The Environmental Engineering and Sustainability camp is all about understanding the interactions of
humans and other living organisms with the atmospheric, terrestrial and aquatic environments. Such understanding helps Environmental Engineers design sustainable technological solutions to meet critical needs of the humans on Earth, such as, the need for clean air, the need for clean water, and the
need for clean and renewable energy sources. Sustainable technological solutions developed by
Environmental Engineers are contributing to protection of human health and the environment, so that future generations can enjoy a high quality of life.
Campers explore many of the exciting traditional and new topics within Environmental Engineering, such as:
- Sustainability and how the environment, culture, society, and economics are all linked
- Environmental pollutants and the biogeochemical cycles they follow as they move through the air, water and soil
- Climate change
- Renewable energy sources and energy efficiency
- Water resources and clean water technologies
- Water footprints
- Air quality management
These topics are covered through lectures, hands-on activities and team projects. Some examples of hands-on activities and projects include:
- Measuring air pollutant emissions generated while making popcorn over a wood stove.
- Testing effectiveness of emerging nanotechnologies for purifying drinking water.
- Measuring indicators of water quality and pollution in a local stream using portable sensors and field assay.
- Measuring and comparison of ammonia emissions from fertilized and unfertilized corn plants.
- Mapping of environmental data using geographical information systems (GIS) software.
- Building and testing of wind turbines
- Measuring the energetic content of renewable biofuels versus non-renewable fuels
- Measuring electricity generation from solar panels.
- Testing tidal current turbines under different turbulence conditions.
- Measuring evapotranspiration and calculating water footprints from growing food
Campers also go on field trips to further understand concepts within Environmental Engineering and Sustainability and to witness how these topics apply to the real world. Example destinations:
- The Equinox solar house (http://buildequinox.com/projects/equinox-house/)
- The Bondville Environmental and Atmospheric Research site (http://www.sws.uiuc.edu/atmos/bears/)
Guest lecturers, like Professors John Abelson, Mark J. Rood, Cassandra Rutherford and Dr. Chris Lehmann were also invited to talk about their field and their research. More specifically, Professor Abelson talked about Sustainability, Professor Rood talked about Air Pollution Control, Professor Rutherford talked about tidal power, and Dr. Lehmann talked about Atmospheric Deposition and its effects on plants, water and soil.
Our camp faculty are Dr. Sotiria Koloutsou-Vakakis, and Professor Megan Konar of the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE). Dr. Koloutsou-Vakakis’ research interests are in air quality and land – atmosphere interactions. Professor Konar’s interests are in policy aspects of managing water, food, and trade. Our 2016 camp coordinators are Nicole Jackson and Mary Foltz, supported by Srinidhi Balasubramanian, all doctoral graduate students in the CEE department, sharing great enthusiasm and rich experience in teaching and outreach.
Read more about our camp in this I-STEM article!