Work with kids in summer sustainability reading program

If you would like to volunteer to read children’s books about sustainability with elementary students in Arlington this summer, please contact Dr. Peggy Semingson (Asst. Prof., Curriculum & Instruction). Students work with small groups of kids to read and write about themes related to sustainability and environment. The program mainly takes place in June. A background check must be completed. Books and resources are provided. Students must provide their own transportation to Arlington locations.

Congratulations to recipients of ACES sustainability awards

The University Sustainability Committee is pleased to announce the winners of this years sustainability awards in the ACES competition:

  • ACES Undergraduate Sustainability Award: Ruben Tovar, “Chemosensory Prey Preference in Neotropical Gastropod-eating Snakes”
  • ACES Graduate Sustainability Award: Mohamm Moghadam, “Infrared Imaging Detection of Oil Slick Heat Signature Patterns”

Douglas Klahr, ACES Sustainability Judging Coordinator and a member of the USC’s Curriculum, Research, and Community Engagement Working Group, commented:

Both of these awards were given for excellent poster presentations that featured not only top-notch graphics, but also text that was accessible to a well-educated general audience while still including disciplinary-specific language when it was absolutely essential to successfully convey the research. Ruben Tovar’s poster explicitly brought in biodiversity as an underlying component of the research, leading one judge to write: ‘Very articulate presentation, clear data. Fits quite well into sustainability.’ Mohamm Moghadam’s poster not only was closely tied to the issue of oil spills but also extremely timely, considering the BP fiasco of last year. One judge wrote: ‘Nice presentation, good preliminary data. Very relevant for sustainability.’ In addition to top-quality posters, both students also were dynamic and engaging presenters, which is part of the judging process, since poster entrants have to be available for 1.5 hours to explain their posters to judge who inquires.

Congratulations, gentlemen.

Honors College study abroad program heads for England

The 2011 Honors Study Abroad Program is accepting applications. Led by Associate Dean Kevin Gustafson (English) and Assistant Dean Tim Henry (Biology), the program runs from May 24th until June 14th in England, with additional classroom instruction at UT Arlington.

All students must enroll in two three-credit courses: ENGL 3300:  Poetry and Place and SCIE 4392: Science, Discovery, and Impact. Dr. Henry’s SCIE 4392 course covers the history of science and industry in England along with the environmental consequences and remediation. It has been approved for credit under the Natural Science and Engineering section of the Environmental and Sustainability Studies curriculum.

The program fee of $2,300 includes hotels, all breakfasts and two dinners, transportation within England, and admission to all program sites; the fee does not include tuition, roundtrip airfare to England, other meals, and spending money. Students in the program are eligible for financial aid, and other scholarship money is available through both the Honors College and the Office of International Education.

For additional information, contact Associate Dean Gustafson or go to the study abroad page on the Honors College website.

Summer environmental courses

The following summer courses have been approved for credit in the Environmental & Sustainability Studies minor. For information on the minor program, see the ESS web page.

Group 1 — Liberal Arts, Social and Cultural Studies
ENGL 1302 Critical Thinking, Reading & Writing II – “Writing Argument, Thinking Green” Section 005 Wallace
Group 2 — Natural Sciences and Engineering
BIOL 2343 Evolution & Ecology 001 Meik
SCIE 4392 Selected Topics in Science — Science: Discovery & Impact Honors study abroad Henry
Group 3 — Architecture and Urban & Public Affairs
ARCH 4395 Selected topics in Architecture — Repurposing Materials in Architecture, Art, and Design TBA Dye
CIRP 4391 Studies in City & Regional Planning — Climate Change and Urban Planning in the North Texas Metroplex TBA Howard

Community Garden at UT Arlington — Construction begins today

Thursday, March 3, 2011                               9:00 am to 4:00 pm

Friday, March 4, 2011                                     9:00 am to 4:00 pm

Saturday, March 5, 2011                                9:00 am to 12:00 pm

406 Summit Avenue (UTA Blvd and Summit)

Volunteers needed!

Citizen volunteer Craig Powell is heading up the construction phase while many other community stakeholders will be helping with photography, sign-in and information, volunteer support, publicity, and donations.  ALL volunteers will be required to sign a participant release form.

The focus for our construction days is planting bed assembly, placement and filling of 16 ft x 4 ft. cedar plots.  Portable Drill/Drivers will be a big help in moving the construction along quickly, so if you have a drill/driver please bring it.  Since we are working with rough cedar lumber, gloves will be very important, so please bring a pair with you.

Some considerations for construction day:

ü  Protect your eyes, hands and feet. Please bring safety glasses and gloves if you have them. Wear sturdy shoes, comfortable cloths and a hat.

ü  No open-toed shoes on the garden campus through construction

ü  Power will be available from the Sweet Center. Please bring extension cords and power strips for charging portable drills.

ü  We will organize into teams for construction of the beds, numbering, cutting and placing cardboard in the beds and filling the beds.

ü  We will need an array of tools; portable drills for pilot holes and screwing corner brackets together, shovels and rakes for filling beds. The City is providing box cutters. The University is cutting the 8 foot end pieces for us so we should not have a need for extensive use of skill saws.

ü  Please make sure your tools are marked with your name to avoid confusion.

ü  Hydrate often during the day.  This is going to be a physically demanding time, so we will have plenty of water on site.

UTA is providing coffee and some refreshments, so come prepared to work hard and meet some new people that you may end up gardening with.

Thank you in advance for your contributions and the great results we will see over the next three days!

Bill Gilmore, Assistant Director of Parks and Recreation

717 W Main Street, Arlington, TX  76013-1855, 817-459-5499

Sustainability Across the Curriculum, March 23

Please join us for the second annual

“Sustainability Across the Curriculum” ACES Symposium

Wednesday March 23, 2011

9:00am – 12:00pm

100 Nedderman Hall

Faculty, graduate students, undergraduate students, and UTA’s Sustainability Director will engage in lively discussions about how sustainability is shaping academic research,  curriculum and pedagogy,  architectural and urban design, public policy, university policies, and everyday life.   Questions, comments, and ideas from the audience are welcome—please come and join the discussion!  Faculty, staff, graduate students, undergraduates, and community members are welcome.  The event is free and a light breakfast will be served.

Topics include:

  • Sustainability in the Real World:  An Interdisciplinary Praxis

Do environmental and sustainability studies require interdisciplinary research? How does academic research on sustainability and environment translate into the practices of everyday life?

  • Paradigm Shifts: Policy, Research, Curriculum, and Pedagogy

How do sustainability policies affect curricula in such fields as engineering, architecture, and urban planning?  What can service learning, site-based learning, and other pedagogies contribute to sustainability and environmental studies?

  • Environmental Movements to Sustainability Policy, Procedure, and Regulation:  The Challenge of Translating Vision into Institutional Practice

What happens when social and political movements become a matter of policy and procedure? How does institutionalization affect the  principles, ideals, and outcomes of sustainability models?

Full schedule available here

Undergraduate Students:  Check out the exciting new interdisciplinary minor in Environmental and Sustainability Studies!  The minor is designed to combine with most majors on campus.  See the ESS Minor web page.

Many thanks to our sponsors: The Office of Graduate Studies, the Provost’s Office, the School of Urban and Public Affairs, the Honors College, and the Curriculum, Research, and Community Engagement Committee of the University Sustainability Committee.


Stacy Alaimo is a Professor of English and a Distinguished Teaching Professor.  She has served as the academic co-chair of the University Sustainability Committee since 2009.  She has published widely in the environmental humanities and science studies, on such topics as ecocultural theory, gender and environment, environmental literature and film,  environmental art and architecture, and green science studies.  Her book, Bodily Natures: Science, Environment, and the Material Self, was just released.

Wanda Dye joined the University of Texas Arlington School of Architecture in 2007 where she developed the AIA award-winning seminar “The Everyday City.” Her teaching and research explore problems of sameness, non-place and lack of community within the everyday landscape, particularly generic, pastiche, and prototypical designs.  She believes the built landscapes of public space should be approached in a more pluralistic manner – from multiple social,cultural, political, and environmental perspectives.

Jeff Howard is an assistant professor in the School of Urban and Public Affairs. His research focuses on the problematic role of technical and scientific experts in democratic environmental and sustainability policy making, especially in the contexts of climate change and industrial chemistry. He has been active in UT Arlington sustainability affairs, including the new Minor Program in Environmental & Sustainability Studies.  His doctorate and master’s degrees are from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Andrew Hunt is an Assistant Professor of  Earth & Environmental Sciences, specializing in environmental health, environmental geochemistry, inhalation toxicity, pediatric asthma, and automated electron microscopy.

Born in Manhattan, Douglas Klahr has a Ph.D. in Architectural History from Brown University.  His research is split between issues of regional and national identity in 19th-century German architecture and urgent contemporary issues such as sustainability and slum housing in the developing world.  He has delivered papers at conferences in Washington, London, Paris, Berlin, Glasgow, Miami, Dallas and San Diego.  Upcoming publications include the opening chapter of the textbook Teaching Sustainability and Teaching Sustainably.

Joslyn Krismer is the chair of the Annual Celebration of Excellence by Students (ACES) research symposium and is the Assistant Director of Graduate Student Services in the Office of Graduate Studies. In her position in the Office of Graduate Studies, Ms. Krismer develops and leads new initiatives aimed at improving graduate student retention and completion at UT Arlington. She also serves as a member of the GradFest and Lone Star Diversity Colloquium planning committees and is a member of the University-Wide Committee on Higher Order Thinking and Active Learning.

Laura Mydlarz is an assistant professor in the Biology department at The University of Texas at Arlington. She conducted her PhD at The University of California, Santa Barbara and her post-doctoral training at Cornell University. Her research program investigates how temperature stress, like that associated with climate change, affects host-pathogen interactions in coral reef ecosystems. Her research is conducted on reef-building coral species from the Florida Keys and the Caribbean and she has funding for a large collaborative project in Puerto Rico.

Christopher Morris is an associate professor in the history department, where he teaches courses in environmental history. He has been an active participant in efforts to expand environmental and sustainability content in the UTA curriculum. His own research explores the environmental history of the U.S. South, and of rivers and wetlands globally. He has published a comparative history of agriculture and sustainability in the Mississippi, Senegal, Kaveri, and Pearl River deltas. His book, The Big Muddy: An Environmental History of the Mississippi and Its Peoples, from Hernando de Soto to Hurricane Katrina, will be published by Oxford University Press next year.

Chelsea Roff is a senior Honors student and LSAMP research scholar completing her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology. In 2008, Chelsea helped found UT Arlington’s Environmental Society and served as the organization’s president for two consecutive years. During her term, she organized UTA’s first ever National Teach-in, which brought together local government officials, business leaders, civic organizations, faculty members, and students for an interactive dialogue on global climate change. After graduation, Chelsea hopes to spend some time doing service work abroad before pursuing her graduate education.

Melanie Sattler is an Associate Professor in Civil Engineering at the University of Texas at Arlington. She is currently PI on a National Science Foundation grant that involves incorporating sustainability into the UT Arlington undergraduate curriculum in Civil, Industrial, and Mechanical Engineering. She has also begun incorporating environmental service learning projects into her graduate classes. Her research interests include energy production from wastes and air pollution emissions measurement, modeling, and control technologies.

David Smith is a doctoral student in the Transatlantic History program at the University of Texas at Arlington, and his dissertation focuses on the relationship between nuclear energy, antinuclear movements, and the emergence of environmental politics in the Atlantic world.  David is a graduate of both the University of Oklahoma and Villanova University. He has nearly ten years of development experience working for environmental and nonprofit organizations.  David currently works for the University of Dallas.

Meghna Tare is the Director of Sustainability for UT Arlington. Prior to moving to UTA, she was an Environmental Manager with the City of Dallas, Office of Environmental Quality (Mar 2007-Dec 2009) where she worked on a variety of environmental projects related to Climate Change and air quality, Green Buildings, Energy Efficiency and Outreach, Community Gardens, Green Collar Job Program, Environmental Management Systems, etc.  Meghna has experience working with various public and private agencies like Environmental Protection Agency, North Central Texas Council of Governments, Dallas Chamber of Commerce, SMU, DCCCD, etc.  Meghna has also taught Environmental Studies at the California State University at Hayward and the Collin County Community College. She has experienced working with nonprofit organization like Union of Concerned Scientists and Conservation Science Institute.  As an advocate of sustainability, she hopes to continue and extend UT Arlington’s efforts in creating a connection for students that fosters their professional aspirations in sustainability. Through her career and living in one of the greenest cities in the nation, she has learned how important “Sustainability” is to the environment and does her best to influence everyone she works with to implement the small changes that make a difference.  Meghna is a graduate of San Jose State University with a degree in Environmental Studies.

Shirley Theriot is currently the Director of the Center for Community Service Learning.  Dr. Theriot is a past president of the National Association of Professors of Middle Level Education.  She currently serves on the membership committee of the International Association for Research in Service-learning and Community Engagement, executive committee of Gulf-South Summit on Service Learning and Community Engagement, a Board Member of H.O.P.E Tutoring, chair of the DFW Service Learning Intercollegiate Council, the Texas IB Schools Regional Conference, and a mentor in the American Corporate Partners Program for veterans.  She has published various research articles on service learning.

David Wallace is a doctoral student in the English Department at UTA in the final year of his degree.  He is currently writing his dissertation, _Mapping Man_, about masculinity, environment, and the cartography of the male  body. As an Graduate Teaching Assistant, David teaches two courses, “Writing Argument, Thinking Green” and “Fight Clubs and Cannibals: Masculinity on Page and Screen,” which satisfy requirements for UTA’s new minor in Environmental and Sustainability Studies.  He is  a guest lecturer for the inaugural Environmental and Sustainability Studies lecture series and currently has an article, “The Real, The Wild, and Rambo: Militarizing the Non-Human in Eco-Masculinist Wilderness Films,” under review with the _Journal of Popular Film and Television_.

The event was organized by Stacy Alaimo (English), Wanda Dye (Architecture),  Joslyn Krismer (Office of Graduate Studies), Antoinette Nelson (Library), Chris Morris (History), Shirley Theriot (Director of the Center for Community Service Learning), and David Wallace (English).

A look inside Arlington’s community: bicycles, gardens, and business as usual

Arlington is not what it appears to be at first glance. On the  outside, it’s a city of sprawling strip malls with large roadways  connecting cars to the larger DFW metroplex. On the inside, it’s a city  of beautiful and well-established neighborhoods, friendly local  businesses, and a diverse and growing activist community.

Arlington is infamously known as the largest city in the U.S. without  public transportation, making personal vehicle transportation nearly  inevitable. UT Arlington reached a record enrollment of almost 33,000 students this year, defining Arlington a college town in principle but not in practice. Almost 35% of its population is under the age of 25, yet it’s  quintessentially a commuter city with a large proportion of the  University population opting to live in neighboring cities. However, a  growing number of concerned citizens, community activists, business  owners and students are working hard to change Arlington from the inside  out.

Bike Friendly Arlington (BFA) is a group of cyclists organized to promote bicycle and  pedestrian infrastructure within the city. The group is composed of  people from a diverse background, including UTA students and local business employees. The group is modeled after Bike  Friendly groups started in Oak Cliff, Denton, Fort Worth, Dallas, and  Bedford, and others sprouting up all over  the metroplex. So far, BFA has been successful in supporting the Bike & Hike Master Plan and the Thoroughfare Development Plan, which will function over a 30 year time scale to delineate  bike lanes and implement and/or refurbish sidewalks along some of  Arlington’s lesser-congested roadways.

BFA has also been successful in incorporating businesses into the cause. Downtown Arlington establishments, such as Maverick’s Bar on Main Street, have served as meet-up spots for the group. Potager Café and Health & Harmony House have hung BFA signs at  their establishments and even offered a discount to bikers to show their support. These establishments, among  others, have seen their weekend business triple because  of the popular bicycle “pub rolls”, which have attracted over 35 riders,  including cyclists from Fort Worth and Dallas. The group, which has  grown since its creation a year ago, will convene to show their support  for the Bike & Hike Master Plan at the City Council Hearing on March 22, 2011, and are expecting a record number of supporters.

Arlington’s citizens and UTA students are also organizing around gardens and the Downtown Arlington Farmer’s Market.  Chowgene Koay, the President of the UTA Environmental Society, has been  volunteering at the Farmer’s Market introducing interested passers-by in  his personally engineered aquaponics systems, which he builds at no  charge from re-purposed materials. His dedication to the Environmental Society,  which is rooted in his vision of an ideal community, is indispensable to Arlington’s growth as a sustainable city. He has brought students,  residents, and business owners together by freely discussing his  passions and ideas about permaculture design, aquaponics, and community  sustainability and has found that many people excitedly share his  vision. The Environmental Society has held garden installation potlucks  and has been working to propose a Green Fund initiative to the Student Council in order to fund student-led projects in sustainability.

Another initiative that has gotten a lot of positive attention is the establishment of the City of Arlington community garden, which will be built by Parks and Recreation officials and University volunteers this Thursday, March 3rd through Saturday, March 5th.  Many of the same people involved in the bicycle movement and in UTA’s  Environmental Society will be lending a hand. The community garden will  serve as yet another place for Arlington’s citizens to come together  with ideas for a brighter future. Arlington is not exactly what it  appears to be at first glance. The city has a lot of heart on the inside  and its citizens are working hard everyday to show its true self to the world  outside.

Summer grad/undergrad course: Climate change and urban planning

Climate Change and Urban Planning in the North Texas Metroplex

CIRP 5332 — Project Studio
CIRP 4391 — Studies in City & Regional Planning
June 6 – August 16

Graduate students and selected advanced undergraduate students in this innovative studio course will engage in a research program examining how urban planners and cities in North Central Texas are addressing the complex challenges of climate change.

This course qualifies for credit in the Environmental and Sustainability Studies minor.

Contact Dr. Jeff Howard, School of Urban & Public Affairs