Freshman present on variety of issues at Learning Community showcase

Many learning community students created posters to display their research. (Photo by Evan Bourtis)

By Evan Bourtis staff writer

On Tuesday Dec. 4, freshman students across all majors presented their research and writing at the annual Learning Community showcase. These presentations aimed to address issues the students explored during their two required learning community courses.

According to English professor and First Year Programs director Jill Swiencicki, more than 200 freshmen participated in the event held at the Athletic Center field house. “The current enrolment of the LC’s is about 550, so I would say that we got close to half of the freshmen to participate, either as attendees or presenters,” Swiencicki said.

Two students in the LC Sustainability and Ecocomposition presented their research on becoming a more energy efficient campus. Alexandra Climek and Brianna Bohler explained explained how switching to all LED lighting and turning off lights when they’re not in use can reduce the college’s energy bill.

“Currently on campus, 60 percent of the bulbs are LED and 40 percent are incandescent. And incandescent bulbs use way more energy and last only like half as long as the LED standard lights,” Climek said. “So we’re trying to make a switch towards all-LED lighting on campus.”

Bohler explained that another important aspect of becoming more energy efficient is making students, faculty, and staff more conscious of their energy use. According to Bohler, Fisher spent $1.1 million on electrical costs from January to September of 2018. In order to reduce that bill, students need to turn off lights and electronics in their dorm when they’re not in use and faculty members need to turn off lights in their classrooms and offices.

Another student who collaborated with classmates to present at the event was David Ware. “We each took a few sections and we got through it together. And it think that was a lot more helpful, because we were able to learn as a group and interact with them,” he explained.

Ware presented on the on the biological and sociological implications of osteoporosis, which included both explaining the cause of osteoporosis and how sociological factors, like access to healthcare, can impact the disease.

One of the teachers of the LC is biology professor Jonathan Millen. Millen likes how the two LC courses, Defying Aging and Sociology of Health and Healing, encourage students to think about issues related to aging form both a biological side and a sociological side.

Millen made it a requirement for his students to present at the event, since he believes it’s important for students to get practice expressing their ideas to other people, including their peers and other professors. “The big opportunity I see here is that all the students should experience the opportunity to simply express their ideas. Even if they express them poorly, they’re getting them out there and there getting practice doing it,” Millen said.

Another group of students presented about the impact of the refugee crisis and human trafficking on America and the Rochester area. During their LC about healthcare and human services, Carlye Rizzo and Emma Cottrell volunteered at two local refugee centers, Mary’s Place and Saint’s Place.

Rizzo and Cottrell also learned about the issue of human trafficking from watching a documentary called Sold. Cottrell explained that human trafficking is an issue in the Rochester area, which she feels like not a lot of people are aware of.

In order to help refugees and survivors of human trafficking, Rizzo and Cottrell explained that more people need to volunteer at and donate to local organizations. Cottrell also explained that it’s important to end the discrimination that refugees and victims of human trafficking face. “A lot of the refugees and survivors of human trafficking face a lot of discrimination. It’s just about spreading awareness and trying to end the stigma of discrimination that these people face,” she said.

Cotrell liked seeing what students from other LCs presented on at the event and said that she learned a lot of attending. “It was a good way to meet new people, learn new things, talk to friends, and share what you’ve learned all semester,” she said.


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