What If Innovation Fair at Temple University

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The 2017 What If Innovation Festival is a two-part event that began with a ‘Tower Takeover’ at the Bell Tower. This event showcased innovation from Temple students, alumni, and entrepreneurs in the Philadelphia community. The vendors at the festival showcased businesses that varied in technologies, businesses, music, non-profits, and visual arts.

Jacob Andrews, one the head festival coordinators, said, “The main goal of the What If Innovation Festival is to foster and cultivate entrepreneurship and letting students see all of the resources available to them that Temple provides and that Philadelphia has open for students. So really the whole goal of the event is for students to meet with other students that are like-minded and then they’ll be able to come together and start their own companies.”

The festival vendors were excited to take advantage of the platform provided by the What If Festival to spread awareness and increase membership for their organizations.

Vendors hoped to recruit students.

One vendor at the festival said, “What we’re doing here today at the Innovation Fair is kind of trying to market our club on campus to get new members interested and start asking questions towards the tail end of their freshmen year and trying to get the campus and community excited about the engineering and innovation going on, on campus.”

Andrews also shared that this innovation festival is unique because the What If Innovation, “it was started by students that have been involved in starting their own companies and are very involved in Philadelphia entrepreneurial communities, so I think that helps a lot because it really gives students an understanding of what it’s really like.”

Along with the opportunity for students and festival participants to network and engage at the Bell Tower, there was also a second part to the festival where local industry leaders and innovators will be discussing the stages of innovation, which included ideation, funding, & sustainable growth. This Lightning Speaking Panel series followed the Tower Takeover at Mitten Hall that night from 6-8:30 pm.

Temple Hopes to Hit Recycling Goals

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Recycle Mania is a ten week-long nationwide competition between colleges and universities to reduce the most waste on their campuses and increase campus recycling rates.

Temple is competing in the total recycling division, where the university is ranked number #2 in Pennsylvania,  and plans to make a goal of 350,000 pounds of recyclables this year. With weeks left in the competition, the university is a little less than half way to its goal.

The university set an ambitious goal this year, but has already performed better in the tournament this year than it did last year.

On March 30th, next Thursday, from 1pm to 5pm, the Office of Sustainability will be hosting a Dumpster & Waste Audit that will feature the artwork of Megan Clement at the Bell Tower. Clement won a design contest held by the office, and while she is painting the dumpster event. participants will simultaneously pick through the dumpster to find recyclable materials.

Emily E Cornuet, Recycling Coordinator, says that one of her goals for the Office of Sustainability this year is to get recycling bins into every residence hall room on campus. Currently, there are recycling bins in about 2,200 rooms, which make up just about half of campus. She also wants to continue to engage as many Temple University students as possible.

Cornuet and Kathleen Grady, Director of Sustainability, both emphasized how small and simple behavioral changes can make a big difference. They both recommended that students begin by simply using reusable water bottles and coffee mugs. Not only does the use of these items reduce waste, but they also offer an opportunity to save money.

Cornuet says, “Reducing waste is always better than creating more recyclable materials.”

The Office of Sustainability also has the Temple Office Supply Swap Program. This is a program that collects donations of old office supplies around campus and makes them available for reuse by students and faculty.

Cornuet reaffirms that, “Reuse is a huge thing that we’re trying to push” at the Office of Sustainability.

College of Engineering Partnership with PennDot

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Since 2009 there has been an ongoing project to widen highway I-95.

One of the most recent developments in the project is the new partnership formed between researchers from Temple University’s College of Engineering and Pennsylvania’s Department of Transportation.

Dr. Erica McKenzie

The I-95 project includes researchers and students in multiple disciplines within Temple University and Villanova. Outside of the College of Engineering, there are also professors contributing to this research from the department of Earth and Environmental Science.

The partnership between PennDOT and university researchers is the first infrastructure project of it’s kind due to the high level of the researchers’ involvement the development of the new highway.

The construction on I-95 will require a new storm water management system that was not built for the previously existing highway. This partnership aims to find better ways to manage storm water runoff from the I-95 expressway.

Dr. Erica McKenzie, who is an assistant professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, is currently one of the professors contributing to this research.

She and her students are studying how trace metals that can be found in exist in storm water from road runoff, such as the copper from brakes, zinc from the tire composite, and materials used in de-icing techniques on highways effect their surrounding environments.

Along with this, Dr. McKenzie and her students are also trying to find out how quickly these metals are entering storm water in order to figure out how to manage their presence in these environments.

One of Dr. Kenzie’s graduate students, John Kelley says that using the data they collect will allow them “to calibrate a model that we can use to hopefully predict how these bumps will perform given a certain storm event.”

Dr. McKenzie says one of the most exciting aspects of this research project is the future response from Philadelphia’s citizens on the move and developments towards green infrastructure.

Philadelphia’s Millennial Advisory Committee

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The Philadelphia Mayor’s Office has recently named the newest members of the Millennial Advisory Committee.

After more than 400 online submissions were received for the committee, there were 20 individuals chosen to become a part of the panel. Members of the committee include a diverse panel of Philadelphians ranging in ages 23 to 34 years old. Each will serve for a term of one year.

This committee will work alongside the mayor’s office to develop city policy to create more engagement within the large millennial community in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia currently has one of the largest millennial populations on the east coast and this committee will also be one of the first of its kind in any major city in the country. The Millennial Advisory Committee was founded by the Managing Director’s Office under former managing director Rich Negrin, who is now a candidate for district attorney.

Millennial Advisory Committee 2017

One of the candidates serving on this committee is Temple University Alumni Raymond Smeriglio, who is also currently the Assistant Director of Temple University’s Athletics Development.

“It really made sense in a lot of ways to give back in this way. I love government. I think it has a great impact on its citizens and be involved in any way was really impactful and this was a really cool way to get involved with the city of Philadelphia and the mayor’s office,” said Smeriglio.

Like Smeriglio, the committee aims to not only get committee members involved in city issues but the entire millennial community as a whole.

“Millennials are one of the largest generational groups in the city and yet our voting rate is about 17%. We are going to look at various issues that affect millennials, that effect their positions in the city and whether or not they stay in the city and how we can continue to keep the millennial coming and staying here,” said Nicole Allen White, the chair of the committee.

The Millennial Advisory Committee will meet monthly in locations throughout the city. A few of those meetings will be open to the public of all ages and millennials in Philadelphia are encouraged to come and join the conversation.