Erin Dorney

Blogging life & librarianship

Posts Tagged ‘RIT

Sustainability Presentation.

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So today was my presentation for RIT Libraries’ second annual Food For Thought day. Food For Thought is discussed more in detail on the Library Garden blog featuring an interview with Jon Jiras, a colleague and one of the event team leads. The presentation was titled “Seeing Green: Options for a Sustainable Existence” and was co-presented by College of Science Liaison Adwoa Boateng. Our web resource handout (which we decided to have exclusively online in the spirit of sustainability) is located on the Food For Thought website.

This was a “brown bag session” which meant it was only one hour and participants were encouraged to bring their lunch. We also determined that our session was going to be very informal and that participants would be encouraged to chime in with ideas, opinions, or information about current environmental projects. First I discussed some ways to make a difference in your home, at work, regarding food, and transportation. Then Adwoa took the stage to discuss some projects people at RIT are working at, and then Stephen Garland talked about the green lung project he has been working on.

I’m not going to rehash the information here, because our slides are linked above. I do, however, want to talk about the presentation in general. To be honest, the feedback we received was not very good. We handed out evaluations, and the few that were returned gave us okay “scores” but the comments were particularly revealing. Participants wanted more detailed information. They wanted local resources rather than generalized ideas.

You might think that I would be offended by these comments. In fact, I am excited and impressed. I went into this presentation thinking that people might need the basics, just main ideas about things they can do to reduce their impact. But I obviously didn’t give the general public enough credit! It seems that the recent popularization of “green” eco-friendly living trends is really effective. I think people attended this event already had the basics down and were looking for the next step. This is wonderful news! I hope that people decide to act on the information they have gleaned, regardless if they have gotten it from some corporation wanting to hop on the bandwagon of sustainability or if they have gotten it from somewhere more impartial.

I wish I could work on a second session of more detailed information, especially regarding resources in the Rochester area, as I am familiar with many. Alas, Food For Thought is a one day event and this was my only chance, as I’ll be leaving at the end of the month. One idea that seemed to generate a lot of discussion was the possibility of creating a carpool/ridesharing system for staff. It was determined that there is already an outlet for this for students, but as one participant pointed out, “We’re poor too!” At RIT, we are launching into an extensive multi-year transportation plan, and hopefully more sustainable methods are being incorporated into that system (biking, trails, carpooling options). It would be awesome to see incentives for employees who bike or rideshare to work, as institutional support can go a long way both financially and in terms of staff mental health and institution reputation.

Perhaps I will receive some more evaluations later in the week. Overall, I am impressed with RIT staff & faculty knowledge of these issues and very glad that I had the opportunity to be a part of the 2008 Food For Thought!

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June 10, 2008 at 5:57 PM

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Book Review: Minus The Imple by Robert Chandler.

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Today I had the pleasure of finishing a book written by my mentor and colleague Bob Chandler. His novel has been years in the making, and I have seen firsthand the many struggles he has overcome to hone this work for public consumption. Below is my review, which I am also posting to his blog. I urge everyone to download or purchase the book, which has won a prime position on my bookshelf.  Congratulations Bob, on a job very well done.

Minus The Imple is a book about the pleasure of living and the importance of self-worth. The inaugural novel and fictionalized true story of Robert R. Chandler explores the growth of a boy destined to experience both heartbreak and overwhelming happiness. Throughout the course of first loves, sexual trysts, college inebriation, marriage, and divorce, readers are swept along on a journey of self-discovery rarely initiated by most. Describing a finely crafted tale of phenomenal experiences, Chandler invites readers to question their souls, their strengths, their weaknesses and everything in between. To quote the gifted author: “It’s simple, really…” Recommended for public and academic libraries, as well as anyone searching for perspective on the harsh but joyous realities of life.

-Erin Dorney, May 2008

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May 9, 2008 at 4:33 AM

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Libraries & early intervention.

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Today I attended an hour long Early Intervention Program through RIT’s Center for Professional Development (CPD). This is a training session that has been implemented for RIT faculty and staff in light of recent events involving school violence (Illinois, Virginia Tech).

“The purpose of this training program is to raise our awareness as it relates to recognizing disruptive behaviors and the resources available to manage potentially dangerous situations.”

What is the role of the library in terms of early intervention? Depending on when students decide to enter the library, we don’t necessarily see the same faces day after day like other administrators, faculty, and staff. This makes it a little more difficult to notice any student in particular changing their daily habits for the worse.

However, we are an excellent resource for students who are struggling with issues including mental illness, depression, family or relationship issues and violent behavior. We provide access to information, both physical and virtual. If students have the courage to ask for assistance (even under the guise of “this is for an assignment”), we provide support in locating authoritative information that could possibly change and save lives. In reference situations, we need to be aware of warning signs. Although I would not advise straight out confrontation, we can surely provide a kind, sympathetic, non-judgmental ear and point students to pertinent information.

Regardless of position, subject specialty or liaison area, librarians should be prepared to answer some of the typical questions young adults in the college realm may have. These questions include eating disorders, mental disease, relationship issues, suicide, stalking, and violence. In many cases, college is the first time that students are on their own, outside of a family environment and in a new (and challenging) community. Retention rates clearly show that not all students can adjust to these changes.

The library has long been considered a safe and neutral place, especially on college campuses. Perhaps we can continue this feeling by embracing our students so that they can let their guard down within our walls and seek our assistance. After all, that’s what we’re there for.

Written by Erin Dorney

March 7, 2008 at 5:03 AM

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I’m a Redhead in Second Life.

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Second Life seems to take up space on a lot of the library and education related blogs I read, at various conferences and workshops and within the library world in general. I was recently approached to join a newly created team at RIT Libraries tasked with investigating virtual library services. Thus my somewhat late introduction to Second Life. Although I have heard and read a lot about this virtual world, I had not gone as far as venturing inside. Within the past week I have been “in-world” about four to five times. Other than bumping into a lot of things and being frustrated with my apparent lack of hand-eye coordination (I should have joined in my brothers’ video game craze phase during high school) I haven’t really done all that much. I got through Orientation Island (the completion of tutorials helping you to function virtually) and somehow teleported to another island. Unfortunately, this other island was full of pornography! Considering the fact that I am interested in the uses of Second Life for educational purposes, I quickly flew (yes, in Second Life you can fly) out of there!

So I’m poking around, seeing what’s out there. My team members and I are trying to ascertain what kind of presence RIT Libraries could (or should) have in Second Life in the event that there was an RIT Island. If anyone here is on Second Life, my avatar name is ErinElizabeth Ember (my avatar picture is above). I’m attending an SCRLC workshop on Friday in Ithaca, NY taught by Jill Hurst-Wahl of Hurst Associates, Ltd. (Jill is also a professor at Syracuse University and I had the opportunity to take a course with her last semester). Hopefully the workshop will help me figure out what to do next in Second Life! I’ll give another Second Life update sometime after the 18th. If anyone feels like sharing their own experiences or thoughts on virtual world librarianship, go ahead and comment!

Written by Erin Dorney

January 15, 2008 at 4:47 AM

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Go, Go, Green Resources!!

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Sustainable living and green resources are quickly becoming more than just a passing fad. Although people (read: Americans) are not adapting these enviro-friendly ideals as fast as I (and a number of other concerned citizens, organizations, and groups) would like, it is a step in the right direction that more and more people are looking for reliable information regarding things like global warming, recycling, sustainable technology, organic foods and carbon footprints.

In September 2007, after the receipt of a $10 million gift from Thomas Golisano, RIT (the Rochester Institute of Technology) created the Golisano Institute of Sustainability (GIS). RIT is currently in the developmental stages of creating a Ph.D. in sustainability (one of the world’s first) through GIS. The program is designed for “students who are driven to become sustainability change agents within organizations world wide.” It is being funded in part by a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation, and organization which “seeks to bring important ideas to the center of American life, strengthen international understanding, and foster innovation and leadership in academic, policy, religious and art communities.” According to RIT’s GIS website, graduates from the new program will have skills in areas including “environmentally conscious product design and manufacturing, industrial ecology, technology and public policy, environmental science and management, and sustainable business enterprises.” More information about the Golisano Institute of Sustainability can be found here.

In my opinion, this mission fits nicely with RIT’s other programs in engineering, packaging design, and manufacturing. In a Rochester Business Journal story regarding GIS, plans for the construction of a “green” building to house the Institute are underway. For those who might be confused, this does not mean a building painted in green. A “green” building would strive to adhere to sustainable LEED certification.

From a library point of view, what does this mean? In the coming months, we at RIT Libraries will need to verse ourselves in the key catch phrases and resources for sustainability. Acting as knowledge guides, we need to be able to direct our faculty, staff and students to the information they seek regarding this new endeavor. The creation of new pathfinders and research guides are probably in the near future.

A few months ago, I received through a list-serv the link to a web resource guide related to sustainable living and development. Created by the Middletown Thrall Library, the guide contains information related to local resources but is also a great jumping off point for the creation of more academic pathfinders: Going Green.

I am currently “on the hunt” for more sustainability resources, not only in anticipation that eventually these resources will be passed on to patrons during my reference desk shifts, but for my own personal use. I currently follow two blogs with tips about green living and enjoy finding new recommendations about how I can live my life to the fullest while encroaching in the smallest possible way on our irreplaceable planet. Those blogs are here: Green Is Sexy and Eco-Libris. I am also looking for any information about how libraries can become (or are currently becoming) more sustainable. So feel free to leave links and comments!

Written by Erin Dorney

December 17, 2007 at 9:05 PM

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