Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Long Awaited CEAP Poster Session Post

The first blog post from Scott this year.
I wanted to debrief the happenings of the CEAP poster session that occurred last Dec. 3rd.

First of all, a little introduction to CEAP: CEAP (pronounced "seep") stands for the Calvin Environmental Assessment Program. Bi-yearly students and cooperating teachers collect data from environmental studies they've done around Calvin and the surrounding community. The studies are then published on posters and displayed in the Science Building for an event called the poster session.

This years poster session was kicked off with a lecture given by Prof. Keith Grasman. His speech, entitled, "Canaries in the Coal Mine: Lessons from Fish-Eating Birds about Pollution in the Great Lakes," described the many ways bird populations of the Great Lakes have been afflicted in the past decades. Chemical scares from DDT and PCB's have caused population depletion and reproductive problems in certain bird species. Although actions have been taken to reduce these chemicals and revive the bird populations, various other chemical pollutants still plague the Great Lakes. Prof. Grasman enumerated the problems bird populations face today and hypothesized several solutions. He also described some of the work he and his classes had personally done in this field of study. The speech was an hour long and very informative, accompanied by a detailed slideshow.

The poster session was next. A problem was suddenly presented for me though. The cookies and coffee the Catering Service had promised were not set up, and there were ten minutes remaining before people crowded into the Science Building Atrium for the poster session. I had to take drastic action. I ran up the stairs to the 2nd floor scanning up and down the hallways for any sign of the cookie and coffee cart. There was nothing in sight. So I briskly walked out the door and peered across Commons lawn for any movement. Nothing. It was over. There was no cart. There would be no cookies and coffee. Just when all hope seemed lost, I walked downstairs to find two nice students with gold Calvin College Catering name-tags setting up tables and refreshments. I was saved. With the refreshments set up, the poster session could go on.

At the poster session, over a dozen students presented on subjects ranging from the architectural development of the business districts on Wealthy and Cherry street to the energy consumption of Calvin College campus facilities. Spectators could wander around from poster to poster, asking questions, listening to the students talk, or just reading the posters. The posters were colorful and informative and the presenters were enthusiastic about their material.

Overall the poster session was great. I hope to advertise a bit better this coming semester to attract a larger audience. But I look forward to working on it again.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Joy in the Business of the Season

Looking at the weather forecast today, I was a little sad to know that this beautiful sunny day might be the last fall day of this year. Pretty soon, with all of the snow coming in, the view outside my window will look like the beside picture (taken winter of my freshman year).

Yet, in an unexplainable way, I was excited to see snow this Monday for the first time since last April. Perhaps, the end of fall is here for a new beginning of winter season. And perhaps, this time in between Thanksgiving and Christmas is not just the final stressful end for us, but a hopeful beginning of what we can do better next time. As often as we feel down by the darkness of a cold winter, we are often discouraged and worn out by the business of the pre-Christmas season. With all the things that need to be done before Christmas such as final exams or work projects, Christmas shopping, etc…, we are worn down and thus forget how meaningful this time of year is.

At least we know that the meaning is there if we just take a moment to look. There will be snow and winter breeze even when we are burdened by study, work or other responsibilities, if only we would spend one moment to find joy in such beauty. In the same way, when we are troubled by life, we find others that care for us enough to bring peace into our lives again. May we learn to not be isolated by the coldness of winter and the business of our lives, but may we be lightened up by the freshness of cold air and be joyful for such loving gifts we are to one another.