable and Ubiquitous Technologies. The paper was also presented Oct. 9 in Singapore during the “ACM International Joint Conference on Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing.” The paper can be viewed and downloaded here.

“The idea behind this study was to help people understand something about this invisible air quality in their home,” says University of Utah School of Computing assistant professor Jason Wiese, who was a lead author of the paper along with U School of Computing doctoral student Jimmy Moore and School of Computing associate professor Miriah Meyer.

During the day, the air pollution inside your home can be worse than outside due to activities such as vacuuming, cooking, dusting or running the clothes dryer. The results can cause health problems, especially for the young and elderly with asthma.

University of Utah engineers from both the School of Computing and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering built a series of portable air quality monitors with Wi-Fi and connected them to a university server. Three sensors were placed in each of six homes in Salt Lake and Utah counties from four to 11 months in 2017 and 2018. Two were placed in different, high-traffic areas of the house such as the kitchen or a bedroom and one outside on or near the porch. Each minute, each sensor automatically measured the air for PM 2.5 (a measurement of tiny particles or droplets in the air that are 2.5 microns or less in width) and sent the data to the server. The data could then be viewed by the homeowner on an Amazon tablet that displayed the air pollution measurements in each room as a line graph over a 24-hour period. Participants in the study could see up to 30 days of air pollution data. To help identify when there might be spikes in the air pollution, homeowners were given a voice-activated Google Home speaker so they could tell the server to label a particular moment in time when the air quality was being measured, such as when a person was cooking or vacuuming. Participants also were sent an SMS text message warning them whenever the indoor air quality changed rapidly.

PHOTO CREDIT: Jason Wiese
Participants were given an Amazon table that displayed the air pollution data in an easy-to-understand line chart so they could see when and why the air quality worsened. Homeowners also could label points in time when the pollution would spike, such as when they were cooking or vacuuming.

During the study, researchers discovered some interesting trends from their system of sensors, which they called MAAV (Measure Air quality, Annotate data streams and Visualize real-time PM2.5 levels). One homeowner discovered that the air pollution in her home spiked when she cooked with olive oil. So that motivated her to find other oils that produced less smoke at the same cooking temperature.

Another homeowner would vacuum and clean the house just before a friend with allergies dropped by, to try to clean the air of dust. But what she found out through the MAAV system is that she actually made the air much worse because she kicked up more pollutants with her vacuuming and dusting. Realizing this, she started cleaning the house much earlier before the friend would visit.

Participants would open windows more when the air was bad or compare measurements between rooms and avoid those rooms with more pollution.

“Without this kind of system, you have no idea about how bad the air is in your home,” Wiese says. “There are a whole range of things you can’t see and can’t detect. That means you have to collect the data with the sensor and show it to the individual in an accessible, useful way.”

Researchers also learned that circumstances that made the air pollution worse differed in each home. Vacuuming in the home, for example, would have different effects on the air quality. They also learned that if homeowners could visualize the air quality in their home, they always stayed on top of labeling and looking at the data.

Wiese says no known manufacturers make air quality systems for the home that allow residents to visualize and label the air quality in this way, but he hopes their research can spur more innovation.

The study involved engineering in collaboration with other University of Utah scientists, including biomedical informatics and clinical asthma researchers. It was funded as part of a larger National Institutes of Health program known as Pediatric Research using Integrated Sensor Monitoring Systems (PRISMS), launched in 2015 to develop sensor-based health monitoring systems for measuring environmental, physiological and behavioral factors in pediatric studies of asthma and other chronic diseases.

Research reported in this publication was funded by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number U54EB021973. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

 

 

SUSTAINABLE CAMPUS INITIATIVE FUND: YEAR IN REVIEW (2017-18)

2017 International Stream Daylighting Lecture Series, $1,000

Project manager: Aaron Phillips

A team of university faculty, community members, and the nonprofit Seven Canyons Trust organized two speaker events at the University of Utah. These events facilitated dialogue about the practice of Stream Daylighting, a multi-disciplinary approach to uncovering urban waters, bringing them back to the surface, and restoring their stream channel. Dubbed the “International Stream Daylighting Series,” these events were a great success. The collaborative spirit fostered by these events will drive innovations in water management and ecosystem restoration that will enhance the livability of cities and the health of our communities in general.

ARTivism, $1,000

Project manager: Brooke Larson  |  Project advisor: Jeffrey McCarthy

The Environmental Humanities Program and local climate justice groups organized the art activism symposium “ARTivism: Mobilizing the Climate Movement.” Over 150 people, including national arts organizers, attended. Powerful images were created by artists from across the region that were then screen printed onto hundreds of banners and patches for the community to paint and use. They created 125 cross-bar banners, 350 patches, one 30-foot banner. Activists learned new art-making skills, artists learned how to merge their creativity with their concerns for climate issues, and people from all backgrounds walked away with a feeling of empowerment.

Cultural Aspects of Food, $1,000

Project manager: Shannon Jones

The Cultural Aspects of Food course often prepares excess food, which is given to the students in plastic disposable containers to take home. With SCIF funding, this course purchased sustainable, compostable containers for their students to take home extra food. In conjunction with this, reusable grocery bags were purchased to be used by lab instructors when purchasing food for the course. This project will save a minimum of 700 to-go containers per year for each course when estimating that each student uses only one to-go container out of the three labs they attend.

Compressed Earth Block Workshop, $161.45

Project managers: Eric Blyth, Shay Myers  |  Project advisor: José Galarza

The College of Architecture + Planning hosted a workshop on Compressed Earth Block (CEB) building, led by Marcin Jakubowski, the founder of Open Source Ecology. With SCIF funding, the college was able to purchase supplies, including buckets, lime and cement, and to cover Jakubowski’s travel expenses. By educating and promoting the use of Compressed Earth Blocks through education and demonstration, they furthered the environmental awareness within the design and building fields here on campus and in the professional community at large.

Pioneer Garden Design, $1,000

Project manager: Brianna Milot  |  Project advisor: Jennifer Watt

With help from SCIF, the Edible Campus Gardens Steering Committee was able to hire a graduate student in Architecture to help create a long-term master plan for the Pioneer and Sill gardens at the University of Utah. These gardens comprise the Edible Campus Gardens. With this student’s help, the committee has created a design board with a site section and site plan. This high quality and professional plan will provide both guidance and structure to the funding and implementation of a wide variety of projects. It will now be easier to ask for future funding and to know where such funding should be allotted.

The Box Heat Transfer Explanation, $1,149.13

Project manager: Jörg Rügemer

In this project, Jörg Rügemer, assistant professor in Architecture, challenged students to learn how different glass qualities and shading devices impact energy performance of buildings. SCIF funded the purchase of an experimental setup for the ARCH 6352 class to better learn the aforementioned phenomena and to experiment best strategies for buildings. Both experiments presented impressive results, which demonstrated to the students the impact of passive measures of design on building performance. There were 15 students in this year’s class, and there will be about 15 -20 students each future year who will be exposed to the experiment.

Westside Leadership Institute Computer Access, $894.80

Project manager: Nicole Pavez  |  Project advisor: Ivis García Zambrana

The project manager used money from SCIF to purchase two retired laptop computers from University Surplus & Salvage, upgrade the computers, and buy equipment needed for future maintenance. The repurposed laptops were donated to The Westside Leadership Institute (WLI), a semester-long continuing education course taught by professors from the University of Utah through the University Neighborhood Partners and NeighborWorks Salt Lake. Classes are taught in both Spanish and English. The course was previously lacking access to computers, and as a result it was hard to conduct in-class activities. With these new “retired” computers, students improved computer access at WLI.

Bike Rack Parking at Warnock Engineering Building, $11,390

Project manager: Ian Pradhan  |  Project advisor: Ginger Cannon

With SCIF funding, Ian Pradhan was able to upgrade the existing bike parking near the Warnock Engineering Building (WEB) to new high capacity bike racks that would better serve the bike parking needs in the area. Ian was inspired to do this project when he saw how underserved the bike parking in the engineering district of campus was. After the initial funding, the project advisor and Active Transportation Manager, Ginger Cannon, continued to work on the plans for this area on campus. After two years, Ginger completed the original project and expanded the available bike parking in the engineering district.

Wildlife in the Wildland-Urban Interface, $5,483.20

Project manager: Ethan Frehner  |  Project advisor: Çağan Şekercioğlu

The University of Utah’s campus housing and Research Park extend directly into undeveloped foothills of the Wasatch Front. While this poses a challenge from a management perspective, there is also potential for studying the effects of human development on our native wildlife community. With SCIF funding, Ethan Frehner used high-definition wildlife photographs as a means of educating students and faculty about the animal residents of our university’s wildland-urban interface. This project observed and promoted appreciation for the animals that neighbor our campus, reduced human-wildlife conflict, and informed sustainable university policy and decision making that influence wildlife.

Furthering Open Source Sustainable Technologies on Campus, $7,050

Project managers: Eric Blyth and Shay Myers  |  Project advisor: José Galarza

In Spring 2017, students used SCIF funds to obtain a Compressed Earth Block (CEB) Press, which makes high quality, sustainable building materials. In this grant, students were able to acquire a trailer to mount the CEB Press to enhance its mobility. This trailer increases the educational opportunities of the press, allowing students to host workshops at the Salt Lake City campus, and with academic partners in the surrounding Four Corners areas. Additionally, this grant allowed students to host a panel with professionals in the fields of open source technologies, natural building, and regional affordable housing to inspire further innovation.

Thermophotovoltaic (TPV) Device Study, $8,750

Project manager: Spencer Donovan  |  Project advisor: Mathieu Francoeur

The goal of this project was to design, fabricate, and characterize a solar thermophotovoltaic device to convert solar radiation to electrical power by the use of a thermophotovoltaic (TPV) cell. While TPV has the potential to far surpass the efficiency of conventional silicon photovoltaics (PV) in terms of efficiency, it is difficult to maintain the temperature difference between the emitter and the TPV cell. Students built a self-contained thermophotovoltaic device to specification. In doing so, they maintained a large temperature difference between the silicon carbide emitter and the thermophotovoltaic cell.

A student fixes their bike as the Fix-It Station installed in University Student Apartments using SCIF funds.

USA Fix-It Stations, $4,004

Project manager: Ali Hedayat  |  Project advisor: Valerie Green

The lack of bike repair stations at the University Student Apartments (USA) motivated students to gain SCIF funding to install bicycle repair stations at two new locations. The first location was the in the West Village, in front of the building 722 behind the University Student Apartments main office. The second location was chosen on the north west corner of the eastern parking lot in the East Village. About 150 of the university village residents directly benefit from the stations. Besides these residents, other citizens who bike around Sunnyside Ave might use the stations as well.

University of Utah Vertical Axis Wind Turbine – Phase 1, $10,429.99

Project manager: Lindsay Walter  |  Project advisor: Meredith Metzger

SCIF funded Phase I of a project to build a Utah Wind Turbine (UUWT) to be installed on the rooftop of a building on campus. Students purchased sensors to measure the power performance of the turbine, support framing, mechanical components, and electronics for the data acquisition system. A tent-like enclosure was made from upcycled military spec vinyl to weatherize the structure. A wifi system was installed on the roof so that VAWT can be used as a research tool through data collection. This project was displayed at the Mechanical Engineering Design Day, which over 1,000 students attended.

Hybrid Heat Engine, $1,000

Project manager: Job Freedman  |  Project advisor: Kent Udell

Waste and low-level renewable heat sources are a plentiful but underutilized energy source. This project sought to take advantage of this resource to provide inexpensive renewable electrical power to the University of Utah. Students created a Hybrid Heat Engine to convert waste heat to electrical power at the High Temperature Water Plant (HTW). While the project was not complete when the final report was submitted, it showed promise to meet or exceed goals for power and efficiency. At Engineering Day, many people expressed excitement at the idea of creating a brand-new form of alternative energy at the University.

Red Butte Monitoring, $1,000

Project manager: Jeff Rose

More than 30 miles of new and/or improved trails are slated to be developed within the Foothill Trail system over next 10 years. One of the proposed sites for development is East of Bonneville Shore Line Trail on the Red Butte and Mt. Wire trail systems. The purpose of this project, led by Jeff Rose, faculty in Parks, Recreation, & Tourism, was to assess current visitor use and visitor experience motivations and preferences at popular, local outdoor recreation trail destinations immediately proximal to the University of Utah campus. This research was necessary to mitigate potential user conflict and negative environmental impacts from increased use related to proposed Foothill trail development.

Sustainability Development, $510.73

Project manager: McKayla Pham  |  Project advisor: Holly Sebahar

SCIF funding was used to purchase materials necessary for particle sensor kits which students will be able to build and experiment with to determine sources of airborne particulate matter. The ultimate goal of this project is to create a lesson plan and a hands-on activity to be used in teaching students grades 6-12 about air quality. Furthermore, as a part of this project, students from Granite Park Middle School will be touring the Utah-Atmospheric Trace gas & Air Quality lab (U-ATAQ) to experience science demonstrations focused on sustainability.

Bags to Beds, $4,700

Project manager: Kaitlin McLean  |  Project advisor: Bobbijo Kanter

The Bags to Beds project takes plastic grocery bags, cuts them up, and uses them as string to crochet sleeping mats for individuals experiencing homelessness in the valley. Students replaced shabby collection cardboard boxes that were scattered over the University of Utah campus and community with responsibly made, durable receptacles. They also purchased crochet hooks and heavy-duty scissors, which are now used at all of the service projects this group hosts. Lastly, some marketing materials were purchased to get the word out about this project. This project takes thousands of bags that cannot be recycled out of the waste stream.

 

Huntsman Arena Waste and Recycling Stations, $2,500

Project manager: Matt Abbott

With SCIF Funding, a team of staff from Stadium & Arena Event Services, Facilities Management, and the Sustainability Office took measures to reduce waste within our athletic arenas. They obtained color-coded and clearly-labeled bins with appropriate size openings to help fans in a hurry recycle correctly and reduce contamination, purchased bins that can be easily altered to include a compost stream when composting becomes available at the arena, used single-stream recycling to prevent confusion from too many streams, and established a standard for athletic venue recycling bins. Given the volume of waste from sporting events, this will have significant impacts.

Green Infrastructure Pollinator Garden, $11,825

Project manager: Mason Kreidler  |  Project advisor: Sarah Hinners

With SCIF money, students added green infrastructure and a pollinator garden in place of the existing lawn area between the Architecture Building, School of Business, and the Utah Museum of Fine Arts. This project mitigated a flooding problem to the Architecture building, reduced irrigation requirements, enhanced biodiversity on campus by supporting native pollinators, and created a pleasant green space. The project obtained an additional $1825 from SCIF to commission a professional landscape architect to assist in the planning phase of the bioswale and pollinator garden installation to ensure that the garden was professionally implemented.

Gardner Commons Solar Umbrella, $10,000

Project manager: Taylor Mineer  |  Project advisor: Jennifer Shah

Students purchased a ConnecTable HUB Solar Charging Station to be placed outside of Carolyn and Kem Gardner Commons. The energy generated from solar panels installed on the roof of this table allows students to plug in their laptops and other electronic devices while working outside. This project created an accessible outdoor workspace for students to study and charge electronic devices while contributing to the University of Utah’s goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

U of U Outdoor Classroom Phase 2, $15,000

Project manager: Rachel Carrillo

In Phase 2 of creating an outdoor classroom for the Ukids Daycare, the AEB Community Garden was created. This garden utilizes a low drip watering and a composting system. An ADA accessible ramp replaced a previous ramp that was at a very steep grade and was unsafe for young children. This project also furthers collaboration across numerous departments such as Red Butte Gardens, Facilities Management, University Student Apartments, and the on-campus Feed U Pantry. The outdoor classroom also provides the ideal backdrop for research and practical application of best practices in early childhood education and improving sustainability on campus.

Gardner Commons Microscopes, $10,000

Project manager: Sam Carter  |  Project advisor: Andrea Brunelle

This project provided the departments of Geography, Anthropology, Geology, and Environmental & Sustainability Studies with the tools needed to enhance student involvement in scientific research and give valuable hands-on experience. SCIF funding allowed the purchase of 15 Zeiss Primo Star Student Microscopes to a teaching lab in the Carolyn and Kem Gardner Commons. Numerous classes now use the new facility. Undergraduate researchers have access to the lab for studying biodiversity, stream ecology, paleoclimate, and microorganisms. Investing in tools that facilitate research and get students excited about science is the best way to ensure a clean, healthy, and sustainable future.

Phenology Working Group, $10,000

Project manager: Dale Forrister  |  Project advisor: Phyllis Coley

Phenology is the study of the timing of key biological events in plants and animals such as flowering, hibernation, and reproduction. Tracking phenology provides evidence that species and ecosystems are being influenced by global environmental change. In this project, the Phenology Working Group connected independent University of Utah research projects under the central theme of studying how climate change impacts phenological patterns. Second, the group laid the groundwork for long-term phenology monitoring in both the Red Butte Canyon Research Natural Area, and Yasuní, Ecuador. Third, the group disseminated their research findings within the University of Utah and Salt Lake communities.

10 YEARS OF SUSTAINABILITY

Originally posted in @theU on Sept. 22, 2017.

By Amy Brunvand, Sustainability Librarian.

The University of Utah Sustainability Office turns 10 years old this year, and it is truly amazing to look around campus and realize how much has changed for the better in the past decade. Nowadays, there are campus vegetable gardens with ripe tomatoes and hives of buzzing bees, solar parking canopies that provide both power and shade, electric vehicles plugged into charging stations, crowds of students arriving on TRAX light-rail trains, tasty vegetarian and vegan options on offer at the cafeteria, water bottle refilling stations in most buildings, and plenty of recycling bins to divert waste from the landfill.

The curriculum has changed, too. Undergraduates can earn a number of sustainability-focused degrees and minors, while graduate students in any field can add an Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate in Sustainability to their credentials.

Over the years, students, staff and faculty have all contributed to a vision of making the University of Utah a better place. In September, the Sustainability Office will celebrate these milestones and achievements with a Sustainability Showcase highlighting current programs and resources, and a special presentation by Dr. Vandana Shiva who advocates for traditional agriculture, and environmental and social justice issues worldwide.

Join us at the Sustainability Showcase on Friday, Sept. 29, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. on the Marriott Library Plaza for food, live music and fun activities. Later this fall, Dr. Vandana Shiva will present a public lecture at Libby Gardner Concert Hall on Saturday, Oct. 20, 7:30 p.m., as part of UtahPresents 2017-18 season. Tickets are available now.

1991-2006: Early Beginnings of Sustainability

Ten years ago, the transition to campus sustainability had barely begun, although a few major milestones laid the foundation. The first big sustainable change was a side effect of trying to cope with limited parking; in 1991, Commuter Services launched the Ed Pass program to give a UTA transit pass to every student and employee on campus. Not only did this encourage people to leave their cars at home, it helped expand Salt Lake City’s light rail network when enthusiastic transit riders from the U showed up at City Council meetings to press for construction of the Red Line TRAX, which opened in 2001.

In 1996, a biology professor named Fred Montague started an “unofficial” campus vegetable garden to teach students about his ideas for ecological gardening. That unofficial garden became the foundation of today’s Edible Campus Gardens, which teaches volunteers how to grow food, supports organic gardening curriculum and sells produce at the University of Utah Farmers Market. By 2006, the university had also constructed the Spencer F. and Cleone P. Eccles Health Sciences Education Building, the first LEED-certified building which incorporated efficient use of energy and water, waste reduction and consideration of human health in the building’s design, construction, operations and maintenance.

These efforts were significant, but they weren’t yet part of a unified drive to implement sustainability on campus.

2007-2014: The Sustainability Office Forms

Divergent efforts began to coalesce in 2007, with the formation of the Sustainability Office (then called the Sustainability Resource Center), underneath Facilities Management.

Something like the Sustainability Office doesn’t happen without visionaries. The idea was originally proposed by students, but it was City & Metropolitan Planning faculty member Craig B. Forster who led the effort to make the idea work. Forster, who became the first director, was a natural fit with sustainability. He was interested in facilitating interdisciplinary research and bridging the gaps between science and public policy. He also had a talent for bringing people together and was deeply involved with the local community. In the summertime, he was often seen at the Pioneer Park farmers’ market playing cimbalom (a kind of hammered dulcimer) with his Hungarian Táncház band.

With only one full-time staff member and some volunteers, the Sustainability Office got to work organizing recycling at football games, installing the first solar panels on campus, setting up a campus farmers’ market, making sure that sustainability was included in the Campus Master Plan and developing a student fee to support student-led sustainability projects through the Sustainable Campus Initiative Fund. On Earth Day 2008, University of Utah President Michael K. Young signed the American College & University President’s Climate Commitment, dedicating the university to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. The year ended in tragedy, though, when Forster died in a hiking accident.

Despite the loss of Forster, the university persevered with a vision for making sustainability integral to its operations. In 2009, after a competitive nationwide search, architect and planner Myron Willson was appointed the next director of the office.

2014-2017: Sustainability is Integrated into Academic Affairs

In 2014, the Sustainability Office made another big change to adapt to the growing campus. Originally, the office was on the organizational chart under Facilities Management with the idea that university employees would take care of recycling, xeriscaping, transit passes and such.

But then an interesting thing happened. Students were getting more and more interested in sustainable change. They wanted to try out their ideas, and the campus was the most natural place for them to do so. With the Sustainable Campus Initiative Fund (SCIF) now up and running, grants were available for student-led sustainability projects. The university had become a living laboratory for sustainable change, and sustainability-focused courses had popped up in academic departments all over campus. With so much involvement in interdisciplinary research and learning, the Sustainability Office moved into Academic Affairs, and Associate Vice President for Faculty and law professor Amy Wildermuth was named Chief Sustainability Officer in 2014. Wildermuth added Adrienne Cachelin, Environmental & Sustainability Studies faculty to the team as the director of sustainability education to guide burgeoning sustainability education efforts across campus.

Under Wildermuth, the Sustainability Office also joined forces with the Global Change and Sustainability Center (GCSC), founded in 2010 by biology professor Jim Ehleringer to foster interdisciplinary sustainability research. Nowadays, under Director Brenda Bowen, Geology & Geophysics faculty, the 129 faculty affiliates of the GCSC represent nine colleges. The center supports graduate students through grants and fellowships, offers an interdisciplinary research seminar series, faculty networking opportunities, assistance for large interdisciplinary grants and core courses in the Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate in Sustainability curriculum.

Sustainability is You: The Next 10 Years

Today, the Sustainability Office team includes fourteen faculty and staff members as well as numerous student interns and volunteers and continues to expands its scope. Though much progress has been made, sustainability is an ongoing effort, and there is still a lot of work to do.

This year, the Sustainability Office celebrates 10 years of dedicated efforts of faculty, staff and students from across campus. The next 10 years of sustainability at the university will be guided by those in our community who get and remain involved. We invite you to be part of this important work. Join us at one of our fall events to learn about ways you can help make the U a better place for all who live, work and play here.

SUSTAINABLE CAMPUS INITIATIVE FUND: YEAR IN REVIEW (2016-17)

Burned Out Art Installation, $262.14

Project manager: Lya Yang  |  Project advisor: Wendy Wischer

Lya Yang created an interactive sculpture installation to talk about energy use and indirectly bring awareness to carbon dioxide emissions created by power plants that generate electricity by burning fossil fuels. The piece consisted of black structures to evoke factory plants and handles placed at varying points, which viewers could engage with. Four different people cranking all four handles caused a portion of the sculpture to light up. The lights served as both a warning about non-renewable consumption of electricity and a beacon of hope in the search for a solution that can only be achieved if the collective works together.

Cowspiracy Screening, Panel, and Information Fair, $210

Project manager: Jayla Lundstrom  |  Project advisor: Howard Lehman

Eating sustainably can be one of the most effective ways for individuals to reduce their environmental impact. The screening of the 2014 documentary “Cowspiracy” about the footprint of animal agriculture, facilitated thoughtful reflection and discussion and ignited student action and involvement. The screening was followed by a panel discussion with professors and community members who have expertise in sustainability fields. An information fair after the event offered students and community members the ability to connect with sustainable campus organizations and local groups. Attendees gained an understanding of how their actions impact the environment and how they can make a difference.

Solar Car Cooler, $754.09

Project manager: Beau Healey  |  Project advisor: Meredith Metzger

When parked vehicles heat up in hot weather, energy is wasted to run air conditioning to cool them to comfortable levels. Therefore, students developed a 3-D printed, solar powered, forced convection cooling system for cars. Testing was conducted to evaluate the amount of reduction in carbon emissions as well as consumer fuel savings. This device circulates ambient air throughout the vehicle, while forcing the hot air out. The final Solar Car Cooler prototype is able to lower the inside vehicle temperature to the ambient temperature outside the vehicle, successfully maintaining the inside vehicle temperature at a safe temperature.

Winterizing the Wildlife Society at the U, $540

Project manager: Amy Sibul

Caretakers of the beekeeping and kestrel nest boxes utilize a golf cart purchased through SCIF in the past, and it has proven to be incredibly useful. It allows for the transportation of ladders, equipment, hive materials, and more. In winter weather, maintenance of the cart is necessary. Funding for this project purchased a protective cover for the cart, as well as rugged tires that are better able to handle trail access needs. The cart is now better suited for winter weather so that it can continue to support beekeeping and kestrel nest box efforts.

Cradle-to-Cradle Coffee Maker, $2,613.77

Project manager: Marie Vandervliet  |  Project advisor: Roseanne Warren

Cradle-to-Cradle is a design philosophy emphasizing life-cycle sustainability of a product. This project created a coffee maker that could operate solely from the user’s input, rather than electricity. The user operates the coffee maker by riding a bicycle, which spins a circular plate of magnets beneath a copper water tube. The spinning magnets create a magnetic field that generates a current through the copper tube, creating heat. This project represents a successful example of how a human could reasonably spin magnets to brew coffee, without the need for a battery or other electrical source.

Food Recovery Network Operations Coordinator, $4,953.05

Project manager: Julia Maciunas  |  Project advisor: Shannon Jones

The United States wastes nearly 30-40% of all food produced. In an effort to combat that, the Food Recovery Network (FRN) reduces food waste from one of the most prominent and sizeable waste streams on campus and diverts potential edible food waste to feed food insecure students and other community members. The establishment of a paid FRN Operations Coordinator, funded by SCIF, helps to create a viable organizational model for the FRN and guarantees a functional transition plan for student leadership turnover. Ultimately, the position helps to engage students on a campus-wide level to realize the impacts of the university’s food system.

The Dying Spirit: Intermedia Sculpture, $4,287.07

Project manager: Darby DeHart  |  Project advisor: Wendy Wischer

“The Dying Spirit” is a sculptural piece created to increase awareness about the erosion of the Bonneville Salt Flats. The sculpture depicts Ab Jenkins, 24th Salt Lake City Mayor and Bonneville race car driver, positioned mid-run. His left hand is stretched out in front of him, but the salt on his body is disintegrating to reveal the soil underneath. The piece was temporarily displayed on the Salt Flats as well as in the Marriott Library during peak weeks.

(In)visible Interactive Art Piece, $300

Project managers: Ciria Alvarez, Maria Olsen, Uyen Hoang  |  Project advisor: Wendy Wischer

This project brought awareness to Red Butte Creek, which runs primarily underground throughout Salt Lake and the University of Utah. The art piece consisted of a river made out of wood and painted with chalkboard paint at Library Plaza. The art piece posed questions about the creek, the importance of water, and environmental justice that students could discuss by writing on the river. The project brought attention to the water sources we use and often take for granted, thereby making the “invisible” visible. It also brought out the voice of the surrounding community to potentially aid the preservation of the creek.

(In)visible Outreach Mailing, $206.70

Project managers: LeAnne Hodges, Morgan Crowley, Derek Rennicke  |  Project advisor: Wendy Wischer

This smaller piece of the bigger (In)visible project to raise awareness about Red Butte Creek involved sending letters to students to share personal stories about the creek. Even though the creek runs through campus, little awareness about it exists on campus. By appealing to students emotionally through the letters, students raised awareness for the creek and encouraged people at the University of Utah to be more conscious of how they may harm the watershed. After receiving one of these letters, which includes a map and photo of the creek, students could write their own letters and pass it on to others.

(In)visible Plaza Food, $470

Project manager: Katie Barber  |  Project advisor: Wendy Wischer

This project consisted of an event on Library Plaza with themed food and discussion to raise awareness about Red Butte Creek and other lesser-known watersheds. The event encouraged students to actively participate in learning about Red Butte Creek’s importance, and the correlation between the food and the watershed emphasized the immediacy of the Red Butte Creek’s impact on the students themselves. Discussion centered around the growing need to acknowledge the systems through which Red Butte Creek is affected by campus activity.

(In)visible T-Shirt, $200

Project manager: Emma Wardle  |  Project advisor: Wendy Wischer

This aspect of the (In)visible project consisted of a walk through campus to raise awareness about Red Butte Creek in which blue t-shirts were given out. When perceived as a group, the students walking together in blue t-shirts gave the impression of a river moving through campus, as Red Butte Creek does. The t-shirts also drew attention to the project, created incentive for students to join, and allowed the project to have a lasting impact by extending the conversation beyond the campus walk.

Air Quality Ambassadors, $735

Project manager: Kimberly Kernan  |  Project advisor: Brenda Bowen

The Air Quality Ambassadors aimed to bring air quality science to K-8 students in demographic populations not typically targeted by other organizations. The ambassadors designed lesson modules that expanded upon the work currently being done by AIRU and BreatheUtah to broaden the scope of education already occurring. Through the modules, they created a hands-on science experience related to Salt Lake Valley’s air pollution and relating it to weather and geography. They also introduced students to the health effects from air pollution and discussed the multiple ways to improve air quality including personal choices and involvement with state and local regulators.

Composting Improvements, $668

Project managers: Amber Henshaw and Myrna Groomer  |  Project advisor: Kathleen Nicoll

The Edible Campus Gardens currently partner with University Dining Services to compost food waste. This group’s 8-bin wire compost system located within the University of Utah’s Pioneer Garden was experiencing numerous operational problems. Therefore, with SCIF funding, students purchased two “Compost Twin” tumblers. Through this project, students were able to reduce campus greenhouse gas emissions and campus landfill waste loads, increase compost operation efficiency, increase soil health profiles and soil reserves for holistic planting within the garden, and increase student opportunities for sustainable community building, volunteering, leadership, and education around the University of Utah’s compost integration.

Earth Week Film Screening, $481

Project manager: Jonathon Kuntz  |  Project advisor: Tasha Myers

For University of Utah’s annual Earth Week, students hosted a screening of the film “How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change”. The film examines the interwoven forces that create climate change and the people globally working against them. Earth Week educates faculty, staff, students, and the public about different ways the university is working toward a more sustainable future. It is important to educate people about Earth Week’s mission so they may change even a small part of their lives to aid environmental efforts.

Park Water Bottle Filling Stations, $1,068

Project manager: Jack Hattaway

The south approach to the Park Building is a high-traffic zone for student pedestrians headed to and from classes on Presidents Circle, campus shuttles, and mass transit. Given the building’s convenient location, a bottle filling station is an excellent student resource. This project purchased and installed water bottle retrofit kits for the basement floor water fountains in the Park building. These water bottle filling stations help to eliminate the dependence on external vendors such as Mount Olympus. They also reduce the need for single-use water bottles and provide a convenient place for students to fill their reusable bottles.

People’s Climate March Performance and Flyers, $420

Project manager: Colin Green  |  Project advisor: Stephen Goldsmith

The Utah People’s Climate March was an event that stood with the worldwide march on April 29, 2017. Two important groups of voices for climate change are youth and native people, so this project set out to get both involved in the Climate March. This grant provided funding for marketing materials that were spread around campus, as well as for a native drum group to perform during the march. Funding for these aspects of the rally demonstrate the university’s understanding of the role that native people and youth play in solving the climate crisis.

Project Youth, $352.15

Project manager: Rena Adair  |  Project advisor: Bryce Williams

Project Youth is an annual event where fifth- and sixth-grade students from Salt Lake County are invited to the university to experience a taste of college life. This year over 1,000 students participated, as well as over 200 university volunteers. Students received a SCIF grant to purchase tumblers and pie tins for the event. These supplies allowed organizers to feed all of the students and volunteers lunch while eliminating a lot of waste. It was a wonderful day made better by students’ ability to help the environment as well.

Reusable Bags at the Feed U Pantry, $1,091.13

Project manager: Nick Knight  |  Project advisor: Shannon Jones

Feed U allows any University of Utah student, staff, or faculty member facing food insecurity to receive free food when they visit the Feed U Pantry. During each visit, plastic bags are provided to clients to collect and carry their food items. Providing these disposable plastic bags to clients causes budgetary strains on the Feed U program, causes an unnecessary waste of materials, as well as uses plastic bags that are not environmentally sustainable. SCIF funded screen-printed reusable bags that would decrease overall program costs, give clients a more sustainable option for carrying pantry food items, and reduce stigma.

Solar Ice Maker, $616

Project manager: Brandon Hammid  |  Project advisor: Kent Udell

Through this project, students designed and developed a solar-powered refrigeration unit that creates ice inside of a cooler. The use of solar and battery power makes the product independent of an electrical grid, and the electrical generation and storage generates no harmful carbon emissions. By assuming 75 hours of annual use by 100,000 units, 680,000 lbs CO2, 900 lbs NOx, and 450 lbs SO2 emissions are eliminated that would be generated during grid powered ice production. Furthermore, the ability to grow ice, and have reliable, grid independent food storage can extend shelf-life of perishable goods, vaccines, and more.

An educational sign on a tree in President's Circle at the University of Utah.

Tree Campus USA Promotions, $225

Project managers: Brianna Milot and Emma Bellan  |  Project advisor: Troy Bennett

Tree Campus, a national designation, recognizes the University of Utah’s dedication to its tree population and to ensuring a sustainable future. The trees on our campus are alive in part simply because people have cared to support them. In an effort to get more students involved in the Tree Campus Organization, this project hired a student to create promotional flyers that were distributed on campus and social media. Promoting Tree Campus will ensure that trees will always be an important part of the University of Utah. 

ADA Accessibility for Pioneer Gardens, $5,527

Project managers: Brianna Milot and Matthew Briggs  |  Project advisor: Jennifer Watt and James Ruff

This project secured ADA access for the Pioneer Garden, which is part of the Edible Campus Gardens, by adding an ADA compliant pathway east to west through the garden. The pathway included a wider semicircle area in the middle for a good turn-around point and extended the sidewalk on the west. This pathway allows access to the central part of the garden, where there will be seven ADA accessible gardening beds. This accessible pathway helps with the inclusion of people with disabilities into specific courses, academic programs, the campus community, and the physical location of the garden itself.

AEB Natural Playground, $10,000

Project managers: Kate Kausch and Rachel Carrillo

Staff in the ASUU Child Care Program created a sustainable outdoor classroom. They added a a flagstone path and retaining wall to their outdoor space, giving children a variety of surfaces to explore, and plant beds to include living plants specifically chosen to engage all of the senses. As a result of this project, children can engage in an all-natural playground and learn sustainability practices that they can take with them throughout their lives. Additionally, the parents are becoming involved in the maintenance of the playground and students can learn best practices for the field of early childhood education.

Centennial Valley Solar, $5,500

Project manager: Matt Angioli  |  Project advisor: Jennifer Watt

In this project, seven solar panels were installed at the Taft-Nicholson Environmental Humanities Center. The addition of solar panels to the center is a great update in energy solutions to protect against power outages and to lessen the impact of the center and the university on the environment. This project also sets a high precedent in green energy use as a research facility for other university satellite facilities and to visiting students alike.

Compost Heat Capture, $3,710

Project manager: Sean Lund  |  Project advisor: Marc Calaf

Students built a compost heat capturer to be used at the Edible Campus Gardens. Compost is a resource that generates thermal energy while providing nutrients and microbial activity to soils. This project helps to solve the thermal energy loss and complexity of use involved in composting. Additionally, this project improves local sustainability by processing organic waste created by U students. At the Mechanical Engineering Design Day, over 100 students visited this project. Additionally, a local community garden was ecstatic about the project and asked students to build another one for their other farm.

Mathematics Bike Racks, $10,779

Project manager: Della Rae Riker

The University of Utah Climate Action Plan and Bicycle Master Plan support an increase in the number of people commuting to campus by bicycle. The increased use of bicycles requires an increase in bike parking. In this project, bike racks were installed on the east end of LeRoy E. Cowles Building on Presidents Circle. Using the campus standard of the Varsity Rack by Ground Control Systems, enough racks were added to store 26 bikes. The Varsity Racks provide stability for the bikes to remain upright. This almost doubled the existing capacity in that area of Presidents Circle.

FASB Dyson airblades, $4,740

Project manager: Lily Wetterlin  |  Project advisor: Brenda Bowen

The Fredrick Sutton Building (FASB) is home to the Department of Geology and Geophysics. In this project, students replaced six of the current enMotion paper towel dispensers in the bathrooms of FASB with six Dyson Airblade V hand dryers. This project not only saves money for FASB and reduces carbon emissions and paper waste, it serves as a stepping stone for buildings all over campus to take initiative in switching to more sustainable products and inspiring future purchases to revolve around sustainability.

Sprouting words, $6,500

Project manager: Sierra Govett  |  Project advisor: Jennifer Weber

Ananya Dance Theatre is the leading creator of contemporary Indian American Dance in the global arts and social justice movement. In “Shyamali, Sprouting Words,” the company draws from the work of women of color, including acclaimed scientist and environmental justice activist Vandana Shiva, to explore how dissent creates resilient and sustainable communities.

In this project, students organized week-long interdisciplinary student intensive, a high school workshop, and a public audience empowerment workshop offered by Ananya Dance Theatre in conjunction with their performance. This project intersected sustainability, social justice, and dance-making to foster a resilient campus community.

ASCE Conference Sustainability, $1,500

Project manager: Jenny Calderon  |  Project advisor: Christine Pomeroy

The American Society of Civil Engineering (ASCE) 2017 Rocky Mountain Regional Student Conference took place April 6-8, 2017. Students incorporating sustainability measures throughout the conference. A service project was arranged at Red Butte Gardens. All printed materials were on recycled paper and name badges were placed in compostable name badge holders. A design competition took place in which students had to create a structure while considering material conservation. Recycling bins were placed at all events, resulting in about twenty 50-gallon bags of recyclable waste. The keynote speaker discussed sustainability extensively, and sustainability was included in conference logos.

EEJMRB water bottle filling stations, $1,500

Project manager: Amanda Mixon  |  Project advisor: Paul Sigala

With SCIF funding and matching funds provided by the departments of Biochemistry and Pathology, students installed water bottle filling stations on each of the five floors of the Emma Eccles Jones Medical Research Building at the School of Medicine. This project supports refillable water bottle use by the 200 students, postdocs, faculty, and staff who work in this building and thus substantially reduce disposable plastic consumption.

Sustainable Tech for DBB, $35,535

Project manager: Julia Warner  |  Project advisor: José Galarza

DesignBuildBLUFF is a 501(c)(3) administered out of the University of Utah that exists to promote applied research in contemporary rural architecture, cultural survival, and appropriate sustainable technology. With SCIF funding, students first installed Solar Photovoltaic Panel System for Cedar Hall, a multiuse space in Bluff. Next, they obtained a Compressed Earth Block Press to create compressed earth blocks, which create a sustainable, affordable, and durable building system. Students hosted a series of workshops to educate about the press. Lastly, students installed a Dense-Pack Fiber Cellulose Hopper, which creates an insulation material composed of 75-85% recycled paper fiber.

Social Equity in Transit, $8,560

Project manager: Torrey Lyons  |  Project advisor: Reid Ewing

Students used a combination of statistical and GIS analysis tools to evaluate regions with respect to social equity provisions by transit. A systematic evaluation was used to create a transit equity index (TEI). Regions’ TEI were then compared to determine how the Utah Transit Authority and our region compare to others throughout the country. This project produced a comprehensive report. It included a literature review, detailed methods, analysis, and results sections with specific conclusions discussing the project’s insight to campus and regional transit management. A research article was also submitted to a leading transportation planning journal.

Another Year in SCIF

Another Year in SCIF

By: Emerson Andrews, SCIF Coordinator.

One more academic year has passed us by, and as people get ready for their summer adventures, now is a good time to reflect on some of the wonderful work that students did this year through the Sustainable Campus Initiative Fund (SCIF). Since the creation of SCIF, the money available for projects has never been fully spent, however, 2017-18 marks a big change as all SCIF funding for this year was allocated to some awesome projects.

The following three projects are a small cross section of all the wonderful work that has happened through student energy and SCIF support this year. For detailed information about all SCIF projects, please stay tuned for the 2017-2018 SCIF Annual Report, which summarizes every project that was funded.

Burned Out – $262.14

  • This grant funded the construction of an interactive sculpture installation that lit up when viewers interacted with it on the second floor of the Marriott Library. This sculpture encouraged people to discuss energy usage, indirectly bringing awareness to carbon dioxide emissions created by power plants which generate electricity by burning fossil fuels. The piece consisted of black structures – evoking industrial facilities – and had handles placed at varying points, which viewers were encouraged to touch. Cranking the handle hard enough caused a certain portion of the sculpture to light up. All four handles must be turned by different people at the same time in order to see the entire piece light up. This piece encouraged people to engage with energy production, and both physically and mentally reflect our current global crisis.

Food Recovery Network Operations Coordinator – $4,953.05  

  • This grant funded the pay and equipment necessary for a Food Recovery Network Coordinator. The coordinator recorded food waste data and gave it to Dining Services so that Dining Services could adjust their production scheduling and eliminate unnecessary waste at pre-production. This data included up-to-date records of inventory and preferred foods for delivery based on student/client preference and acquisition. Additionally, this process provided a larger variety of foods while giving students and clients healthier alternatives to existing dry and canned food options. All of these objectives helped to reduce the amount of edible food waste in the university’s waste stream; recorded hard data with respect to specific aspects of the campus food systems, and provided hungry students with healthy food options.

Sustainable Tech for Design Build Bluff – $35,535.00

  • This grant funded the purchase and acquisition of appropriate sustainable technologies to be used on the Bluff Campus. These technologies increased energy and operations efficiency, specifically through the use of a solar PV array – arrangement of solar panels – on an existing building, and an earth block press and non-toxic insulation machine for future university building projects on the Bluff campus and throughout the region. These are all demonstrable technologies in an area that is a confluence of students and locals — both who could benefit from exposure to, and training in, the workings of these technologies. In addition to their practical applications on a regional scale, these operational improvements bring sustainable outcomes to a U of U remote campus.

These three projects reflect the power of the Sustainable Campus Initiative Fund to approach sustainability from multiple perspectives. SCIF truly allows students to experiment on the living, learning, laboratory that is campus through whichever lens they study. This ability is unique to SCIF and benefits everyone on campus.

For more information regarding SCIF, check out the website and please contact the SCIF Coordinator: Emerson.andrews@utah.edu

RECYCLE GLASS ON CAMPUS

Emerson Andrews, Sustainable Campus Initiative Fund coordinator. Originally posted on Jan. 9 2017. 

Glass recycling has arrived at the University of Utah thanks to the combined efforts of three students, Facilities Management and the Sustainable Campus Initiative Fund, or SCIF.

Fifty bins will be placed in buildings during the beginning of the spring 2017 semester and available for use by students, faculty and staff. At least one glass recycling bin will be placed in all major buildings across campus with a few extra in high-traffic places like the Union and Marriott Library.

While taking Global Changes in Society, a course offered by the Global Change & Sustainability Center, GCSC, three environmental humanitiesgraduate students proposed a glass recycling pilot project. Jennifer Lair, Nicole Cox and Carissa Beckwith wanted to implement an on-campus glass recycling bin program utilizing the Momentum Recycling facility in Salt Lake City.

They took their idea from the classroom straight to Facilities Management and the Sustainable Campus Initiative Fund. Joshua James, the university’s campus recycling coordinator, provided both the support and knowledge to implement glass recycling on campus. He helped students develop a plan that could make glass recycling a continued service with space to grow.

“We had a great opportunity open up with Momentum making a glass recycling facility in town,” James commented.

Once the plan was in place, it was a matter of finding the money to pay for it. The students secured the support of both SCIF and the GCSC to raise the $10,000 necessary for the project. These funds were used to purchase bins, install them on campus and develop a schedule for collection and drop-off. This project illustrates the power of a resource like SCIF in the hands of students.

“The GCSC class provided us with the time, space and support we needed to propose and implement the glass recycling initiative on campus,” Beckwith commented. “SCIF funding was instrumental to kick-starting this project.”

If the bins work well, the glass recycling program will grow in the future. It is important to remember that glass can only be recycled in the glass recycling bins — glass in other recycling bins presents a hazard to custodial staff.

“It’s important to continue to develop the program. But in order to do that, people need to make sure that glass goes into the correct bin.” James continued, “Glass going into the normal recycling stream could cause a lot of problems.”

These bins are only big enough for faculty, students and staff to recycle glass acquired here on campus. If people would like to recycle their glass from home, there are two public drop-off bins: One bin is located by student housing in Fort Douglas, and the other is located just off of Guardsman Way.

“I hope that glass recycling on campus catches on quickly with students, staff and faculty,” Beckwith concluded. “It is an easy action that can provide a huge payoff for the planet!”

 

SEMINAR: GREENLAND ICE SHEET MAY HAVE LARGER THAN EXPECTED IMPACT ON SEA LEVEL

By: Liz Ivkovich, Sustainability Office.

New research suggests that the Greenland Ice Sheet is far less stable than current climate models predict, which could mean those models are severely underestimating potential sea level rise.

The ice sheet contains the equivalent of 24 feet of global sea level rise if it melts.

Joerg Schaefer, a paleoclimatologist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, will present this new finding and why it matters at the GCSC Seminar Series on Jan. 17 from 4–5 p.m. in 210 ASB.

The Greenland Ice Sheet (GIS) is part of Earth’s cryosphere, the frozen water component of our climate system. The cryosphere plays a vital role in regulating planet temperature, sea levels, currents, and storm patterns. Over Earth’s billions of years, elements of the cryosphere have melted and re-frozen. Understanding how these elements have acted in geologic time scales and during prior periods of climate change enables scientists to model how Earth’s systems will react as the climate warms in the future.

Current climate models, including those developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, are based on the assumption that Greenland’s ice sheet had been relatively stable over the past several million years. The stability of the GIS is under debate. If the GIS was frozen in the past when natural ‘forcing’ (causes) warmed the globe, that means it could stay stable despite human-caused global warming. Unfortunately, Schaefer’s research finds direct evidence from bedrock underneath the ice that the GIS is more at risk of melting than scientists expected.

“We came up with the worrisome result that the Greenland Ice Sheet was actually rather dynamic under natural forcing, which basically immediately means our models overestimate stability with respect to ongoing climate change…” Schaefer explained. “[The prior melting] was due to periods of natural forcing. We will overtake this by anthropogenic forcing very soon, and we just don’t have an argument to expect that the Greenland Ice Sheet will not go again.”

A map of the Greenland Ice Sheet. By Eric Gaba, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Schaefer and his Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory Cosmogenic Dating Group’s discovery is the result of groundbreaking direct evidence from rock underneath the ice’s surface. Schaefer said the researchers asked the rock a question: “Have you ever been exposed to open sky?”

The rock Schaefer is referring to is a sample of bedrock from several miles below the ice sheet, obtained in the early 1990s. It took researchers nearly five years to drill out these rocks; the deepest ice core recovered in the world at that time. The sample is so precious that Schaefer and his predecessors didn’t want to work on them until they knew that the research method would produce accurate results. Enter cosmogenic nuclide technique.

Cosmogenic nuclide technique counts the cosmogenic nuclides in the near surface of the rock. These isotopes are produced when extraterrestrial radiation—cosmic rays—trigger a reaction in rock. The reaction produces radioactive beryllium-10 and aluminum-26 isotopes.

“These nuclides are characteristic for cosmic rays, so whenever you measure the nuclides in excess, you know that it’s due to exposure to open sky,” Schaefer explained. “If you measure these nuclides underneath an ice sheet, you know that the ice was gone.”

Schaefer describes these isotopes as sisters that always occur and decay in a specific ratio to each other. Knowing this relationship enables the scientists to count how long the rock was exposed to open sky, and when it was covered again with ice. Though the process is theoretically simple, it is very complicated to measure. It yields an unprecedented direct record of how the ice has melted and refrozen in the past.

The instability of the ice sheet has implications for policy. Translating this, and other climate science research into governance, is what Schaefer calls the “biggest frontier in climate science.”

“Many of the scientific findings are robust and clear, and now the next step is we have to become much better in transferring that into real decisions,” Schaefer said.

Learn more at Schaefer’s lecture, “Ice sheets, glaciers and society: Past and present cryospheric change and its impact on society,” on Jan. 17 at 4 pm in 210 ASB.

Cover Photo: The Greenland Ice Sheet. By Christine Zenino, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.