Upcoming Events

Interconnections – Earth Week Schedule, Spring 2016

Previous Events

Interconnections – Earth Week Festival, Spring 2014

Earth Week Research and Arts Festival, Spring 2013

Sustainability Research Workshop, Fall 2012

Lecture: Redefining the Grocery Store for Local Food
Apr 25 @ 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm

Ben Greene, founder of the Farmery, an urban farm, market and cafe, will talk about his vision for a grocery and cafe that grows and sells food at the same site. The Farmery consolidates the entire food distribution system into a single site, creating a new standard for local food. At the Farmery, customers can witness and participate in the growth and harvest of their food as they shop.

Film and Discussion: Bhopali
Apr 25 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Bhopali is a documentary about the 1984 Union Carbide gas disaster in Bhopal, India, drawing out the enduring impacts of exposure to toxic chemicals and questions about corporate and government responsibility. Film by Van Maximilian Carlson.

Film and Discussion: Triple Divide
Apr 25 @ 11:00 pm – Apr 26 @ 1:00 am
Film and Discussion: Triple Divide @ CBIS Auditorium | Troy | New York | United States

Join us for a screening of “the best documentary about fracking”, followed by a discussion with filmmakers Joshua Pribanic and Melissa Troutman.


“Triple Divide is said to be the only documentary of its kind on the controversial subject of fracking capable of speaking to all sides, with exclusive interviews from the industry, experts, and Americans suffering in the wake of shale gas development. “It’s the best movie on fracking to date [using] facts, not fiction or spin” wrote Pennsylvania resident, Robert Donnan. Academy Award nominated actor Mark Ruffalo co-narrates the film, taking part in the project after being shown an online screener a few weeks before the final release. The film is co-directed by journalists Joshua Pribanic & Melissa Troutman.

The 90-minute documentary is a project by, a Pennsylvania based nonprofit organization. Triple Divide is built on evidence from cradle-to-grave investigations that attempt to answer the question, “How are state regulations and industry handling impacts from fracking?” Throughout the film’s 10 chapters, which cover waste, class II injection wells, drinking water contamination, split-estates, the “pre-drill test scandal”, and the “pressure bulb” are on the ground accounts of hair-raising journalism.

Hard-hitting, Triple Divide is also fair. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is highlighted in the film for weakly enforced regulations, but “the head of ‘Oil & Gas’ at DEP, Scott Perry, told me he’s seen the film and it’s very well done,” said Troutman. “This attests to Public Herald’s journalistic integrity and ability to reach both ends of the public spectrum: community members and heads of state.”

The film reveals how water contamination is being covered up by the industry and the state, essentially rewriting water quality history in the United States by dismissing predrill tests. Meanwhile, state regulators are using compliance as a means of regulating without enforcing the law, abandoning the public in the wake of shale gas development.”

Description and image from:

Demonstration: Citizens’ Water Monitoring Lights Up
Apr 26 @ 1:00 am – 2:30 am

Anthropologist and tech-innovator Sara Wylie (Northeastern Environmental Health Research Institute), working with tech-innovators in the Troy community, will demonstrate technologies developed to help citizens monitor water quality at low cost. Thermal-sensing fishing bobs will be floated in Robison Pool around islands of ice, and photographed when they light up. Temperature differentials can point to pollution plumes in water.

Earth Week Finale Festival
Apr 26 @ 3:00 pm – 9:00 pm

EW Saturday Poster April 9


Rensselaer’s Earth Week Festival Finale will celebrate Interconnections – between students of different ages, between students and sustainability professionals, between the university and the Troy community.  The afternoon will feature:

  • Performances
  • Games
  • Educational Demos
  • Food
  • Films
  • Discussions
  • A Green Careers Meet and Greet

The Festival Finale will showcase and celebrate teaching and research focused on environmental sustainability, and RPI students will run kiosks for kids to share their excitement and knowledge about an array of environmental topics.  There will be performances by jugglers, parkour athletes, and music ensembles, a green career meet-and-greet, and a screening of the film, Bidder 70, followed by a discussion run by RPI students about intergenerational ethics and environmental activism.


The Festival Finale will be at the RPI Student Union on 15th Street.  All activities will be free and open to the public.

Talk: Terike Haapoja – A View From Nowhere – tracing the animal perspective
Oct 2 @ 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Talk: Terike Haapoja - A View From Nowhere - tracing the animal perspective @ Room 211 | Troy | New York | United States

Terike Haapoja is a Finnish -born visual artist, currently based in Berlin. Having a specific focus in how the non-human world and its inhabitants are represented in our society, Haapoja’s installations, writings and research investigate the concepts of otherness, community and corporeality. Haapoja’s work has been widely exhibited internationally, and she represented Finland in the Venice biennale 2013.

In her talk Haapoja will discuss two ongoing projects that look at the status and visibility of non-human perspectives in the society.

The History of Others, a collaboration with writer Laura Gustafsson, is a large scale art and research project investigating cultural history from the perspective of other species.

The first part of the project, The Museum of the History of Cattle, was launched in 2013, followed by a publication in the fall 2014. The museum is the first ethnographic museum portraying the cultural history or a non-human species. Existing in the borderline between art and reality, the installation aims at transforming reality into a place where non-human perspectives are acknowledged, while at the same time making visible the human-centeredness of history itself.

The absence of non-human perspective in our society becomes visible when looking at the existing legislation and the way in which non-humans are described in law. The Trial is a participatory performance, directed by Haapoja & Gustafsson, that investigates animals in legislation. Built as a trial where the spectators play different roles, the performance re-enacts criminal cases involving animals by giving them legal representation. The performance looks at the history of the development of a legal subject as a key concept of a modern state, medieval animal trials, and the relationship of the rights of animals with the battles for rights for slaves, women or other repressed groups.

More information:

Sponsored by Rensselaer, iEAR Presents, NYSCA


Meeting: Capital Region Sustainability Educators’ Working Group
Oct 5 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Meeting: Capital Region Sustainability Educators' Working Group @ Radix Center/Campus South Center | Albany | New York | United States

Meetings of sustainability educators in the Capitol Region are opportunities to make new connections, learn about initiatives in the region, and discuss potential collaboration. All interested in environmental and sustainability education are welcome.
The meeting on Sunday, October 5 will convene in Albany, first at the Radix Center, then across the street at the new Campus South Center.

Radix is an urban environmental education center featuring a demonstration site of sustainable tools and technologies. These include a passive solar greenhouse, aquaponics, rain water collection, microlivestock, composting, and renewable energy systems. Director Scott Kellogg will lead a tour of the facility and describe opportunities for teacher training and school visits, and ways sustainable technologies can be integrated into classrooms and k-12 school campuses. See this short video about the Radix Center.

The Campus South Center is a new, HUD-funded community education facility offering a unique mix of courses and programs. After a brief tour by Director James Thomas, we will meet in a classroom in the Center to discuss on-going and new initiatives of the Capital Region Sustainability Network, including the following:

  • A Capitol Region Sustainability Field Trip Map and Passport.
  • The U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon K-12 Schools Program, with
  • college interns to help with reporting and program development.
  • Roving Sustainability Educators Program (akin to artists-in-the-schools programs).
  • Sustainability Curriculum Development and Sharing.


Since early 2012, the New York State Sustainability Educators’ Working Group has convened to advance sustainability education across the state, P-16 (preschool through college). Regions were asked to form working groups. In late 2013, a Capitol Region Sustainability Educators’ Working Group was formed; RPI’s EcoEd Research Group has served as convener. Co

Talk: Amy Franceschini – Future Farmers
Oct 16 @ 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Talk: Amy Franceschini - Future Farmers @ Room 211 | Troy | New York | United States

Futurefarmers is a group of diverse practitioners aligned through an interest in making work that is relevant to the time and place surrounding us. Founded in 1995, the design studio serves as a platform to support art projects, an artist in residence program and our research interests. They are artists, researchers, designers, architects, scientists and farmers with a common interest in creating frameworks for exchange that catalyze moments of “not knowing”.

While they collaborate with scientists and are interested in scientific inquiry, they want to ask questions more openly. Through participatory projects, they create spaces and experiences where the logic of a situation disappears – encounters occur that broaden, rather than narrow perspectives, i.e. reductionist science.

They use various media to create work that has the potential to destabilize logics of “certainty”. They deconstruct systems such as food policies, public transportation and rural farming networks to visualize and understand their intrinsic logics. Through this disassembly new narratives emerge that reconfigure the principles that once dominated these systems. Their work often provides a playful entry point and tools for participants to gain insight into deeper fields of inquiry- not only to imagine, but to participate in and initiate change in the places we live. –

Sponsored by Rensselaer, iEAR Presents, NYSCA, NEA, The Sanctuary for Independent Media

Talk: Heather Davis – Plastic: An Ethology of Oil
Nov 6 @ 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Talk: Heather Davis – Plastic: An Ethology of Oil @ Room 211 | Troy | New York | United States

From airplanes to medical technologies to the containers that surround food shipped from across the world to our phones and computers, so many of the intimate and extraneous objects of our contemporary lives are made of plastic. This material is so ubiquitous that it belies its recent creation. As many critics have argued, we are now living in the age of plastic. Indeed, it has become the material substrate of advanced capitalism, the medium through which our dependency on oil permeates into the fabric of our everyday lives, surrounding and enveloping us with its smooth touch.

This talk will address the historical emergence of plastic and the ways in which it shapes advanced capitalism. Thinking of plastic as a medium through which we can understand globalization and our relationship with oil, I will trace plastic’s ethology, its movements and behaviors in the world to begin to untangle these interconnections.

Heather Davis is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute for the Arts and Humanities at Pennsylvania State University. She is working on a project that traces the materiality of plastic as it relates to the philosophical divide of the subject and object. She is the editor of Art in the Anthropocene: Encounters Among Politics, Aesthetics, Environment and Epistemology (Ann Arbor: Open Humanities Press, forthcoming 2014) and has written widely for art and academic journals. Her writing is collected at:

Sponsored by Rensselaer, iEAR Presents, NYSCA, NEA, The Sanctuary for Independent Media

RPI 2016 Earth Week Kick-Off
Apr 16 @ 9:30 am – 5:30 pm



 Saturday, April 16, 9:30-5:30

RPI 2016 Earth Week Kick-Off Saturday

RPI Student Union, 15th Street and Sage, Troy

RPI’s 2016 Earth Week Kick-Off Saturday, April 16, will celebrate and showcase environmental education and stewardship – welcoming kids, families and the entire community.  There will be music and dance performances, workshops, games, sports activities, and learning kiosks. Food will be available in the Union and at food trucks on 15th Street.   All events are free and open to the public.

Workshops will run 10am-2pm, with drumming and dance workshop participants coming together for a public performance at 2pm. Throughout, educational kiosks will be open – focused on trees of New York (with the US Forest Service), invasive plants (Frear Park Conservancy), recycled art, and an array of other topics.  All attending will be encourage to vote for the environment in our Earth Week Voting Booth.  An EcoPrincess area will have activities especially designed for younger kids.

Register for workshops here (individually or in groups).  All workshops are free, and open to kids of all ages.  No prior experience is assumed.  Early registration highly encouraged.   Please indicate ages, number of registrants, and available times so that we can form appropriate workshop groups.  Follow up emails will be sent to confirm registration.

At 2:30, live music will continue, with Partial Credit, Adirondack Whaling Company, Hunter (Alex Simon), Louis-Xavier Barrette, Michael Murphy, Sofia Jacobs, James Bohusk.


Workshop Descriptions


With Joelle Woodson

Starting at 10am, 11am, 12pm, & 1pm (45 minute workshop)

Learn about environmental problems and sustainability solutions through a variety of acting and improv exercises! Working with a script, participants will learn to think through and act out environmental issues affecting their own communities.  


Recycled Drumming

With Brandon Costelloe-Kuehn

Starting at 12pm & 1pm (45 minute workshop)

Participants in this workshop will learn basic rhythmic patterns using a variety of “trash” materials. We will work on a number of skills that are equally handy in drumming and in designing sustainability solutions, including improvisation, listening and dynamics.  At 2:00, all workshop participants will come together for a public performance.



With Lindsay Poirier

Starting at 10am, 11am, 12pm, & 1pm (45 minute workshop)

Participants in this workshop will learn a dance inspired by RPI’s 2016  Earth Week theme, Interconnections.  At 2:00, all workshop participants will come together for a public performance.  Comfortable shoes and clothes are encouraged.


Airful! Creative Writing

With SustEd

Starting at 10am, 11am, 12pm, & 1pm (45 minute workshop)

Participants in this workshop will learn about many causes and consequences of air pollution, then write and illustrate a picture book that shares the lessons with others.


Airful! Math 

With SustEd

Starting at 10am, 11am, 12pm, & 1pm (30 minute workshop)

Participants in this workshop will work through a series of air pollution math problems, learning how important math is in environmental science, engineering and protection.  The workshop will end with a round of “Air Pollution Twister”!


Recycled Fashion Challenge! 

With the Society for Environmental Professionals

Starting at 10am, 11am, 12pm, & 1pm (30 minute workshop)

Participants in this workshop will design high fashion outfits using recycled materials then pose for photographs.



Sponsored by RPI’s Department of Science and Technology Studies, collaborating with the Vasudha Living and Learning Program, RPI EcoEd (K-12 Outreach Program),  and student clubs: Students’ Sustainability Task Force, Terra Café, EcoLogic, Society for Environmental Professionals.  Ground Zero Basement.  Contact: Professor Kim Fortun,