Alfred State Students install third and largest solar array at the U.S. National Arboretum
Nineteen students and graduates and two instructors from Alfred State’s electrical construction and maintenance electrician program headed to Washington, D.C., this October to complete the largest phase of what has been a five-year project to help the U.S. National Arboretum meet its sustainability goals. Their mission: to install a 15 kilowatt photovoltaic system.
The newest solar energy system is part of the Arboretum’s long-term plan to update and improve the grounds while educating the public about renewable energy technology. The 446-acre facility operated by the Agriculture Research Service in Washington, D.C., is the principal intramural scientific research agency of the USDA. The 15 kilowatt solar array will supply power to the Arboretum to offset electricity costs associated with the facility’s bonsai displays.
Alfred State students and faculty made their first trip to the Arboretum in 2008, when the college participated in the USDA Bioenergy Awareness Days conference at the facility. There, students presented a hands-on display focused on renewable energy projects. Impressed with the college’s expertise, Arboretum Director Tom Elias asked Alfred State to help them with further projects—namely, conducting major solar installations and training at the facility.
Starting in 2009, Jeffrey Stevens, associate professor of electrical trades, led a team of students back to Washington, D.C., to do the first solar installation at the Arboretum—a 1 kilowatt array used to power a drip-irrigation system.
As part of the agreement, the college has now completed three solar installs—1 kilowatt, 5 kilowatts, and 15 kilowatts—and has provided workshops and training on renewable energy hosted at the Arboretum. Alfred State students themselves lead these workshops, providing demonstrations from their own experiences working on the design, installation, and implementation of other photovoltaic systems on campus. Each educational session has attracted more and more homeowners, engineers, contractors, and government officials such as Earl F. Gohl, federal co-chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC).
Since 1996, the college has partnered with organizations like the ARC on grants that allowed the college to develop its proficiency in small wind and photovoltaic systems. The expertise and facilities developed by the ARC grant were then used to win a $2.1 million New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) grant to expand clean energy training in New York State and give students the hands-on experience they need to become experts in the dynamic world of renewable energy technology. Those same students are now becoming teachers in their own right through opportunities like the solar installation projects and workshops at the Arboretum.
And just this November, Joe Kurch, a native of Buffalo and a senior in the electrical construction and maintenance electrician program, won the first-ever Enphase Energy, Inc. North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners Scholarship Giveaway after gaining experience working on the 15 kilowatt solar installation at the Arboretum. The scholarship will allow Kurch to take his education to the next level with free online training courses, NABCEP training books, and a paid, entry-level NABCEP exam.
“I cannot express how proud I am of the students, for their exemplary work ethic, professionalism, attention to detail, and overall excellence throughout the entire project,” Stevens says. “The students have demonstrated Alfred’s excellence in education.”
Although this year’s install at the Arboretum constitutes the end of the agreement between Alfred State and the facility, both organizations are eager to extend it into the foreseeable future. “Projects like this help prepare our students. They involve planning and working in a real world environment with real deadlines,” says Craig Clark, interim vice president for academic affairs at Alfred State. “This will be an adventure.”
Learn more about the group’s past and future projects on Facebook.
When he isn’t encouraging students at Alfred State to express themselves through writing, Richard Mitchell, professor of English, is contemplating his own creative endeavors—namely, poetry. His latest book, Before Every Other Fall (Aldrich Press), hit the stands this July and is already receiving acclaim. “Mitchell's poetry is distinctive—it triggers emotion in the reader without the use of sentimentality, intellectual thought without the use of lecture, and above all, an appreciation of sensory opportunities that the reader instinctively feels she would have missed without Mitchell's poetry to serve as a prompt,” says Dr. Daniel Barwick, president of Independence Community College in Independence, Kansas. “Some of the poems are tragic and some are lighter fare, but all prompt a feeling of immediacy, intimacy, and sensory richness.”
The book is a collection of poems—each with its own voice and emotional quality—all sharing the same sense of poignancy. “What happens to us when things are lost?” Mitchell asks. “The impetus came from me asking myself that question—how do people deal with different kinds of loss?”
Although the poems are intimately connected, each piece is written using a different persona. And while some of these voices stem from the writer’s own experiences, many, Mitchell says, are simply tools he uses to peel away the layers of subjective experience in order to get at the heart of what it is, for anyone, to feel significant loss. “As a poet, he asks us to use all of our senses, and he challenges us by creating complex metaphors about human nature and the natural world,” says Calista McBride, interim chair of English and Humanities and professor of English at Alfred State. “As readers, we are compelled to move with him…from the vulnerability of innocence to the strength of graceful experience.”
Mitchell grew up in Johnson City, New York, and developed a love of poetry from an early age through his mother’s encouragement. He received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English from SUNY Oswego and his Ph.D. from the University of Nevada, Reno, concentrating in Renaissance drama and non-dramatic literature, American literature, and the eighteenth-century novel. Prior to taking a position at Alfred State, Mitchell taught at SUNY Delhi and at North Country Community College.
Mitchell’s work has appeared in the Louisville Review, Skylark, the Cimarron Review, the Concho River Review, and the Wisconsin Review among others. His first book, Speaking of Seed and Night, was published by Chiron Press. Before Every Other Fall is available for purchase from Amazon.com.
Jeremy Speed Schwartz, assistant professor of Digital Media & Animation, will be delivering a talk as part of TEDxBuffalo, an independently organized TED event, on Tuesday, Oct. 15 at 11:24 a.m. at Canisius College’s Montante Cultural Center. Professor Speed Schwartz will be discussing experiments and collaborations in science and art. Alfred State will also be broadcasting the event live on its own campus in the Student Leadership Center’s small event space.
Speed Schwartz’s talk, titled "Imaginary Science: Experiments and Collaborations in Science/Art," is a presentation of some of his work with the League of Imaginary Scientists, an interdisciplinary art group focused on collaboration with scientists in various fields. Their work combines video, interactive media, animation, sculpture, and performance. “In the past, we've worked with biologists at MIT, NASA geophysicists, and most recently scientists at the Memphis Ground Water Institute,” Speed Schwartz says. “The focus of the talk is the benefits we as artists gain from working with people who have radically different methodologies. This includes how we might use their research as a jumping-off point to explore new ideas and how we might incorporate their strategies into our conceptualization and production. I will also be discussing what these scientists gain from working with us.”
In the spirit of the original TED talks, TEDx is a series of local, self-organized events intended to bring various people together to share in a TED-like experience. TEDxBuffalo has taken place each October since 2011. The event is free thanks to numerous donations and is organized and hosted by volunteers. The event is scheduled to run from 9 a.m. to 4:06 p.m. and includes an after-party.
The Department of Architecture and Design is proud to announce “Architecture is a noun,” an upcoming lecture by Tod Williams of Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects on Oct. 14 at 6 p.m. in room 215 of the Engineering Technology Building on the Alfred campus.
Tod Williams has been in partnership with Billie Tsien since 1986. Their studio, Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects in New York City, focuses on work for institutions such as museums, schools, and non-profits—organizations that value issues of aspiration and meaning, timelessness and beauty.
Their buildings are carefully made and useful in ways that speak to both efficiency and the spirit. A sense of rootedness, light, texture, detail, and most of all experience are at the heart of what they build. Parallel to their practice, Williams maintains an active teaching career and lectures worldwide.
Among their distinguished buildings are the American Folk Art Museum; the Asia Society Hong Kong Center; the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center; the Center for the Advancement of Public Action at Bennington College; the Cranbrook Natatorium; the Neurosciences Institute in La Jolla, California; the Phoenix Art Museum; the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago; and the new home for the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia. Their long list of design awards includes the 2013 AIA Architecture Firm Award.
The Department of Architecture and Design gratefully acknowledges the lecture’s sponsorship by Joseph Venture and his firm ArtWalk Tile in Rochester, New York, a gallery style store with an inventory of luxury tile and hardwood displayed as fine works of art.
The newest member of Alfred State’s growing renewable energy family is currently catching the breeze above campus—a 100 kilowatt grid-tied wind turbine that will offset some of the college’s electricity usage. The turbine came online just a few weeks ago and is already producing clean, green energy.
“This community wind project is another example of sustainability at the college and highlights the progress of our Center for Renewable Energy,” says Craig Clark, interim vice president for academic affairs at Alfred State.
The wind project has been 14 months in the making—an initiative made possible through grants from both the Appalachian Regional Commission and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), which together provided more than 50 percent of the funding.
“The project will not only produce energy for the campus but also expose students to another wind turbine on campus,” Clark says. In fact, one of the project’s main goals is to establish a small wind laboratory for students within already existing programs, offering them even more hands-on experience with green technologies. “This knowledge will increase industry demand for these graduates,” he says.
Alfred State already has several other smaller wind turbines on the Wellsville campus, as well as a zero energy demonstration home, active and passive solar technology, geothermal, and a host of other green technologies already in place in facilities like the new $33 million Student Leadership Center. And a second zero energy demonstration home—dubbed Pioneer Landing—is also in the works, with students getting involved in the design and building of the project.
In a world with rising energy costs, climate change, and dwindling resources, Alfred State is taking a proactive approach to the future of energy. “This wind turbine is an important step towards achieving Alfred State’s emissions reduction goals,” says Julian Dautremont-Smith, chief sustainability officer at Alfred State. The project will complement the college’s growing emphasis on sustainability and strengthen the region’s access to training and employment in green industries.
“Alfred State has been a leader in educating technical students since at least the 1940s and students in trades for more than 45 years. It’s what we’re known for,” Clark says. “There is a real lack of this type of skilled workforce in the region, and a lack of models to sell community wind. This project will allow Alfred State to continue training the highly skilled workers the industry requires and help meet national, state, and regional needs.”
Senior architectural technology student Kyle (Christian) Perry is already making a name for himself in the highly competitive design field. His work was featured at the 2013 National Convention of the American Institute of Architects in Denver, Colorado; he just recently returned from a semester-long study abroad experience in Sorrento, Italy, at the Sant’Anna Institute; and he has been working hard on his senior thesis—the design of a new infant care hospital in Honduras.
“The past four years here have given me the knowledge, experience, and training necessary to feel confident and able to succeed in my profession,” Kyle (Christian) says. “Not only does Alfred State offer personal one-on-one student/professor relationships, but it offers entry-level access to skills and software that prepare students for the real world. And we get hands-on experience and knowledge, which gives us a better understanding of the design process.”
Kyle (Christian) believes these experiences will give him an edge as he prepares for a career in the profession of architecture. When he meets first-year students, he advises them to “dream with no boundaries…We are the future of architecture. We have the opportunity to control how buildings will look, how cities will feel, and how lives will be lived.”
Alfred State is proud to announce the kickoff of a new Bachelor of Architecture program by its Department of Architecture and Design this fall. One of only eight BArch programs in the State of New York, it is the only degree of its kind in the SUNY system and the only one offered by a public university.
On April 30, 2013, the program was awarded ‘Eligibility for Candidacy’ by the National Architectural Accrediting Board and will seek to achieve full accreditation for the incoming cohort of freshmen in the shortest possible time—in 2018.
Alfred State’s BArch degree will build on the established strengths in architectural technology and civic engagement of its AAS and BS in architectural technology programs. But it will also strive to achieve a unique identity by integrating an active immersion in the liberal arts/humanities with three additional foci:
The program will also offer students the possibility of concentrations in things like business, interior design, construction management, or digital media and animation.
Alfred State’s 5-year BArch graduates will be well prepared for successful careers in architecture or related subfields such as sustainable architecture, urban design, interior architecture, adaptive reuse and historic preservation, building construction management, hospitality design, lighting and acoustical design, religious building design, and others, or to go on to graduate programs in architecture or related fields.
Visit the department’s website periodically as it will be redesigned and expanded during the coming months. For admissions questions and to apply, please contact Alfred State Admissions at 1-800-4-ALFRED or email email@example.com.
This month,Alfred Statewas selected to participate in a national initiative on civic learning and democratic engagement. The college has been named one of 70 colleges and universities in the nation as a Lead Institution by NASPA Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, the leading voice for the student affairs profession.
“Alfred State is pleased to be selected to participate in NASPA’s network of institutions dedicated to developing students’ sense of civic identity, as civic engagement is a core value of higher education,” says Director of Civic Engagement Jonathan Hilsher. “Being recognized as a national leader in this field reflects our institutional commitment to civic leadership, the quality of our current efforts, and our ongoing commitment to inspiring students to develop innovative solutions to community challenges and opportunities.”
Alfred State’s commitment to civic engagement is deeply embedded in the college’s unique approach to education through project-based learning experiences. By coupling real-world learning situations with a focus on meaningful civic engagement opportunities, Alfred State students are able to make significant contributions to communities around the world and are frequently among the first to lend their skills and knowledge to those in need, including communities devastated by Super Storm Sandy and Haitian communities recovering from the 2010 earthquake. Last year, more than 2,000 Alfred State students contributed more than 46,000 hours of service, civic leadership, and workforce-ready knowledge to communities in need.
As a participating institution in NASPA’s initiative, Alfred State will continue to encourage students’ civic development through thoughtful community partnerships, engaging leadership opportunities, and democratic participation.
To learn more about NASPA’s Lead Initiative and view a complete listing of participating institutions, visit the NASPA website.
Students from Alfred State designed, built, and operated a solar-powered home for the 2013 Solar Decathlon in China.
From July 15 - Aug. 18, 2013, students from, Alfred State, Alfred University, and Guilin University of Technology in China (dubbed Team Alfred), came together in Datong, China, to build a home of the future—one that showcases some of the biggest innovations in renewable energy and sustainable design.
“It has been a life changing experience, full of challenges,” says Jacob Grisewood, of Belmont, NY. A 2013 graduate of Alfred State’s building construction program currently pursuing a technology management degree, he and two other Alfred State students made the trip to China to compete in the 2013 Solar Decathlon China not only for the experience of building the home, but of being immersed in collaborative working environment with other cultures. “It has given me the opportunity to learn on an international level,” Jacob says.
Team Alfred designed their home to go beyond what previous decathlon homes had done, combining cutting-edge engineering with traditional Chinese architecture, and they succeeded, walking away with a first-place award in energy balance and an incredible hands-on work experience. “This project was a big step in the right direction,” Jacob says. “I hope that it will inspire people to integrate renewable energy sources into their everyday lives.”
More than 20 other teams representing colleges and universities in 13 countries gathered for the competition in Datong, striving to create the most energy-efficient, aesthetic, affordable solar-powered homes imaginable. The competition, co-hosted by the China National Energy Administration and the U.S. Department of Energy, was designed to create tangible, fully functioning demonstration homes in an effort to show the world the power of solar-driven energy efficiency. Students had to design, construct, and oversee operation of a concept solar-powered home utilizing current technologies, and they had to do it all while working as a team. “I’m very thankful for this amazing opportunity that Alfred State has given me,” Jacob says. “They have invested in me as a person and I feel honored having been a part of it.”
Join the discussion on solar energy and design at Team Alfred’s Facebook page.
Automotive Trades Associate Professor and Chair Kent Johnson takes a ride in the Honda Insight with Bradley Hasemeyer of TRANSLOGIC to talk about the Green Grand Prix.