2016-2017 Recipients

Gemstone Team MELTS

Road salts are used wholesale to make roadways safer during the onset of winter storms. While sodium chloride in staple road salt is cheap, effective, and readily available, its use is associated with negative impacts on both the surrounding environment and infrastructure. As awareness of these issues continues to increase, the past few decades have seen a shift in perception, inspiring conscious efforts to decrease the amount of road salts applied.

Whole Earth Exhibition

This project brings the “Whole Earth” exhibition to the University of Maryland. As part of the Hard Rain project, the exhibition was launched in 2015 in the UK and Scandinavia by photographers Mark Edwards and Lloyd Timberline, and based on Bob Dylan’s poetic song “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall.” The exhibit highlights our planet’s environmental problems and potential solutions.

Recycling Receptacles in Old Town

This project seeks to enhance recycling behavior for University of Maryland students by installing recycling receptacles at five locations: Knox Road, Yale Avenue, Princeton Avenue, College Avenue, and around Old Town. Recycling receptacles at these locations will establish a much needed recycling infrastructure for over 5,000 students who walk these highly populated intersections of Old Town. Surrounding these intersections in Old Town are 12 sorority chapter houses and around 30 fraternity chapter and satellite houses that generate heavy traffic up and down the areas of focus.

Gemstone Team BACTERIA

This project will look at the use of three enzymes in preventing the clumping of hydrocarbons called asphaltenes during the oil refinement process when heavy crude oil needs to be transported through pipelines. Enzymes are easier to standardize experimentally, and potentially, easier to add in an in-situ application. This biological refinement of crude oil is also potentially more sustainable and can reduce the need for harsh chemical and heat treatments that result in tailings waste.

Gemstone Team OYSTERS

The current population of the Chesapeake Bay’s eastern oyster is rapidly declining, endangering the ecology of the bay and posing great economic risks for relevant stakeholders. Team Oysters will research a promising method known as electrolysis mineral accretion in generating artificial reef structures for oyster restoration. Undergoing a multi-stage process, the team will test oyster recruitment and growth rates and observe the ecological effects of artificial reef placement in the Chesapeake Bay.

Carbon Management Course

This project will create a new course, ENST 499X: Carbon Management. The University of Maryland does not currently offer a course that introduces students to greenhouse gas reduction strategies and opportunities to work in the field of carbon management. The proposed course would introduce students to the full range of carbon mitigation techniques including energy conservation, renewable energy generation, carbon capture and sequestration, etc.

Erosion Control for Pollinator Habitat Wall

The Entomology Department’s pollinator habitat wall located near the Arboretum Outreach Center and Byrd Stadium provides ample nesting substrate for Maryland’s 430+ species of wild bees. The majority of local bee species build tunnels below ground or in vertical clay surfaces such as the habitat wall. Because of this practice, the wall is in need of extensive erosion control to continue the environmental and education benefits of maintaining the habitat.

Voices of Social Change Spring Speaker

The Voices of Social Change spring 2017 lecture served as a launch-pad to invigorate student curiosity and individual research into the intersections between the environment and environmental activism. The Jean-Michel Cousteau Voices program on April 18, 2017 addressed how students could use their voice and vote in powerful ways exercising  their civic duty to best represent their individual positions on the salient issue of climate change. In addition, Mr.

Adaptive Reuse of Existing Buildings

This project will generate three renovation and adaptive-reuse strategies for three worst performed buildings on campus. The environmental impact reduction benefit of adaptive reuse will be quantified and used as a benchmark for any future projects. A comprehensive building performance improvement plan will be proposed for each building with the aim to improve the energy efficiency, materials conservation, carbon emission reduction, and occupancy wellbeing.


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