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The Project-Presentation: An Overview Presented by Kate Maiolatesi, Director of Sustainability Studies Program HOLYOKE C

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The Project-Presentation: An Overview Presented by Kate Maiolatesi, Director of Sustainability Studies Program HOLYOKE COMMUNITY COLLEGE. The Course The Project The Poster The Presentation Excerpts of Student Work, e.g., final paper, poster peer review, final reflection

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The Project-Presentation: An OverviewPresented by Kate Maiolatesi, Director of Sustainability Studies ProgramHOLYOKE COMMUNITY COLLEGE
  • The Course
  • The Project
  • The Poster
  • The Presentation
  • Excerpts of Student Work, e.g., final paper, poster peer review, final reflection
  • Documentation & Faculty Reflection
"Sustainability: Surviving the 21st Century”[English Composition & Introduction to Sustainability Studies]

As one community, the Earth’s inhabitants are faced with many critical problems in the 21st century—extinction, diminishing energy resources, increasing population, and human civilizations’ limited vision of alternatives. Whether Homo sapiens can learn to manage their life styles in a sustainable manner will impact the long-term survival of all the species on this planet. This is the concern that animates this Learning Community (LC). Its participants will explore in expository writing and class discussion the interconnectedness of all lives on Earth in issues particularly related to energy and food production and consumption.


"Stepping into Sustainability" is the collaborative final project-poster detailing four strategies the HCC campus can adopt to be more sustainable, including: habitat restoration, green roofs, water catchment systems, and natural ventilation systems.

final project poster peer assessment
Final Project-Poster Peer Assessment

Poster Content: I learned that 4,203,739 kwh of electricity is used yearly at HCC and that less than 3 days of solar energy equals all of the power produced by fossil fuels. I think the poster could have showed more current or proposed energy conservation techniques. I don't remember any information on costs to set up a PV system.

Poster Style:The verbal and visual media are effective. The data under energy conservation catches your eye, and makes you think. The wind and solar information blocks provide a good overview of the systems.

Presentation Content: I appreciated all the facts and figures, but would have liked to hear some additional energy conservation measures.

Presentation Style:The voice clarity was good, eye contact was good, and body language was effective. They all have different communication strengths that blended together well and created an informative presentation.

the poster presentation
The Poster Presentation

Sustainability Document:

final project paper
Final Project Paper

Final Paper Excerpt: “Stepping into Sustainability”

One way to move HCC closer to sustainability is to practice reconciliation ecology on the campus. Reconciliation ecology is the science of inventing, establishing and maintaining new habitats to conserve species diversity in places where people live, work, or play (Miller 144). There are some inexpensive, simple steps that would be productive and improve the ecology of the area by slowing storm water runoff to allow an increase of natural filtration, and increasing and improving habitat.

Looking at the HCC campus from the east shows function but not form. There is no art, design is limited, and the buildings are flat walls of concrete and steel. Sitting there, untapped, a world begging to be "green". Through the use of reconciliation ecology, green roofs, water catchment systems and a better form of ventilation, HCC would be more restorative to natural systems and an inspiration for students.

student final reflections
Student Final Reflections

LC101 Made Me a Vegetarian:At the start of term, I wasn't sure what this class could actually teach me. Not that I know everything but information about the environment is plentiful, so what more was there? Thought this would be a simple way to earn an English and lab science credit. I was fooling myself. It turns out that I didn't know half of what I thought I did. So where to start?

What A Long Strange Trip It's Been: I had an excellent experience in this class. As a first semester freshman, I was given the right tools and learning styles to render success in this class. In one way or another, each course objective was covered during the class. Essentially, being part of the class helped me with all of my objectives, but specific things stood out. The class in and of itself helped me to develop and experience a sense of community.

Bringing Our collective Actions into Balance: This course has been the perfect jumping back into school experience and has inspired me to continue. Additionally, I believe it will help me help the world. Long-ago I realized the necessity for humans to live in tune with the environment, and this class has deepened my understanding of why. It has helped me grasp scientific concepts and principles. I appreciate the joining of science with respect for creation, with virtue in action. I have learned the value of understanding the backbone of 'how we got where we are.'

faculty reflections on assessment documentation
Faculty Reflections on Assessment & Documentation

Xian Liu writes:

(1) The knowledge and information they were sharing were more from the "internalized" sources such as their own past experience and their own understanding. As a result, they were able to present their concept with greater conviction and energy.

(2) The presenters, with their newly acquired conviction, became more confident and took charge of what was becoming a "dialogue," rather than a "presentation," between them and their audience.

(3)That transformation from (1) to (2) is learning through doing. As they "talked" through, literally, what they had researched, graphed, and presented, they now became active owners of the new knowledge rather than passive "disseminators" of information. To me, that's the value of a project like this as well as the meaning of learning.

Kate Maiolatesi Writes:

Another step in this collaborative assessment process is viewing the document as a collection of video excerpts. Again, seeing the project in a more objective light has been helpful. The clarity of the issue of "presentation," or lack of it, is a bit startling. While working with the class on this project, it is difficult to step back and see the larger picture. Viewing it on this document has allowed me to do that. The information the students gathered is good, as is the poster, which was reviewed by both faculty and students. The presentation is the weakest area of this project. Now that we know this, we can further refine the project to include the importance of style when information is being disseminated.

a sustainability post script
A "Sustainability" Post-Script

The student group featured in this presentation was accepted to present their final project poster, "Stepping into Sustainability," at the 13th Annual Massachusetts Statewide Undergraduate Conference. Each year undergraduate students of diverse backgrounds from across the Massachusetts Public System of Higher Education gather to present the results of their original work in oral and poster presentations before their peers, faculty and the public.