Category: Sustainability

Undergraduate Departmental Awards Announced

The undergraduate committee of the Department of Social Sciences is pleased to announce the recipients of this year’s departmental awards. Thanks to all who nominated students and provided letters of support. Congratulations to this year’s winners:

Outstanding Senior: Tim Stone
The Department of Social Sciences Outstanding Senior Award recognizes outstanding undergraduate achievement in accomplishments in academics, research, leadership, and/or service.

Undergraduate Research: Alannah Woodring, Madelina Dilisi
The Undergraduate Thesis or Research Awards recognizes one Social Sciences graduating senior and one junior for their exemplary research, as evidenced in an undergraduate thesis, original research, or creative project under the guidance of department faculty members or other mentors. The awardees are recognized for research that is original and substantive given the standards of the discipline.

Community-Based Research: Kat Dvorak, Savannah Obert-Pfeiffer
The Community-Based Research Prize recognizes a Social Science student who is actively engaged in community-based research, a pillar of the department’s mission. The prize honor’s the student’s efforts to enhance community capacity, build relationships, and/or support community participation in research. 

On the Road

Shan Zhou (SS) presented her paper “The Interplay between Renewable Portfolio Standard and Voluntary Green Power Market in the United States” in the session “Determinants and Challenges of Environmental Policy” at the the 78th Annual Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA) Conference, which was held virtually April 14-18.

This paper evaluates the efficacy of utility-based voluntary green power programs implemented in conjunction with government-led (mandatory) renewable energy policies.

2021 Undergraduate Research Symposium

Congratulations to all four of the Social Science majors who presented their work in this year’s Undergraduate Research Symposium!

Brooke Batterson (History) “Analysis of the Labor Market & Landscape of 1900 Lake Linden French Canadians”

Tim Stone (Sustainability Science and Society): “The Daily Spaces and Environmental Hazards for Youth in the Industrial City”

Alannah Woodring (Sustainability Science and Society): “What Are the Best Practices to Integrate Therapy Gardens into Programs Servings At Risk Populations?”

Ava Miller (Sustainability Science and Society): “Community Response to Renewable Energy Project Siting: A Case Study in L’Anse, MI”

And special congratulations to Ava Miller whose project tied for the second place award as “best undergraduate presentation” among all undergraduate presentations! 

Photo Essay: Celebrating Food in the Keweenaw

In collaboration with a class taught by Angie Carter (SS), the Western Upper Peninsula Food Systems Collaborative (WUPFSC) kicked off the Western UP Food Stories Photo Contest last fall.

The students in the course — Communities and Research SS4700 — reached out to local growers, enthusiasts, and anyone who eats to share what local foods in the Keweenaw means to them. Since a picture is worth 1,000 words, they encouraged community members to share their experiences in a visual format.

The course, which is based on transdisciplinary research methods, supports students in creating studies driven by needs identified from community members to ensure that their research would directly serve and empower the community.

The class gathered all the photos on Flickr and some of the winning images are gathered on the University research blog, Unscripted. Check them out at mtu.edu/unscripted . (By Allison Mills, University Marketing and Communications)

In Print

Chelsea Schelly (SS) along with Emily Prehoda (EEP PhD Grad) and colleagues from The Nature Conservancy (Jessica Price) and Defenders of Wildlife (Aimee Delach and Rupak Thapaliya), have published “Ratepayer Perspectives on Mid- to Large-Scale Solar Development on Long Island, NY: Lessons for Reducing Siting Conflict through Supported Development Types” in Energies.

New Community Effort Grows and Shares Fresh Food in the Western UP

by Angie Carter, Social Sciences

Growing from the Heart is a new grassroots initiative working to increase access to fresh, local, and nourishing food in Western UP communities this summer. Individual gardeners, groups, and organizations may sign up to be partners in this collective effort by growing food, making land available for food growing, or being a site for food redistribution.

“This program is a beautiful way to share good energy with our community as we grow things from the heart and put that energy into that good food,” explained Kathleen Smith, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) enrolled member, Habitat Specialist at KBIC Natural Resources Department, and Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College Board Member.

The Down to Earth Gardening Collective, a new food growing movement started by Michigan Tech students, believes that because food is a basic human need, the commodification and privatization of food leads to the commodification of human life. It  hopes to challenge that notion and create a more communal food system by pooling our land, labor and love.

Information about how to sign up to grow and share food, or how to sign up to be a site for food redistribution, can be found on the Western UP Food Systems Council website. The Western UP Food Systems Council is a regional initiative supporting strengthened food systems in our region. We invite community members and organizations to join in this work of reconnection to our food, one another, and our home. As we grow and redistribute food, we work together toward food sovereignty for all. Questions can be emailed to wupfoodsystems@gmail.com.