|Friday, April 15th|
Claire Chandler, University of Montana, Missoula
9:20 AM - 9:40 AM
Silence births reflection, contemplation and creativity, ultimately holding importance as a means to an end, a call to contribution and community. Our goal is to share the value of silence and suggest to the world that seeking personal silence is meaningful, even necessary in the chaotic, and noisy environment of the 21st century. Our project culminated in an art exhibition exploring this theme through silent black and white videos projected on a downtown alley wall. We engaged the public by inviting them to experience intentional silence. Individual videos document and explore our personal experiences and extensive research on silence and quiet in a visually provocative way. Our videos encapsulate silence in both its beautiful and plain instances, captured by each team member. This is a personal journey in the form of a group experience. This art exhibit took place on March 4th, during First Friday in downtown Missoula. Roughly 200 people watched our video. Some were passive, merely moving on down the street after a minute or so. Others stayed to chat with us about the project and their personal journeys in silence. We will present our videos for a second time before the UMCUR presentation, on the same alley wall. This time we will be more deliberate about our audience and collecting feedback. Our silent videos will make up the UMCUR exhibition. We will recreate our First Friday exhibition on a screen or wall during the 4:00-5:00 hour on April 15th. The significance of this project lies in the value it brings to the community. This project allows the public an opportunity to find personal silence and embody the benefits of individual reflection, without the added pressure of producing something in return. Our presentation will offer the knowledge needed to replicate the exhibition or produce small acts of silence in one’s community.
Katie Atherly, University of Montana, Missoula
9:40 AM - 10:00 AM
Like many other rural cities across the globe, Missoula, Montana faces numerous obstacles when it comes to glass waste. To recycle its glass, the material must travel over 500 miles to the closest glass recycling center in Portland, Oregon. The cost and carbon footprint from shipping heavy glass materials quickly outweighs the environmental benefits of recycling it. Even if glass is collected for recycling, much of it must be thrown away due to contamination. Bottle caps, trash, and even other kinds of unrecyclable glass can contaminate the recycling batches. Without any efficient process to remove these objects, glass must be thrown into the landfill, as seen in Missoula with Target’s recycling program. But this problem is much larger than Missoula; many small towns lack glass-recycling programs, and residents are left feeling wasteful when the only option is the throw glass in the trash. Nonetheless, we argue in this paper that less attention should be given to glass recycling and more research should be conducted on the reuse of glass products. We, therefore, attempt to answer: how can we increase and encourage the reuse of glass? In order to address this question, we will use Missoula, MT as a case study for examination. We will survey glass-recycling habits of students, staff, and professors at the University of Montana to measure interest in glass re-use programs. We will also interview local stakeholders, such as wineries and breweries, who may benefit from programs that reuse consumer glass. Based upon our research to-date, we argue that washing and reusing glass bottles by local businesses is both economical and environmentally beneficial.
Mary O'Malley, University of Montana, Missoula
10:00 AM - 10:20 AM
For many students, college is the first time that they come into contact with peers that can be defined as “different.” In an increasingly interconnected world, the lack of opportunity to develop skills required for global living is a problem. To help young generations to achieve intercultural competence, the United States and many other areas of the world would benefit from a form of global education that demands little resources and begins with K-12 students. Our project involves identifying key strategies for global education in average U.S. public-school classrooms and to demonstrate that global education can coexist and strengthen regular classroom activities for all rather than being restricted to expensive study-abroad adventures for few rich kids only. To solve the problem of lack of access to global education, we propose adding on a perspective sharing learning objective to activities already taking place in the classroom. Our project aims to design a global education program using video platforms to connect 4th graders in Missoula to cultural others. The learning objectives include mainly reflection and perspective sharing in the classroom. To assess the effectiveness of our program, we will conduct pre/post surveys with both the teachers and the students involved. The evaluation results will allow us to refine the design of the program for future potential application in schools that lack affordable global education.
Sam Forstag, University of Montana, Missoula
10:20 AM - 10:40 AM
While Missoula, MT, heralds itself as being on the forefront of environmental sustainability, our city has a distressingly low recycling rate relative to the rest of Montana. As both Missoulians and global citizens, it is critical that we use all the tools at our disposal to better understand and implement sustainable practices, and our application positions itself at the intersection of social media and sustainability to address this very need. Through analysis of successful application models and collaboration with a local app-development company, we have created an application that encourages recycling habits while gathering data on current recycling trends among the community of users. ERRA provides social incentivizes for users to recycle more by bringing the amount they recycle into the public sphere and providing virtual rewards. Additionally, ERRA plays an educational role, providing users with detailed information about the materials they and their neighbors have recycled in terms of quantity and makeup, a function which will ultimately aid research efforts by providing localized data on recycling trends over time.
While various methods of encouraging recycling currently exist, ours is the first to combine social media with positive peer pressure to foster friendly competition. As a publishable application, ERRA can be easily scaled up to expand its reach. As a city where widespread support for sustainability exists alongside a tradition of successful tech start-ups, Missoula is the perfect community for an innovative platform like ERRA to take root!
Ciara Gorman, University of Montana, Missoula
11:00 AM - 11:20 AM
Anyone who walks through downtown Missoula will notice people experiencing homelessness. Missoula has various options for temporary shelter, but there are few options for those who are chronically homeless and inebriated. For the inebriated homeless, jail or the hospital are the only places where they can stay the night, as our local shelters do not accept intoxicated persons.
Our initial study aimed to discover the best way to house chronically inebriated homeless individuals. Through an extensive literature review of methods used in other cities across the country and around the world, we have identified that a wet housing/wet shelter program is the best way to house these individuals. Wet shelters allow those under the influence to stay in the shelter overnight, while wet housing provides a more permanent housing solution. Every year, thousands of taxpayer dollars go to housing inebriated individuals in the form of jail and hospital beds. This cost could be significantly minimized if a wet shelter complex was created in Missoula, reducing costs to both hospitals and the prison.
In order to promote the creation of a wet housing/wet shelter in Missoula, we will be assisting the United Way in a public relations campaign to raise awareness of the benefits this type of housing would have on the community. This campaign will include writing letters to newspapers and stakeholders across the county, creating a positive online presence, and increasing student awareness about the homeless population. Although part of the 10-year Plan to End Homelessness created by Mayor Engen, buidling a wet shelter/wet housing building has never been implemented in Missoula before, and will be a substantial step forward in caring for Missoula’s homeless population.
Caelan Simeone, University of Montana - Missoula
11:20 AM - 11:40 AM
Water scarcity is a defining issue that has shaped the American West, and despite its increasing importance with climate change it is an issue that is seldom thought about. The first step to better dealing with this crisis is through education in local places such as the site of the Milltown Dam Removal. In the Milltown State Park Education Project, we are working to create a science and history curriculum for 3rd and 4th graders to integrate classroom and outdoor learning at the Milltown State Park within a place-based context. We are partnering with staff from Milltown State park and faculty and students from Sussex school to implement this project. There are five key components to this project. The first is to use the study of water to introduce students to the scientific process. The next three components build on this base and cover other aspects of the Milltown park through in-class lessons and activities. Students will consider the story behind a place through Native American histories and oral traditions, the ecology of a place through in-class trout rearing, and how to thoughtfully communicate about a place through nature journaling. The final section of the project ties each of the five components together in a day-long field trip to the Milltown State Park. There, children will participate in hands-on activities designed to illustrate ideas introduced in classroom lessons. To measure the success of our project, faculty at Sussex School will administer pre- and post-curriculum assessments gauging the students’ concept of Milltown State Park. The long-term goal for this project is to build a curriculum, which can be implemented and adapted at Milltown State Park, in collaboration with any and all schools in the Missoula area.
Austin Clark, University of Montana, Missoula
11:40 AM - 12:00 PM
Food waste is a global problem that occurs at every level of the food chain. It can be as large as an entire shipment of vegetables going bad due to a faulty cooling system, or as small as an individual throwing away food from their own fridge or pantry because it spoiled before they could eat it all, or the label suggested that it had spoiled. Food labeling misinterpretations can be considered preventable waste, making it a tangible, local effect we can tackle within our capabilities and time frame. The purpose of this project is to collect data from consumers in Missoula about what they currently know about food waste, and why they waste food (and money). We will be going out to grocery stores such as Walmart, Albertson’s, the Good Food Store and the Orange Street Food Market and surveying shoppers as they leave. The questions in the survey will aim to measure how much Missoula shoppers pay attention to food label dates and subsequently, how closely they adhere to those dates. We will perform the surveys between March 6th and March 19th. We plan to release this information to the Missoula Community by publishing an informative article in the local newspapers, like the Missoulian and the Independent. This article will discuss things such as expiration dates and recommended use by dates and how definitive these dates actually are. It will provide suggestions to prevent food waste and ultimately lower the amount of preventable food waste that occurs within Missoula.
Mercedes Becker, University of Montana - Missoula
12:00 PM - 12:20 PM
Given that depression is the “leading cause of disability worldwide,” and that less than 50% of people suffering from depression receive treatment, this study aims to provide support for a globally accessible depression treatment (WHO, 2012). The study conducted implemented an internet-based treatment for depression in which users were provided an opportunity to watch slam poetry videos related to mental health issues and write free responses regarding the content of the videos and their subjective experience of depression. Numerous studies provide support for the effectiveness of expressive writing, online mental health interventions, and slam poetry in particular for reducing symptoms of depression. Data collection occurred in two forms. Survey data about participants’ moods was collected before and after watching the slam poetry videos and again after providing the written response. Additionally, the researchers performed text analysis using Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) on the written responses to track use of negative and positive emotion words, among others, which have been shown to indicate levels of depression. The data showed an overall increase in positive emotion words and decrease in negative emotion words in participant surveys after each stage of the study. In addition, the text analyses indicated a greater percentage of positive over negative words used by participants in their free-responses. These data support the hypothesis that engaging in slam poetry online can be a globally accessible and effective tool for improving mood.
Trudy Stebbins, University of Montana, Missoula
1:40 PM - 2:00 PM
Recent news and media attention have brought to light the city of Missoula’s ongoing struggle with sexual assault. Unfortunately Missoula is not unique in this regard, as sexual assault and consent are universal human rights issues. Our goal is to address these on both a local and a global level by creating a culturally adaptive educational model that informs students about safe and healthy sexual consent practices.
We will be partnering with a local nonprofit organization National Coalition Building Institute (NCBI) to train youth leaders with the curriculum that we create. NCBI has established a leadership development program that trains student leaders to help run the workshops around the state that address matters of social justice. We aim to add a sexual consent education module to NCBI’s already successful curriculum.
Through this partnership we will develop a training module addressing issues around sexual consent and providing tools and knowledge for students approaching the age of consent. This module will be inclusive enough to be easily replicated and adapted to various institutions, communities and cultures. Through the use of the module, we hope to empower students around the globe by providing them with an understanding of sexual consent rooted in respect and human rights.
Nikki Parker, University of Montana, Missoula
2:00 PM - 2:20 PM
Food waste is a global problem that can be greatly reduced through awareness and education. Our group created an illustrated children’s book focusing on three main problems seen in global and domestic food waste. We focused on children ages six through eight and structured our book to meet the age group’s needs by providing engaging and relatable characters accompanied by text that effectively conveys the problem of consumer food waste. Our research suggested this age range would understand the content without oversimplification and would still benefit and be interested in an illustrated book. A children’s book provides a tangible and reoccurring lesson. In Missoula, there are several different programs for school-aged children regarding sustainability, but input from the community suggested a book on food waste would help fill a gap in the available literature. Currently, food waste is more commonly taught at an older age level, or not at all. Our approach presents young readers with a problem that inspires empathy, followed by solutions they can implement in their own homes. For example, children can look at sell by dates, understand food is not always bad if it does not look perfect or have an understanding of when food is actually rotten. Our goal is to raise awareness and interest in food waste and encourage behavioral change at an early age. This approach is successful in other areas of literature, but has not been tried with food waste. We believe this format will be an effective way to address the gap in the literature, and address the problem of apathy at an early age. Although, the environmental implications of food waste are global, the solution starts locally with individual action at the consumer level. If we can change simple behaviors in childhood, the impact will begin to spread globally.
Rebecca Collins, University of Montana - Missoula
2:20 PM - 2:40 PM
Laura Barta, University of Montana, Missoula
2:40 PM - 3:00 PM
Although the majority of people in the United States is aware of climate change, the issue is notably absent from personal conversations, as individuals engage in what environmental sociologist Kari Norgaard calls “a matter of socially organized denial.” We hypothesized that creating a sustainable, appealing social space and making it accessible to the public would promote conversations about sustainability that wouldn’t occur otherwise. In order to test this hypothesis, we designed and constructed The Boiling Pot, a mobile sauna built with sustainable methods and materials, which we intend to deploy in open spaces around Missoula. In the design and construction phase, we noted the frequency, nature and intensity of the conversations our project sparked in the community, from in-person communications to social media interactions. We described them through a networking map, which will continue to grow with each deployment. We also kept close track of our design, construction and collaboration process; we have created a detailed manual, which we will share through social media connections established over 10 months. Together, our manual and our networking map will demonstrate that building a social space from scratch, based on sustainable principles, does indeed instigate conversations about sustainability and climate change. To the degree that our sauna can be used as a model for similar DIY projects, the experience can be replicated around the globe, potentially drawing out a much greater number of people than those who gathered in and around the Boiling Pot. We hope that others will adapt and further develop our model depending on their own circumstances, environment and specific needs.