Environmental Science Majors Find Green Solutions for Earth Day

The School of Science and CURES to host events beginning on April 15.

Students enrolled in the newly launched Environmental Science program at Manhattan College will be taking a new approach this week to their studies by learning how to convert discarded eggshells into biodiesel fuel, among other eco-friendly skills, with a series of events for Earth Day.

The festivities are scheduled to begin on Wednesday, April 15, with an Earth Week Seminar on how to remove metals from groundwater. Taking place in room 409, Hayden Hall from 12 –1 p.m., the lecture will be conducted by Spiro Alexandratos, Ph.D., who is an environmental chemistry professor at Hunter College.

Yelda Balkir, Ph.D., the director of Manhattan’s interdisciplinary environmental science program, says there’s something that will interest everyone on campus.

“Environmental issues concern everybody, from climate change to clean water,” says Balkir, who also directs The Center for Urban Resilience and Environmental Sustainability (CURES), an on-campus organization that leads community outreach in sustainability and environmental justice. 

Following Wednesday’s Earth Week Seminar will be a gathering of Manhattan’s Recycling Committee on April 17 and a plant-potting activity on April 22 on the Quad.

Balkir stresses that the community’s involvement in environmental sustainability should not just be limited to Earth Day, but every day.

“We all need to understand what’s going on in our world, and be aware of not only the different situations that are currently at hand, but also the solutions,” says Balkir.

In addition to heading up this week’s events, students in the Environmental Science program are preparing to present their findings on ways of turning daily-used items into energy at conferences throughout the next few weeks.

For one particular assignment, they have collected waste oil from campus dining halls and Starbucks coffee, and have converted it into biodiesel fuel. What’s left over can be used on farms as fertilizer, Balkir notes.

“It’s important for the students to go out and speak about what they’ve learned, and also to see what others are doing,” she said of their involvement in the upcoming conferences.

Learn more about the Environmental Science program at Manhattan College.