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PSU Earth Day a hit with students, residents

April 23rd, 2014 by Michael


    PLYMOUTH — Whether it was the Environmental Fair in front of the Hartman Union Building or just down the road at the its EcoHouse, Plymouth State University was a hot spot for Earth Day activities.

    Earth Day, celebrated Tuesday, has become an annual event to have a number of off-campus and on-campus environmental organizations set up shop and interact with students, faculty and others interested in their initiatives. The fair was set up by Common Ground, which is PSU’s environmental and social justice student organization.

    It included a variety of environmentally-based displays from organizations including Squam Lakes Natural Science Center, New Hampshire Electric Cooperative, Plymouth Conservation Commission, Plymouth Area Renewable Energy Initiative, Squam Lakes Association and KTM Auto, who brought vegetable oil-powered vehicles for display. PSU’s organizations included the Science Society, Center for the Environment, Office for Environmental Sustainability, Center for Rural Partnerships, Physical Plant, which focused on energy conservation and recycling, Sodexo, which is the university’s dining services, and Common Ground.

    The free event went on throughout the day, beginning at 10 a.m. and ending around 2 p.m. Only a few raindrops fell throughout what was an otherwise beautiful day on campus, which was fortunate for the Office of Environmental Sustainability, who were using solar power to make smoothies for people walking by.

    Lindsey Bandoian, a junior at PSU and a member of the Office for Environmental Sustainability, explained that her group created a solar power module. The parts were from theinverterstore.com, and Bandoian explained that it was made with a basic 60 watt panel that gets its energy from the sun. It also included an inverter that translates the electric current from DC to AC power, and a charge controller that tells the amount of amps and voltage received from the sun.

    Because it will not receive as much power on cloudy days, Bandoian said, it has a backup battery charge.

    Bandoian said that the Office for Environmental Sustainability will be setting up the smoothie station at Earth Jam on Saturday, but that this is a brand new endeavor. She said that it took most of a Saturday, with the help of PAREI, to build the module.

    “About a month ago, we really tried to brainstorm ideas for Earth Day,” Bandoian said. “The majority of times we try to take part in events like Recycle Mania, which is a competition between other colleges to see who recycles the most. This was a hands-on project. It went well.”

    Betsy Ayotte of the Center for Environment explained that the center promotes environmental research and outreach throughout the Lakes Region and northern New Hampshire. At the fair, they were taking Earth Day pledges, where they asked people to write down a pledge on a construction paper leaf and put it up on a tree with others.

    “We are all at different places in terms of what we do for the environment,” Ayotte said. “It’s been a little variety from just starting to recycle to putting solar in their home.”

    Ayotte felt that in recent years, people seem to be paying much more attention to the environment, but added that there are extra challenges. She said that PSU has been working hard to try to move in environmentally-green directions, including being a water bottle-less campus.

    Kevin Maass, the owner of KTM Auto in Plymouth, brought three diesel vehicles to the fair that used a waste vegetable oil fuel system. He explained that they are originally diesel vehicles that have been converted to run on frialator grease.

    It is a duel fuel system, so the original diesel tank, fuel filter and diesel fuel system is in the car and parallel to it is a heated vegetable oil system. He explained that the filter, tank and line is heated so it can be used four seasons. The vehicle is primarily started and shut down on the diesel, and after the vehicle warms up, it can be flipped over to frialator grease. He said that anytime the grease temperature is in the 60s or 70s, there is no reason to purge and it can just start right up.

    The vehicle retains the same fuel mileage it had before the conversion, he said.

    “The 15 gallon fuel tank in the back is 750 miles of frialator grease for free,” Maass said.

    Maass explained that the diesel engine was originally created to run on frialator grease, created by Rudolf Diesel. He said that Diesel believed that all farmers should be able to grow their own fuel and that a farmer from North Dakota shouldn’t be getting oil from another location. In 1912, he told the United States that they could avoid foreign oil dependencies through this practice, but it was not accepted.

    Then, in 2004, Maass bought an $800 Volkswagen Diesel and bought 5 gallons of brand new corn oil off the shelf.

    “I proceeded to go right into the parking lot and pour it in my car,” Maass said. “There was an old man next to me with a World War II hat on. He asked me what the hell I was doing, and I told him I was putting frialator grease in my car because I was going to drive home. He said, ‘Is it a diesel?’ I told him yeah, and he said ‘Oh, neat!’ It was totally accepted by this 80-year-old man in the Shop and Save Parking lot, and I proceeded to drive home without doing anything to the vehicle, and it drove on grease.”

    The rest was history for Maass, and he said that he has converted more than 70 vehicles locally and beyond.

    Down the road, at the EcoHouse, Common Ground President Sam Durfee was working on building a greenhouse from an existing shed that will have hundreds of plants. Since Friday, they used materials from D Acres in Dorchester, as well as Re-Store in Holderness.

    He called the EcoHouse a “living laboratory” that has kicked off in the past several years. Adjunct Professor Steve Whitman started a class called Permaculture Design, which sparked people’s interests. It is organized by Whitman and Brian Eisenhauer.

    The EcoHouse is home to nine students from a variety of majors, according to Whitman. He explained that the university started it in 2008 as a residential, experimental location on campus.

    “Most of the projects done here have been designed and built here by students,” Whitman said. “Whatever people’s level of interest is, they are welcome to explore.”

    PSU honors 51 Phi Kappa Phi inductees

    April 18th, 2014 by Michael

      PLYMOUTH — At an April 13 ceremony honoring the “best of the best,” Plymouth State University inducted 51 students into Phi Kappa Phi (PKP), the nation’s oldest, largest, and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines. The students are all at the top of their respective majors in grade average, according to PKP advisor Dr. Annette Holba.

      “Our inductees have made great achievements with their academic studies and their commitment to the institution,” Holba said. “They are all exceptional — they are top, top students.”

      PSU President Sara Jayne Steen, herself a PKP member, noted there are more than a million members of Phi Kappa Phi with an impressive list of achievements.

      “Phi Kappa Phi is an extraordinary organization,” Steen said. “Phi Kappa Phi members have served in the White House, in Congress, and on the Supreme Court; they’ve won Nobel and Pulitzer prizes and many other national and international awards. Students, we are so proud of you. This is an honor you carry forward with you.”

      Keynote speaker Dr. Mark Fischler, chair of PSU’s Criminal Justice department and 2013 PKP Faculty inductee, urged the inductees to commit to a lifelong pursuit of knowledge and self-examination to help humanity. He said three lessons he has learned will help them achieve a deeper and more meaningful existence.

      “Happiness doesn’t come from things; it’s important to cultivate love and gratitude in your life; and always give 100 percent,” said Fischler. “You are here to begin the journey of learning of who you really are, because if you are grounded then you won’t be swayed by public opinion and fads about what one ought to do — you’ll already know and understand your place. The world doesn’t need another brick in the walls; it needs thoughtful, aware beings like you.”

      Phi Kappa Phi’s mission is “To recognize and promote academic excellence in all fields of higher education and to engage the community of scholars in service to others.”

      PSU Professor Dr. Clarissa Uttley, Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Studies, was the 2014 Phi Kappa Phi Faculty inductee.

      Otter Valley grad honored as women’s advocate

      April 17th, 2014 by Michael

        By Bruce Edwards
        BRANDON – Tegan Donnelly never considered herself outspoken. But that changed during her junior year at Plymouth State University when she took up the cause of women’s issues.

        Her advocacy on the part of women didn’t go unnoticed by the school, which honored Donnelly this month with its annual Powerful Outstanding Women’s Advocate award.

        “It was actually a great surprise,” said Donnelly, a 2010 graduate of Otter Valley Union High School. “I didn’t realize that it was an award at all until my boss told me and then I went to the ceremony and didn’t realize how much of an honor it was.”

        In her remarks, PSU President Sara Jayne Steen said Donnelly “has been one to stand up for women, to speak out against sexism and misogyny and to help educate people on women’s issues, and she has done so with tact and respect.”

        Donnelly is currently a legislative intern at Planned Parenthood of Northern New England and a volunteer at NARAL Pro-Choice in Concord, N.H.

        Donnelly said she became passionately involved in women’s issues after returning last year from the National Young Feminists Leadership Conference in Washington.

        Angela Ricciardi, a tutor coordinator and a member of the college’s Women’s Studies Council, was one of four people who nominated Donnelly for the award.

        Ricciardi said Donnelly exhibited an unwavering commitment to promoting issues important to women.

        “She genuinely cares about women’s issues in the classroom and outside,” Ricciardi said. “She’s not afraid to have uncomfortable conversations, but she’s very tactful, very respectful of other people’s beliefs.”

        She said for Donnelly to have those qualities is “pretty rare for someone her age.”

        There are a number of issues of concern to women, including equal pay for equal work.

        “I think if I do the same task as a man, if I have the same experience as a man, I should be paid just the same,” Donnelly said. “Why should my reproductive organs keep me from that.”

        Donnelly will graduate next month with a bachelor’s degree in history with a double minor in women’s studies and creative writing.

        After graduation, she’ll continue her work promoting women’s issues as the volunteer coordinator for NARAL Pro-Choice New Hampshire.

        Donnelly’s guardians are Beth and Tim Rand of Brandon.

        bruce.edwards @rutlandherald.com.

        PSU Symphonic Band concert features American music

        April 17th, 2014 by Michael

          Hundreds take part in Circle Trot

          April 17th, 2014 by Michael

            Plymouth State Bachelor of Fine Arts candidates exhibit capstone projects

            April 17th, 2014 by Michael

              PSU names Kim M. Bownes 2014 Theo Kalikow Award Winner

              April 17th, 2014 by Michael

                PSU names Campus Compact for New Hampshire award winners

                April 17th, 2014 by Michael

                  Scholars from Across U.S. Gather at Plymouth State University’s 35th Annual Medieval and Renaissance Forum April 25 and 26

                  April 17th, 2014 by Michael

                    PLYMOUTH, N.H.— More than 100 scholars will present their latest research on many aspects of medieval and Renaissance culture at the 35th annual Medieval and Renaissance Forum, April 25 and 26 at Plymouth State University. Plymouth State’s forum is the oldest conference of its type in New England.

                    The theme of this year’s event is “Authors, Artists, Audiences.” Registration and coffee begins at 8 a.m. Friday at Lamson Library and Learning Commons on Highland Street.

                    The Forum officially opens at 8:45 a.m. following a procession from Rounds Hall to the Hartman Union Building Fireplace Lounge. The traditional opening ceremony will include music by the Plymouth State University Chamber Singers, just back from Carnegie Hall; a welcome by forum Director Karolyn Kinane, an opening poem by Festival Poet Laureate Phil O’Mara with Kinane, and an audience singing of Gaudeamus Igitur.

                    Public concurrent sessions are held in Boyd Hall, Lamson Learning Commons and Rounds Hall throughout the day Friday and Saturday on topics such as “Orality and Historiography: The Power of the Spoken Word in the Middle Ages,” “Women Empowered by God,” “Early Medieval Aesthetics,” “Understanding The Canterbury Tales,” “Sacred Art” and “Early Medieval France.” Several undergraduate student panels are also scheduled.

                    Friday morning sessions are 9:30­–10:50 a.m. and 11:05 a.m.­­–12:25 p.m. and a chainmail workshop by the student Medieval Society is scheduled from 1:15–2:15 p.m. at a location to be announced.

                    Friday lunch will be held from 12:30-1:30 p.m. at Frost Commons off School Street, followed by additional concurrent sessions from 2:25–3:45 p.m.

                    This years Forum Keynote Speaker is Rebecca Krug, associate professor of English at the University of Minnesota, who specializes in late medieval English literature and culture. She will speak on “Margery Kemp and the Lonely Reader” at 4 p.m. Friday, in the Hage Room on the second floor of the Hartman Union Building.

                    Krug is the author of Reading Families: Women’s Literate Practice in Late Medieval England, and a number of essays including pieces in The Cambridge Companion to Medieval English Culture and A Cultural History of Gardens in the Medieval Age. She is currently writing an essay about lunar gardening in the medieval and modern worlds and completing a book about Margery Kemp.

                    A reception follows from 5-6:15 p.m. at the same location. Dinner, for which tickets are required, will be at 6:30 p.m. in Frost Commons.

                    Saturday registration and coffee begin at 8:30 a.m. at Lamson Library and Learning Commons, followed by concurrent sessions from 9 a.m. ­–10:20 a.m. and 10:35–11:55 a.m. Lunch will be held in Frost Commons from noon­–1:15 p.m. Afternoon sessions run from 1:30–2:50 p.m. and 3-4:20 p.m.

                    Doors open for the traditional Medieval Feast (tickets required) at 5:30 p.m. in Heritage Hall in Samuel Read Hall Building on Highland Street. Contact the forum director at PSUForum@gmail.com for tickets.

                    Information about the Forum is online at Plymouth.edu/medieval and on Facebook at Plymouth State University Medieval and Renaissance Forum.

                    General information about events at Plymouth State University is online at ThisWeek@PSU, http://thisweek.blogs.plymouth.edu.

                    NH College Notebook

                    April 14th, 2014 by Michael

                      PLYMOUTH State University’s Associate Athletic Director and former ski racing coach Kim Bownes has been named the 2014 Theo Kalikow Award winner for her efforts in advancing women’s issues.

                      Bownes has been an administrator in the athletics department since 2008 and served as the men’s and women’s varsity ski coach for 21 years. She is the past recipient of the Eastern Collegiate Ski Conference MacConnell Division Coach of the Year award and the Walter Smith Coaches Award. She earned a bachelor’s from McGill University and a master’s from Plymouth State.

                      Plymouth State President Sara Jayne Steen presented the award to Bownes at an April 10 ceremony.

                      The Theo Kalikow Award is named after a former PSU administrator who has been an effective advocate for improving the status of women. The award honors a faculty or staff member who has significantly contributed to the advancement of women’s issues and is presented annually by the PSU President’s Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW).

                      “College Notebook” is compiled by the staff of the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. Submissions may be emailed to sports@unionleader.com.

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