By Daniel.Martin@ucdenver.edu, Office of Integrated University Communication
Students from Denver's Cole Middle School visited the Auraria Campus on July 22 to learn about sustainability research being done at CU Denver.
Cole is a Denver School of Science and Technology (DSST) that has a focus in sustainability. This group of 160 students represents the DSST inaugural 6th grade cohort. Their visit to campus culminated their month-long summer school and kicked off a partnership between the school and the university.
CU Associate Professor Doris Kimbrough, PhD, chemistry, outlined the day's agenda directing these young students to rotate through 'learning stations' to see different projects.
“Anytime we have kids on campus I think it’s just enormous for them,” said Kimbrough. “How could you not [like them]? Look how enthusiastic they are!”
At each learning station, the young students worked with univerity students and faculty to understand projects that could improve the way cities are built and how resources are managed.
In keeping with the theme, Auraria Campus Planner Jill Golich noted, “This is really one of the most sustainable campuses in the nation. The electricity used at the Auraria Campus is completely offset by wind credits."
At one of the learning stations, university student Pedro Garcia demonstrated wind power.
Ken Bettenhausen, PhD, associate professor, Business School taught them how to calculate an organization's carbon footprint.
Civil Engineering Assistant Professor Stephen Durham, PhD, displayed and discussed a new asphalt mixture that stays cooler and improves water drainage.
Associated Professor Greg Cronin, Integrative Biology, focused on a the agricultural method called aquaponics or growing food without soil, little water and little space.
“Engineers are visual learners,” said station leader Adam Kardos. “I think it’s fantastic that they’re exposing them to this information at their age because it can really drive an interest in the sciences.”
By seeing the frontier of sustainability research at CU Denver, the students from Cole Middle School may be inspired to be pioneers in the field themselves and bring new ideas to American sciences.
Parent and chaperone John Schweyer observed that when he was school aged he would have valued such an opportunity. “I think it’s an absolutely wonderful experience,” Schwuyer said. “I spoke with [my son] after we left the last demonstration and it was wonderful.”