Monday, April 18, 2011

Dorm Wars Update

Butterworth residents have taken a commanding lead over Bragdon, Forest, and Woodland in the dorm electricity reduction contest. Early in the contest, Butterworth residents have reduced their electricity usage by over 10%. There is plenty of time for residents in the other dorms to kill some watts.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Dorm Worms 2011

Today starts the Dorm War contest between our four dorms with smart meters. Bragdon, Butterworth, Forest, and Woodland will be competing to reduce their electricity usage. The contest starts today and will end next Thursday (April 21st) at midnight. The winner of the contest will be the dorm that reduces electricity usage by the greatest percentage over the course of the contest week. Prizes will be awarded to the winning dorm on Earth Day.

Forest, the energy hogs on campus, have a lot to prove. Enthusiasm in "the Wood" is high and students are ready to defeat their upper classmates. Bragdon residents are looking to trim their usage below their sister dorm Butterworth. Good luck shedding your watts!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Water Flows Downhill

It is a sloppy day on campus today. The rain and melting snow have created large puddles everywhere. As I was walking back to my office I observed two students approaching one of these puddles. The puddle was muddy and the sidewalk wasn't visible for any of the width. The students stopped and studied the puddle. Where do we step? I watched with interest as they made their decision. Perhaps they caught a glimpse of sidewalk that influenced their decision but they stepped into the down slope side and immediately yelled as four inches of water filled their shoes. I laughed and then passed on the uphill side which was centimeters deep.

I began to wonder if they had taken more science classes at Lasell would they would have chosen the uphill side of the puddle? We don't directly teach how to negotiate puddles in our science courses but we do try and teach students how to think scientifically. I'm not talking about applying the scientific method to study the puddle but rather applying a law of nature to their situation. Instead of science courses, maybe more philosophy courses would have helped these students. Something like, "If water flows downhill, then the puddle will be deeper on the down slope side."

The general education curriculum is up for review at Lasell. I have been thinking about what this means for our students. Students are not going to become scientists or philosophers by taking a few general education courses. But I still think there is great value in requiring students to engage in different ways of thinking. Challenging students to think in new ways just might be the tool needed to improve their decision making so, when they encounter that puddle, they can keep their feet dry.