Bottled water bans: Is boxed water the industry’s answer?

The Town of Concord, MA’s website states: “It shall be unlawful to sell non-sparkling, unflavored drinking water in single-serving polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles of 1 liter (34 ounces) or less in the Town of Concord on or after January 1, 2013.” Almost one month into the ban, the Boston Globe reports that many stores have followed [...]

Beverages: What we are purchasing is changing, but what are the implications?

According to a recent report on by The Wall Street Journal, American’s beverage purchasing patterns have been changing. Soda, juice, milk, beer, and powdered drink (e.g. instant breakfasts, iced teas, chocolate mixes, and protein shakes) sales have all declined since 2001. Interestingly, bottled water purchases have increased from about 17 gallons to 26 gallons [...]

Communicating scholarly endeavors

James Duderstadt, President Emeritus of University of Michigan, is reshaping higher education.  He has written and spoken about a university as a social institution with social responsibility as described in his book entitled A University for the 21st Century published by the University of Michigan Press in 2000.

Social responsibility is especially important for a land grant university like Virginia Tech. One of the ways in which a univerity can exercise its social responsibility is through sharing the research and scholarly endeavors of the faculty and the students, especially graduate students.  The “open access” movement is a possibility for sharing university’s research but I’ll save that discussion for another blog.  Instead, I wish to reflect about the ways in which a research land grant university like Virginia Tech can meet its responsibility to share the results of research.

As faculty and graduate students we have historically been educated and trained to communicate our research/scholarship to those within our discipline primarily.  We learn how to prepare powerpoint or keynote presentations.  We prepare posters and practice our 15 minute research presentations.  We practice reading and sharing our scholarly endeavors through other media.  But we have not typically been provided with opportunites to learn and therefore we are not as skilled in communicating our scholarship to others outside our discipline and especially not to the public in general.

Enter actor Alan Alda and “communicating science”.   On the occasion of the annual meeting of the Council of Graduate Schools in 2010, attendees had the opportunity to learn about and experience the Communicating Science initiative offered through the center at Stony Brook University.  Many of us were in agreement that the initiative is a powerful program that helps “scientists” and scholars to develop communication skills.

Realizing the importance of this work, Virginia Tech has embraced “communicating science” and initiated a program here.  Within the context of the Transformative Graduate Education (TGE) initiative of the VT Graduate School, Professor Patty Raun from the Theatre Department has offered sessions within GRAD 5104 Preparing the Future Professoriate graduate course and has established a new graduate course on Communicating Science.  Through this program and others we will engage VT graduate students with the social responsibility of the university to communicate science.


Water issues and the New Zealand’s dairy industry – a student’s perspective.

Georgianna Mann, a graduate student in Food Science and Technology and student affiliated with the Water INTERface, travelled to New Zealand to investigate the issues of water availability and quality on the New Zealand dairy industry.  She spoke with farmers, a dairy cooperative, and dairy representatives at the New Zealand Field Days, the largest agribusiness [...]

TEDx talk by Dr. Peter Vikesland!

  Dr. Peter Vikesland gave a TEDx symposium organized at Virginia Tech, on November 10, 2012. The theme for this TEDx event was ”Knowing”. Dr. Vikesland talked about how nanotechnology can help to address the grand challenges in the imminent global water scarcity. Dr. Vikesland is the Director of the VT-SuN IGEP and was among the twenty … Continue reading

VT-SuN at the first Sustainable Nanotechnology Organization (SNO) Conference (2012)

VT-SuN Hokies represented Virginia Tech at the first Sustainable Nanotechnology Conference (SNO), held at Arlington,  VA (November 4 – 6, 2012)   Andrea Tiwari presented a poster titled “Oxidation of C60 by Ozone”. She discussed her studies on the rapid oxidation of C60 by atmospherically relevant concentrations of ozone and … Continue reading

University of Vermont students get a ban on selling of bottled water.

The students spoke and were heard. As of July 1st the University of Vermont (UVM) will no longer sell bottled water and offer more healthy options at vending machines campus-wide, according to a recent report. This will make UVM one of the first institutions in the nation to enact such a policy. Over the past four years, [...]

Brief reflection of GRAD 5134 from Fall ’12

Happy Holidays everyone! Check out this photo Dr. Davy recently posted over on our Facebook page. Brings back good memories of the Water INTERface Interdisciplinary Research class (i.e. GRAD 5134). This course was by far the best practical experience we could have had in cross-disciplinary research activities; we all worked hard and learned more about each other [...]