Two junior honors groups are teaming up this Thursday, March 21, to bring a Kahoot trivia night to campus to discuss sustainability and their respective honors projects: “Chain Reaction” and “Save our Ashes.”
“Our goal is to not only raise awareness about sustainability, but our projects as well,” said junior Jamie Engelke. “We chose to collaborate because both our projects relate to sustainability. Since both of our projects will take place on campus, we would like to inform students about our projects and get the students excited for them as well.”
So, what are these projects all about?
“Our project, Chain Reaction, is focused on bringing a greater awareness of biking to the Loras College campus,” said junior Caroline Breitbach, a member of the Chain Reaction honors group “Our project was originally centered on the idea of bringing a bike share program to Loras, but throughout campus surveys and research, we’ve come to realize that more students want storage and safety for the bikes they already own. The goal of our project is to put up a bike shelter by the residence halls to fulfill these needs for the students.”
Members of this biking group include Breitbach (Media Studies and English: Creative Writing double major) and junior Joey Lyon (Math and Computer Science double major). So far, they have surveyed the Duhawks on what our campus actually wants in terms of biking resources and met with Tri-State Trail Vision, a bike advocacy group in the Dubuque area.
“Now that we’ve gotten acclimated to the world of biking, we can see the positive influence it can have on a community,” said Lyon. “At one point, we just had this ambiguous idea with little direction and a dream of making it a reality. Now, our final goal is within reach and it will be satisfying to see our hard work come to fruition by giving Loras students a resource to use for many years to come.”
The group has also been researching suitable shelters, getting quotes for those shelters, finding suitable areas on campus for a bike shelter, coordinating with the college on installation, and researching grants to secure funding for the project.
“During this winter, we saw many bikes buried in snow unprotected, and so our project wants to benefit the Loras community by providing resources, such as the shelter, to students to encourage cycling, alternative transportation, and healthy living with exercise,” Breitbach added.
The “Chain Reaction” group has also partnered up with the “Save our Ashes” group, whose goal is to bring awareness to campus and the Dubuque community about the dangers of the emerald ash borer infestation that has been taking down ash trees in the area. Members this interdisciplinary group include junior Jamie Engelke (Business Administration and Marketing major), junior Connor Halbmaier (Creative Writing and English Literature major), junior Patricia Patnode (Philosophy major), and junior Gabriel Smith (Biochemistry major).
“To begin, we were going to focus educating the community on the effects of the emerald ash borer,” said Halbmaier. “When we were told that it wasn’t that big of a problem on campus, we decided to expand our project to include planting trees on campus. Of course, it turned out the bug was a problem, so we made the decision to focus on planting trees this spring, and then creating and handing out pamphlets about the emerald ash borer at campsites next fall.”
So far, the “Save our Ashes” group has worked with Loras’ physical plant to determine where more trees may be needed on campus, and where they would go to purchase those trees. Additionally, they’ve helped Dubuque Trees Forever with a tree planting event this past fall.
“I was drawn into this project idea because I really wanted to focus on something related to sustainability,” said Engelke. “We only have one planet and I want to help take care of it. Also, I think it is cool our project will be on campus and continuing to benefit it for years after we graduate. The progress we have made on this project keeps me motivated. It has been a journey getting to this point and I cannot wait to plant trees this spring.”
Both groups are excited for their trivia night, which is to be held from 7 p.m.-8 p.m. in the Pub on Thursday, March 21. Their goal is, of course, to spread campus-wide awareness of their projects and to help attendees learn a few more things about biking and the emerald ash borer.
“Both of our honors groups focus on some aspect of sustainable living, and so it felt natural that we should work together to promote our projects,” Breitbach said. “There are still many students who don’t know what we are doing, and by having this event, we are hoping to change that.”
“One aspect of honors is raising awareness and educating the community on our projects,” Engelke added, “and we thought a trivia night would be a fun way to do this.”