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

Earth Week Kiosks
Apr 19 – Apr 22 all-day


Ecovative’s environmentally responsible products (100% renewable, and primarily made from agricultural byproducts ) can replace materials ranging from petroleum based expanded plastics (like StyrofoamTM) to particle board made using carcinogenic formaldehyde. We don’t manufacture these materials, we grow them. We grow them from agricultural byproducts and mycelium, a fungal network of threadlike cells. It’s like the “roots” of mushrooms. In 5 – 7 days, in the dark, with no watering, and no petrochemical inputs, the mycelium digests the agricultural byproducts, binding them into a beautiful structural material. The mycelium acts like a natural, self-assembling glue.

Ocean Fossils Research global-warming/

The Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) is an international research program that explores the history and structure of Earth as recorded in seafloor sediments and rocks. IODP has revolutionized our view of Earth history and global processes through ocean basin exploration. Professor of Earth and Environmental Engineering Mimi Katz (RPI Dept. of Earth and Environmental Sciences) has sailed on 6 IODP expeditions. She and her students at RPI reconstruct past ocean and climate conditions using microfossils and sediments recovered by the IODP.

Fracking Our Future

“Fracking Our Future” gives voice to people in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio impacted by rapid expansion of the shale gas industry, highlighting effects on human health and everyday life. Realizing that scientific assessments take years to complete—time insufficient to avoid unfolding environmental disaster, geomicrobiologist Yuri Gorby returns to his childhood home to shine light on those struggling to survive amidst toxic gases and contaminated fluids within one mile of well pads, compressor stations, cryogenic separators, crystalline silica mines and transport stations. “Fracking Our Future” reveals the vulnerability of citizens who are being sacrificed for profits by a globally destructive industry, in this eloquent call for action. Directors: Branda Miller and Elizabeth Press. Additional research: Kim Fortun. Additional production: Kathy High, Lydia Campis, Nathan Fullerton.

The Fracking Files

Escalating investment in natural gas extraction over the last few years has provoked sharp debate, and also extensive research into associated risks. Studies have examined the technologies and processes used in shale gas extraction, the extensive infrastructure required, economic implications at local, national and international levels, and impacts on soil, air, water, human health and social life. This photo essay draws on recent research to point to issues that deserve consideration by government, researchers, educators and the public as we plan our energy future. The photo essay is an on-going project of Rensselaer’s Fracking Research Group []. The group includes undergraduates Matai Blacklock (photo essay co-lead), Ernesto Villasenor, Nate Radomski, Lisa McDevitt (photo essay co-lead), Greg Niguidula, Elizabeth Anderson, Orlando Hernandez, KJ Harmon, Nick Lawrence, and graduate students Jospeh DiLuzio, Karin Patze, Kirk Jalbert, and Pedro de la Torre III, assisted by Brandon Costelloe Kuehn. Faculty advisors: Kim Fortun (Department of Science and Technology Studies) and Yuri Gorby (Department of Environmental Engineering).

Witness to the Future

In this activist documentary, RPI Arts Professor Branda Miller exposes the realities of what she terms the ‘silent holocaust’: the poisoning of American citizens by chemical industries. Miller conducts case studies of three towns in Washington, Louisiana, and California. Residents give accounts of lives lost to cancer caused by exposure to nuclear waste and pesticides, as well as of their struggles with corporate and government agencies. Collaborating with her subjects, Miller produces a tool for education, empowerment, and resistance.

The Sanctuary for Independent Media

The Sanctuary for Independent Media is a telecommunications production facility dedicated to community media arts, located in an historic former church at 3361 6th Avenue in north Troy, NY. The Sanctuary hosts screening, production and performance facilities, training in media production and a meeting space for artists, activists and independent media makers of all kinds. Please get involved and volunteer!

The non-profit organization Media Alliance owns, operates and has offices in The Sanctuary for Independent Media, a century-old former church that has been re- purposed into a telecommunications production facility dedicated to community media arts. The Sanctuary for Independent Media is a place where community- engaged interdisciplinary artists experiment with aesthetic form and challenging content, with the overarching goal of shedding light on media arts’ vital role in the process of building a democratic society. The Sanctuary for Independent Media, located at 3361 6th Avenue in North Troy, hosts screening, production and performance facilities, and arts and education training in community media and media arts.

Troy Bike Rescue

TBR is a collective of bicycle enthusiasts committed to removing bikes from the waste stream, and putting them back into use. Join us as we build bicycle community through hands-on education. Please get involved and volunteer! Troy Bike Rescue is a collective of cycling enthusiasts committed to removing bikes from the waste stream and getting them back on the streets. We are part of an international movement of “community bike projects” – using bicycles to create community. We help to build bicycle community in the capital region through hands-on education. We accept donations of any bikes, parts, or tools. We are supported entirely by donations of time and money from individual patrons like you. Thank YOU! We always seek more people willing to give their time and energy in support of our goals. TBR is an all-volunteer project. Your support is appreciated!

The Asthma Files

Asthma incidence has increased dramatically in recent decades, making asthma one of the most common chronic diseases in the world. It is widely acknowledged that asthma incidence parallels social stratification, and that available models of causation cannot explain current rates. Researchers from many different disciplines and perspectives, in many different geographic and organizational contexts, have tried to figure asthma out, but it remains elusive. Asthma sufferers and caregivers also struggle daily to make sense of asthma, trying to understand the rhythms of incidence, triggers, and effective modes of care and prevention. The Asthma Files project brings perspectives from these different groups together, cultivating synergism and comparative perspective. The Asthma Files is an experimental and collaborative ethnographic project based in Rensselaer’s School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences. STS Faculty Mike Fortun and Kim Fortun lead the project. The Asthmatic Spaces photo essay initiative is led by Dr. Alison Kenner, with Tahereh Saheb, Ernesto Villasenor, Lisa McDevitt, Bree Mobley, Miki Takada and Brandon Costelloe-Kuehn.

Visualization of Water Monitoring

The Watershed Knowledge Mapping Project is a research study that examines efforts to monitor the impacts of Marcellus Shale natural gas development on surface water. A major objective of the project is to understand the social forces that lead to gaps in knowledge about the environmental impacts of industrial activity. RPI Science Technology Studies (STS) faculty member Abby Kinsey and STS PhD candidate Kirk Jalbert are among the team of researchers working on this project.

Tetherless World

Faculty member Dominic DiFranzo. We show how open government data can be linked together and visualized to help inform citizen on the condition of Constellation (TWC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) is a constellation of multidisciplinary researchers who study the scientific and engineering principles that underlie the Web, to enhance the Web’s reach beyond the desktop and laptop computer, and develops new technologies and languages that expand the capabilities of the Web under three themes: Future Web, Xinformatics and Semantic Foundations. TWC goals include making the next generation web natural to use while being responsive to the growing variety of policy, educational, societal, and scientific needs. Research areas include: web science, privacy, intellectual property, general compliance, Web-based medical and health systems, semantic escience, data-science, semantic data frameworks, next generation virtual observatories, semantic data and knowledge integration, ontologies, semantic rules and query, semantic applications, data and information visualization, and knowledge provenance, trust and explanation for science.

Student environmental activities: TERRA CAFÉ

The Terra Café is a service provided by RPI students to enhance the community of RPI while educating our peers of the benefits of supporting the local and organic movement. This full service, sit- down restaurant, is committed to serving local and organic foods. The Terra Café started as a student initiative first cooked up by members of EcoLogic, the environmental group on campus, and then turned into a PDI project in business planning. The Student Sustainability Task Force (SSTF) The Student Sustainability Task Force is a student-led organization devoted to promoting sustainability throughout campus by collaborating with various clubs, faculty, staff, and administration. We work to integrate sustainability into all aspects of campus life, including education, research, operations and culture. Engineers for a Sustainable World. ESW-RPI is a student-run organization at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute affiliated with Engineers for a Sustainable World. We are dedicated to combining the knowledge, skills, and experience of the RPI community to engineer solutions to social, environmental, and economic problems, both domestic and foreign, in the most sustainable way possible. Even in areas where sustainability may not immediately appear to be the problem, it is important to consider. This is demonstrated in high-profile projects conducted by other organizations, such as the provision of water pumps to African communities. Often, these pumps are highly-engineered, manufactured products that soon break in use and are not repairable by their users. As such, they are not a sustainable solution. We in Engineers for a Sustainable World endeavor to design solutions that will bring benefit over a great length of time, considering technological, social, and environmental limitations as they interrelate. We are not restricted to environmental projects, and we welcome all interested people, engineer or not.

The School of Architecture:

Architecture is faced with an ever-increasing focus on creating new forms of renewable energy, smart grids and coastal city solutions, computational engines, immersive environments, and ecologically sound building components for the 21st century, the profession of architecture has inherited a wealth of transdisciplinary priorities that calls out for a new era of creative inquiry and engagement.

Faculty Participants:
Ted Krueger: The project to extend the human sensorium holds out the promise of a richer perception, appreciation and understanding of the physical media in which we are immersed.

Zbigniew Oksiuta: “I am working on a vision of Biological Habitat. This research has primarily to do with membranes, self- organization and gravitation. The aim of this research is an extracted one-man universal biological self- replicating system. This system could have various sizes: the size of a cell, a pill, a fruit, a house, and even biosphere, and could exist and could exist in different surroundings: on earth, under the water and in space.” Selections include -Mesogloea, and Breeding Spaces Technology.

Jonas Braasch: Braasch’s research interests span binaural hearing, auditory modeling, multimodal integration, sensory substitution devices, aural architecture and creative processes in music improvisation. These are excerpts taken from the DVD collection entitled Sonic Territories, which investigates the various potential that various acoustic environments can provide.

Anna Dyson and Bess Krietemeyer: Dynamic Design Framework for Mediated Bioresponsive Building Envelopes: In contrast to existing dynamic glazing technologies, emerging display technologies have the potential to actively reconfigure their basic patterns to respond to fluctuating environmental flows while simultaneously adjusting to variable aesthetic preferences. The bioresponsive building envelope framework provides a simulation environment for simultaneously measuring and visualizing the performance of Electroactive Dynamic Display Systems (EDDS). This is achieved through new technological pathways that enable building designers and occupants to engage in the discourse and development of engineered environmental performance of building envelope systems through real-time performance feedback that informs adaptive decision-making.

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.