GSURC Sustainability Awards

Congratulations to the winners of this year’s GSURC Sustainability Awards!

The 11th annual Georgia State Undergraduate Research Conference (GSURC), hosted by the Honors College, took place at the Student Center on April 11. The event allows students from across the university to present their scholarly work through oral and poster presentation, artistic displays and musical performances. More than 250 students presented their research from 34 departments. This was the second year that students could submit their work into the newly created sustainability category. Over a dozen students submitted work to the sustainability category from 7 departments. With support from the student sustainability fee committee and Georgia State Sustainability Initiatives, seven of the projects were chosen as the best in their category or best applied project. The winners were then recognized at the GSURC awards ceremony and will be given $200 each for their work.

Take a look at the 2017 Sustainability Award winners:

Student(s) Project Description
Rebecca Long: Textile Art project titled “The Mending Jacket” “The Mending Jacket was made with sustainable resources – repurposed old curtains and natural dyes: indigo, madder, weld and rust. After working on an indigo farm this summer, I became concerned with the impacts on our environment by the growing use and acceptance of fast fashion. Fast fashion is the system many clothing retailers run their business by – designs move quickly from the drawing board, through the factories, to the stores and then to the consumer. Due to the speed of this process, many compromises are made at the expense of sustainability. Hazardous chemicals are used in the dyes, while synthetic fibers are preferred over natural ones and the clothes are worn for a short period. When new designs hit the stores, consumers purchase these cheaper clothing items, and the clothing they already owned ends up as waste. This is the circle of fast fashion.”
Chong Myung Jeong: Graphic Design font project titled “Hencoop”

“Hencoop is a modular typeface created for an Advanced Typography course in the College of Arts at Georgia State. A modular typeface is an alphabet constructed out of a limited number of shapes or modules such as circles, triangles or squares – setting up the design parameters. Throughout the design process, I questioned how I would be able to create a typeface that would be legible, but also attractive in this restricted condition. My first step to solve this question was to research about the word, limitation, which was my keyword at that time.

Through research, I discovered an article that discussed battery cages, a serious issue around the world. Battery cages are wire cages for egg-laying hens, however each cage contains a limited space that barely fits one hen. The size of the cage is smaller than a letter sized paper. Compared to cage-free hens, the hens in this restricted environment face a higher chance of getting sick and developing stress. I learned that Europe has banned the use of battery cages a few years ago, but over 90% of hens in the United States are still housed in these battery cages.

With this as a starting point, I created 26 lowercases of alphabet and numbers using triangles, squares and quadrants. This typeface is very legible and cohesive in both small and large sizes. Each letter is based on the square shape that resembles the battery cage. For my type specimen poster, I used a warm red color tone as a representation of hens. I named the typeface Hencoop instead of Battery Cage as a hencoop is a better environment for hens to live in and more importantly, I wish for no more animal abuse in the world.”

Carlos Cisneros: Oral Presentation anthropology project titled “Exploring the Growth of Local Food in Atlanta”  “Food hubs are food aggregation and distribution businesses, which collect from multiple small scale productions and are able to sell it to larger scale markets. The significance of this stems from the fact that hubs make local food more widely available to the larger public, while maintaining the standards and ethics of the local food movement. Food hubs are still a relatively new concept, and there are still many questions that need be asked of them. Are they able to supply their markets and what do they do if they cannot aggregate enough? How do relationships with farmers and clients form and evolve in the business? How do they maintain these relationships and the ethic of local food while dealing with competition? To answer these questions, I conducted participant observation and ethnographic interviews with Turnip Truck, a pioneering Atlanta food hub, over the course of two months. My case study highlights several opportunities and challenges for growing the local food movement through food hubs in Atlanta. While Turnip Truck has solid relationships with producers and there is growing awareness and demand for local food in the area, the hub is not always able to fully accommodate its clients. There is also a rise in competition, but the problem with this has less to do with loss of markets and more to do with the fact that some conventional competitors operate outside of the movement’s ethics and processes, challenging Turnip Truck’s self-perception as well as its public image. In response, Turnip Truck has started a media campaign, filming videos shared through social media, that showcase their manner of conducting business, which rests on close, mutually supportive relationships. These videos additionally entailed visits at farms and clients, which positively impacted the hub’s relationship with its suppliers. While communicating with the public is important, my work suggests that it is equally, if not more important for them to continue improving upon the existing relationships they have with local farmers and their clients.”
Allison Georgescu: Poster of a science project titled “Daphnia magna as a Model to Study the Obesogenic Effects of Environmental Pollutants: Development of Assays to Assess Changes in Lipid Production” “Obesogens are environmental pollutants linked to the development of obesity, insulin resistance and diabetes. Their effects vary depending on the specific obesogen, mixtures of obesogens, routes and doses of exposure and other factors. Daphnia, a keystone species used primarily in toxicological studies, may serve as an in vivo model to identify the obesogenic potential of various chemicals as well as early-life exposure effects on the offspring and on different developmental stages. One of the initial steps for identifying potential obesogens is the assessment of their ability to induce increased lipid production. Therefore, we are fine-tuning and comparing assays to quantify lipid production in Daphnia magna. As of now, we are adapting two assays for our specific model. One of the assays is based on the fluorescent Nile Red staining, which selectively stains intracellular lipid droplets. The other is the spectrophotometric sulfo-phospho-vanillin assay. Assay fine-tuning includes standardization of the homogenization method, assessment of number of animals required to obtain consistent results and identification of appropriate positive and negative controls. Our results indicate that in healthy Daphnia, lipid content can be reproducibly measured with the Nile Red assay. However, this assay requires the use of multiple animals for each data point. The sulfo-phospho-vanillin assay may lead to similar reproducible results, but with a limited number of animals. We will use the fine-tuned assays to determine the ability of various individual environmental pollutants and selected mixtures to promote lipid production in the Daphnia model.”
Yelenny Argueta: Poster of a science project titled “Saving Lives Saving Life: Incorporation of Sustainability in Healthcare” “The healthcare field is admired and well-respected among all people of the world. It is respected and admired because the overall goal this field possesses is to heal and help the sick. This field is important as it makes this earth a better place. The incorporation of sustainability measures in healthcare would not only allow the citizens of this earth to continue to receive services, but also to aid in the goal of sustaining and saving the earth. Efforts made to engage the healthcare field would allow for there to be less waste product with no harm or change in the services this field provides. These sustainability efforts would also need to be incorporated in the manufacturers of those who provide the supplies to for the services done in healthcare. Data from recognized sources was analyzed. Results lead to major savings economically if healthcare and the manufacturers of supply used in healthcare incorporated sustainability measures, as many labs and some healthcare practices have done so to protect and sustain the environment and planet. This is important as it brings many people aiding and contributing to the common good of sustaining the earth and leaving a planet that it still viable for future generations.”
Lori Beth Dickey: Poster of a science project titled “Sustainability in the Curriculum: Global Warming”

“Global warming is a huge issue in the world today, but it continues goes unrecognized. The lack of popularity can be due to the overwhelming number of people who do not understand what ‘Global Warming’ is. I was one of those people, so for my sustainability project, I wanted to define Global Warming and identify the problems associated with it. I built a poster board presentation showing what greenhouse gases are, where they come from and how they lead to the Greenhouse Effect, which directly affects Global Warming. These gases that are used daily by most the population are contributing to the overall warming of our planet.

Another problem is that some individuals do not care about Global Warming because they do not think it influences their lives. To counter that reaction, I have included a section on why people should care about Global Warming per their health. When temperature increases, bacteria have a higher chance of breeding and spreading, which can lead to more illnesses. To conclude the presentation, I have listed easy-to-do steps in reducing a person’s carbon footprint. Tasks as simple as using more efficient light bulbs or limiting food waste can contribute to the health of our home planet.”

Dominique Moses: Poster of a science project titled “Sorption of Radiocesium onto Weathered Micaceous Minerals” – Winner of “Best Applied Project” “Reusing of waste products from drill sites that would normally go to the landfill. These waste products could be placed on radioactive spills to soak up the spill before being stored, therefore giving the product a ‘second-life.’”