The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Student sustainability showcase to feature diverse exhibits

A series of research posters, readings, and other media will highlight research on sustainability.

In tune with the University of Iowa Theme Semester of “Climate for Change,” students have prepared to showcase their research on sustainability and the environment.

The Student Sustainability Showcase will be held in the Voxman Music Building from noon to 5 p.m. today.

The free public event will go beyond traditional research papers and include exhibitions of posters, creative-writing readings, and visual and performing arts.

Ph.D. candidate student Gonzalo Campillo-Alvarado, who will be one of the presenters at Voxman, will present his research group’s work on “green chemistry.” The motivation was to develop chemical reactions with the minimal amount of solvent.

The research was conducted by members of the Chemistry Department’s MacGillivray Research Group, a collection of graduate and undergraduate students in collaboration with professors.

Campillo-Alvardo said the Chemistry Department is engaged in teaching students more about sustainability and green chemistry. The department is working to create more sustainable models and methods to create a more sustainable chemistry for a healthier environment, he said.

Undergraduate student Zhiting “Jack” Feng presented part of the research at the Spring Undergraduate Research Festival on Wednesday. His work will be included in Campillo-Alvardo’s talk at the showcase.

Undergraduate researcher Alexis Brannan also presented research part of Campillo-Alvarado’s talk at the undergrad event.

“We’ve succeeded in ensuring our research work is sustainable and environmentally friendly,” Feng said. “That is very important for the pharmaceutical industry; we can make things easier for them.”

Green chemistry is gaining traction with 21st-century chemists. Feng researched solid-state reactions, one of the kinds of reactions in chemistry that require little to no solvent, resulting in reduced costs for the chemists and low quantities of waste in a more sustainable reaction.

Assistant Dean Dian Gottlob, a founding member of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Committee on Sustainability and the Environment, said in an email to The Daily Iowan that the showcase was organized to offer a venue for student sustainability projects, a positive message as well as highlighting work that will empower students, faculty, staff, and the community.

“After this event, I hope that more people will realize that no matter what they choose to do in life, sustainability is and should be at the forefront of this generation as well as generations to come,” Gottlob wrote in an email to the DI.

The showcase will also offer a panel-led breakout session in the afternoon called “Sustainable Activism.” The panel will feature Phil Forbes, CEO of Kalona SuperNatural: Grass-fed, Organic Mild Products, and Eric Holthaus, sustainability coordinator for the city of Cedar Rapids.

Gottlob said they will share their stories about sustainability with students and discuss positive engagement during difficult times and show the students different ways to partake in environmental activism.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Andy Mitchell, Digital Producer
Andy Mitchell is a digital producer and designer at The Daily Iowan. He is a senior at the University of Iowa studying journalism and media informatics.