Advanced Math/Science Research Update

by Dr. April Burch, Director of the AMSR program

January 15, 2013

Since our last update, Berkshire School hosted student researchers from Belmont Hill, and all-boys prep school outside of Boston, for a 1-day mini-symposium on Student Biomedical Research. The goal was to foster collaboration, communication and community outreach with our students.  AMSR students Liza Bernstein '13, Sissi Wang '13, Lars Robinson '13, Elsie Guevara '13, Ernest Yue '13, and Nate MacKenzie '14, gave short talks about their work in the new Bellas/Dixon Math and Science lecture hall. The talks were followed up by break-out sessions where Belmont Hill students described their research projects and students discussed commonalities between the projects and future goals.

The second semester of AMSR started with some terrific news. The AMSR program was awarded a grant from The Chinchester Dupont Foundation for the purchase of an EVOS fluorescence microscope.  This piece of equipment will expand the types of experiments and analyses that can be done by AMSR students this and future years.  The microscope should arrive shortly, and Dr. Burch has invited everyone to stop in for a look next time they are on campus. 

One new, exciting project that is underway in the winter season of AMSR in the afternoons is being spearheaded by Elif Kesaf '14.  Elif is from Turkey and seeks to identify novel viruses of non-pathogenic strains of Legionella bacterium from travertines in Pamukkale. In collaboration with Dr. Sunny Shin at the Perlman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, she will be working to isolate viruses of this bacterium with the hope of identifying new agents to combat Legionnaires' disease caused by a pathogenic form of Legionella.

Look for more news from Dr. Burch in the next issue!

Billion Dollar Challenge
Posted 10/13/2011 09:46AM

BERKSHIRE SCHOOL JOINS LAUNCH OF $1 BILLION ‘GREEN CHALLENGE’


Berkshire School, Harvard, Stanford, Arizona State, and other leading colleges commit a total of $65 million to innovative energy efficiency financing initiative

PITTSBURGH, PA (Oct. 11, 2011)-- Berkshire School joined with 32 other leading institutions today to launch the Billion Dollar Green Challenge. The goal is to invest a cumulative total of one billion dollars in self-managed green revolving funds that finance energy efficiency upgrades on campus.

As part of the Founding Circle, Berkshire School has the distinction of being the only independent secondary school to take the lead in making this commitment. The Challenge is inspired by the exceptional performance of existing green revolving funds, which have a median annual return on investment of 32%, as documented by Greening The Bottom Line, a report published by the Sustainable Endowments Institute.

A bright spot in a rocky economy, these profitable investments are helping create green jobs in campus communities, while lowering operating costs on college and university campuses. "We expect the revolving loan fund to generate a high return on investment, lower our scope I and scope II carbon emissions, and provide our students with a great learning opportunity," said Frank Barros, Director of Sustainability at Berkshire.


“We’re transforming energy efficiency upgrades from perceived expenses to high-return investment opportunities,” said Mark Orlowski, executive director of the Sustainable Endowments Institute, which is coordinating The Challenge along with 13 partner organizations. “Berkshire School should be commended for rising to The Challenge and investing in energy efficiency improvements on campus.”

The Billion Dollar Green Challenge launched publicly on October 11 at the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education conference in Pittsburgh. With more than 2,500 participants, including representatives of Berkshire School, the conference was the largest gathering to date on higher education sustainability.

“The Billion Dollar Green Challenge asks our higher education systems to invest in green revolving funds to support the campus sustainability movement. AASHE supports the Challenge in that these funds will help institutions become more sustainable and will help the higher education community understand the commitment they are making to a just and sustainable future” said Paul Rowland, Executive Director, of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.

In advance of the launch, 33 institutions, including Berkshire School, have already joined The Challenge’s Founding Circle by committing to invest a cumulative total of more than $65 million in green revolving funds. In addition to Harvard, Stanford and ASU, other Founding Circle institutions include Caltech, Dartmouth, George Washington, Middlebury, the University of British Columbia, and Weber State University. (See complete list here)

Several Founding Circle schools have already established funds and are enthusiastic about the benefits. Harvard’s Office for Sustainability Director Heather Henriksen said, “The Green Loan Fund has generated high returns on investment, while improving Harvard's environmental impact and our bottom line." Endowment investments, operating funds and alumni donations have all been used to establish green revolving funds at institutions across the country.

Guided by a 34-member expert advisory council, The Billion Dollar Green Challenge offers technical assistance, best practices sharing, access to an advanced web-based tool for managing green revolving funds, peer institutions' project-specific data and invitations to specialized webinars and conferences.

The Billion Dollar Green Challenge has received financial support from the David Rockefeller Fund, HOK, John Merck Fund, Kresge Foundation, Merck Family Fund, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Roy A. Hunt Foundation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Power Partnership, and the Wallace Global Fund.

Please visit www.GreenBillion.org for more information.

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