I’ve also just learned that research scientist Craig Downs has been invited by NOAA to research the impact of the oil spill on corals. (Here‘s an interesting piece about another project Dr. Downs is involved in in Great Britain.) He’ll be taking one of our summer research program students down to the site to assist with sample collection very soon.
I’m always proud to see our faculty addressing the public on important issues and applying their expertise to current developments. While the primary responsibility of an academic institution is, of course, to educate its students, colleges and universities also have a real and important responsibility to educate the non-academic public and to advance public understanding of urgent topics.
Sometimes our students, jokingly and affectionately, talk about being on campus as being “in the pink bubble,” and I know exactly what they mean when they say that! But of course, in truth Sweet Briar isn’t in a bubble at all: the College is part of an active cultural and intellectual community. Our programs and our faculty address audiences across the region, state, and nation. Our faculty are responding to the oil spill in the Gulf, contributing their expertise to addressing the problem and educating the public about its implications: good scientists, good teachers, and good citizens.