Zero-Waste Commencement

Zero-WasteJust before her own senior year arrived, Abby Lewis ’19 was working to send off Pomona’s 2018 graduates in the most environmentally-responsible way possible—with a zero-waste commencement.

Armed with information and data from the Office of Sustainability, where she works during the year, Lewis noticed a significant spike in the College’s waste production during the month of May, when thousands come to campus for the annual Commencement ceremony. Working closely with Alexis Reyes, assistant director of sustainability, she started working on a zero-waste event model.

An event is deemed ‘zero-waste’ when organizers plan ahead to reduce solid waste, reuse some event elements in future years and set up compost and recycling stations in order to divert at least 90 percent of waste from landfills. For Pomona’s 2018 Commencement Weekend, Lewis focused, among other things, on the catered food and products served at the reception on Commencement Day.

Backed by a President’s Sustainability Fund grant, Lewis worked with Pomona’s catering management on details ranging from the type of wax paper used to wrap food, to proposing utensils that are compostable and the use of reusable sugar containers instead of sugar packets.

Instead of trash bins, Commencement attendees found recycling and composting stations where they could sort their waste. Nearly all food waste generated, such as plates, cups and napkins, was diverted to either compost or recycling. The disposable products used at Commencement were made from either corn starch or recycled paper.

Another key partnership that Lewis secured with the help of the Office of the President’s Christina Ciambriello and Reyes was a deal with Burrtec, the College’s disposal contractor. Lewis and her allies were able to convince the company to collect and process ‘industrially-compostable’ items such as specially labeled plates and napkins—something they usually don’t do as part of their service to the College.

Fulbright Fellows Criss-cross the Globe

FulbrightsTwelve Pomona College recipients of the prestigious Fulbright fellowships are criss-crossing the globe this fall, doing research on independent projects or teaching English. Here’s a brief description of their plans:

Audrey DePaepe, a neuroscience major from Tualatin, Ore., takes her Fulbright to the Cognition & Brain Plasticity Unit of Barcelona in Spain and focuses her research on Huntington’s disease.

Jack Gomberg, a neuroscience major from Chicago, Ill., travels to Israel to explore the biopsychological effects of medical clowning on patient outcomes.

Laurel Hilliker, an Asian studies and history double major, from Pittsburgh, Penn., goes to Japan, intending to uncover the history of Zainichi Korean political activism within Osaka and Tokyo in the aftermath of the Pacific War.

Emily Rockhill, a biology major from Redmond, Wash., conducts research in southern Brazil, assisting on a project at Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul to identify and describe new species of crayfish of the genus Parastacus.

Elizabeth Sun ’17, a French major from Albuquerque, N.M., is studying the teaching of English and French in Saarland, a region in western Germany that has historically been a space of French-German interactions.

Rory Taylor, an international relations major from Minneapolis, Minn., travels to New Zealand to examine how the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples acts as a tool of legal advocacy for indigenous groups.

Victoria Vardanega, an economics and Asian studies double major from Fair Oaks, Calif., goes to South Korea to research the relationship between the press and government.

Don Chen, an international relations major from Normal, Ill., is teaching in Taiwan. He plans to focus on storytelling by hosting exhibitions of family history projects by students and an oral history event featuring local elders.

Lauren Callans, a neuroscience major from Ardmore, Penn., is teaching in Estonia. In addition to her love for teaching, she wants to explore her heritage as a third-generation Estonian and share her American culture.

Minah Choi, an environmental analysis major from Olympia, Wash., is teaching in Argentina. She hopes to contribute to the existing literature on Asian communities in Latin America.

Rhiannon Moore, a music major from South Pasadena, Calif., is teaching in Malaysia. Her interest in that country is rooted in her love for Southeast Asian music and desire to explore Malaysian music.

Inga Van Buren, a molecular biology major from Portland, Ore., is teaching in Taiwan. Drawing from her own multilingual background, she hopes to convey to her students the usefulness of being bilingual.

Solving the Mystery of Clark I-III-V

 


Generations of North Campus residents have wondered: “Why Clark I, III and V?”

This basic site plan, which appeared in the program of the 1929 building dedication for Clark I and Frary Dining Hall, provides the answer. When architect Sumner Spaulding was hired in 1926 to design what was to be known then as the “men’s campus,” his proposal included four dormitories and a refectory, assembly hall, lounge and office—a total of eight buildings. As seen here, each was assigned a number.

Only the first two phases of the project were completed, however—Clark I and Frary Dining Hall in fall 1929, and Clark III and Clark V in fall 1930. The numbers appear to have been simply for reference purposes. Over the years, more than a few creative theories have been spun to explain the absence of a Clark II and IV, but, as often happens, the truth is far simpler and more mundane than might have been hoped. The dormitories were named in honor of trustee and donor Eli P. Clark. Frary Hall, gift of trustee George W. Marston, was named for Lucien H. Frary, former pastor of Pilgrim Congregational Church.

A Leg Up for Bikes

ofo

In the competition between bikes and skateboards to be the top means of foot-powered transportation on campus, bikes just got a big leg up (so to speak).

In February, Pomona College and the dockless bike-sharing company ofo rolled out the firm’s first college pilot program in California. Founded in 2014, ofo is the world’s first and largest station-free bicycle-sharing platform. To date, the firm has connected over 200 million global users with more than 10 million bikes in 20 countries.

What makes this bike-sharing program unique is that ofo’s signature yellow bikes are unlocked by way of a smartphone. They can be shared among riders and parked at any bike rack on the campuses of The Claremont Colleges. To celebrate the February launch of the partnership, all rides for students, faculty and staff were free during the bike-sharing program’s first two weeks of operation.

Pomona College Assistant Director of Sustainability Alexis Reyes sees these bikes as a key tool for the community. “As a top performer in sustainability, Pomona is always looking for ways to support opportunities for low or zero-emission commuting,” says Reyes. “Adding ofo’s services to our resources available to our students, faculty and staff helps Pomona on its quest to become carbon-neutral by 2030.”

Pomona Rewind: 80 Years Ago

Four score years ago, the sciences were alive and well at Pomona, as evidenced by these brief stories from the mid-1930s.

 

20,000 Year-Old Sloth Poop

20,000 Year-Old Sloth PoopPomona professors Jerome D. Laudermilk and Philip A. Munz made headlines after traveling to the Grand Canyon to study a rare find: 20,000-year-old giant-sloth dung. According to an article in the Sept. 20, 1937, issue of Life magazine, the dung covered the floor of a cave believed to be home to giant ground sloths, which waddled on two legs and could grow as large as elephants. Laudermilk and Munz hoped to uncover the sloths’ diet and what it might reveal about plant and climate conditions of the era.

 

Shark Embalming 101

Shark Embalming 101As a Pomona student, the late Lee Potter ’38 had a simple plan to pay his way through college: sell his skills embalming animals. Potter, a pre-med student, had more than four years of embalming experience by the time the LA Times profiled him on June 1, 1937. He embalmed fish, frogs, rats, earthworms, crayfish and sharks and sold them to schools for anatomical study in their labs. His best seller: sharks—once, he sent an order of 200 embalmed sharks to a nearby college. His ultimate goal was to embalm an elephant.

 

Crime Lab Pomona

 Crime Lab PomonaIn August 1936, a Riverside woman named Ruth Muir was found brutally murdered in the San Diego woods, and the case ignited a media frenzy. A suspect claiming he “knows plenty” about Muir’s murder was found with 20 hairs that appeared to belong to a woman. In their rush to test whether the hairs were Muir’s, police turned to an unlikely source to conduct the analysis—Pomona College. Though the hairs do not seem to have matched Muir’s in the end, at least we can say: For a brief moment, Pomona operated a crime lab.

Failing Better

In its first year, Pomona’s Humanities Studio will take as its inaugural theme a line from Samuel Beckett, “Fail Better,” according to its founding director, Kevin Dettmar, the W.M. Keck Professor of English.

Each year the program will bring together a select group of faculty, postdoctoral and student fellows in the humanities for a year of engaged intellectual discussion and research on interdisciplinary topics of scholarly and public interest. Programming will also include visiting speakers, professional development workshops and other community events.

Dettmar said the theme honors the late Arden Reed, professor of English, who spoke on the topic last year. Reed’s career, Dettmar notes, “was anything but a failure. But we will honor his memory by applying ourselves to the twin concepts of failure and its kissing cousin, error—seeking better to understand the uses of failure and the importance of error in the ecosystem of scholarly discovery. Together with the studio director, faculty and postdoctoral fellows, and a group of visiting speakers, writers and thinkers, Humanities Studio undergraduate fellows will take a deep dive into failure, to bring back the treasures only it has to offer.”

Bug Hunters

Bug Hunters

Last October, biology major Hannah Osland ’20 biked to the Pomona College Farm with a single mission. She would wait by the compost bins, clutching a glass jar filled with ethyl acetate gas—her “kill jar”—until she captured a yellow butterfly she had seen earlier. In total, she spent an hour looking. “I was so frustrated that this little tiny butterfly was beating me,” she says. “It’s amazing how insects will evade me.”

Osland needed to catch and identify the butterfly, known as a small cabbage white, for her Insect Ecology and Behavior class with Professor Frances Hanzawa. For their project, Osland and nine other students captured 40 unique insect specimens from at least 11 different insect orders. Twenty had to be identified down to the scientific family they belong to—a difficult task given that, as Osland tells it, “so many beetles look alike.”

For Osland and other students, the project became a constant source of fascination among friends, many of whom tried to help nab new insect species. (A point of pride among one of Osland’s friends is the grasshopper he caught for her.) Her final collection of insects included bees, ants, butterflies, grasshoppers, beetles and more. “I don’t think I’ll ever forget insect orders now,” she says. “It’s totally ingrained in my brain.”

Surf’s Up!

Camille Molas ’21Camille Molas ’21 begins her first year at Pomona College in uniquely Southern California fashion, with surfing lessons at Mondo’s Beach in Ventura. Again this year, as part of New Student Orientation, the Orientation Adventure program, usually known simply as “OA,” offered a list of 11 outdoor opportunities across California, ranging from hiking to surfing, rock climbing to volunteerism. “What I’m really excited about,” Molas says, “is continuing to build the relationships we made at OA. You know, it’s really different having your first moments together out here on the beach or out here camping. If we can be there for each other out in the outdoors, we can be there for each other when school comes around.”

A Gift of Wilderness

Claremont Hills Wilderness ParkPomona College is expanding the Claremont Hills Wilderness Park with a gift of 463 acres to the city of Claremont. The land, including Evey Canyon and three Padua Hills parcels, is to be preserved in its undeveloped state and remain available to the members of the public for hiking, biking, horseback riding and other passive recreational uses. With the new addition, the size of the park will increase to nearly 2,500 acres.

“The Claremont Wilderness area is a natural jewel and provides an important connection to nature,” says G. Gabrielle Starr, president of Pomona College. She adds that the commitment to sustainability of her predecessor, David Oxtoby, “is reflected in his important work to bring this agreement forward and enhance the College’s and community’s commitment to open spaces for all.”

Evey Canyon is home to the Herman Garner Biological Preserve, used by the College’s Biology Department for research. The lower portion of the canyon consists of a type of riparian woodland that is becoming rare in Southern California. Evey Canyon’s varied topography and vegetation, combined with a permanent stream, result in a rich bird and insect diversity.

 

Jobs for the Homeless

Pomona’s efforts on behalf of the homeless expanded this semester with the launch of the Pomona Employment Partners (PEP) initiative by the Draper Center for Community Partnerships. It’s the newest of three programs that make up the Center’s Hunger and Homelessness Initiative.

Unlike its sister programs—the Food Recovery Network and the Homelessness Action Team—which focus on such urgent needs as food and shelter, PEP will focus on long-term solutions by connecting the homeless with actual employment opportunities.

Co-directed by Sophie Roe ’19 and Marisol Diaz ’18, the program will combine the work of job researchers with that of on-site volunteers to locate possible job openings and help homeless clients create résumés and apply.

“Most employers don’t like being asked whether they do drug tests on applicants or whether they are felon-friendly,” job researcher Sarah Burch ’21 told Pomona’s student newspaper, The Student Life. “Coming out of jail definitely brings many barriers to getting a job. We try to find specific jobs that meet the needs of the homeless community, taking into account the obstacles that formerly incarcerated people have.”

Bookshelf

Sagehens publish prolifically. The latest books from Pomona alumni and faculty.

Cecil Skateboarding

Culture

From sculptors to screenwriters, creative Sagehens get the spotlight.

Cecil Skateboarding