AU Press Releases

Two share 2010 Richard V. Bergren Jr. Student Innovation Award

Alfred University has awarded two students the 2010 Richard V. Bergren Jr. Student Innovation Award for their work on projects that seek to improve the quality of life for the Alfred community, faculty, and/or students.

This year’s winning projects include a bike hub rental and storage program and raising awareness for the Women’s Issues Coalition.

Honorees this year are seniors Ian Cramer, an athletics training major from Red Creek, and Ana Devlin Gauthier, an environmental science major from New Salem, MA.

The Student Innovation Award Committee has the discretion to award more than one first-place award, as it did this year. Each first-place award carries a $500 cash prize for the student(s).

The Innovation Award was created by the University trustees in 1995 to recognize a student, or group of students, who found a need within the Alfred community and developed a solution with a lasting impact. The efforts may improve the quality of life of any Alfred constituency including, but not limited to, students, staff, alumni, or members of the surrounding community. The award is presented annually at the May Board of Trustees dinner on campus.

Cramer, recognizing a need to raise awareness in health-related areas, created the Alfred Bike Hub, a bicycle lending and storage program for students. Bike riding supports the ultimate in sustainable energy, while it promotes over-all health and well-being in individuals. This program also recognizes that some students have a harder time bringing bikes to school than others. With this new program, students have the opportunity to have both short or long-term use and winter storage.

As co-president of the Women’s Issues Coalition, Devlin Gauthier recognized a number of different issues worth tackling: domestic violence, sexual abuse, breast cancer, self-confidence, and portrayal in the media.

In answer to these needs, she staged a production of Eve Enslers’ “The Vagina Monologues” a play depicting various issues facing women and girls around the world; instituted a clothesline exhibit which displayed illustrated shirts describing women’s issues; and coordinated a “Take Back the Night” rally that raised awareness about domestic violence. Her final project was AU’s first-ever “implied nudity” calendar. Student club members posed nude with props from their respective club covering certain areas of their anatomy. Proceeds from the sales will help improve those clubs which participated.

Each year, the director of Student Activities seeks nominations for the Innovation Award from the entire campus. Nominated students complete a written interview regarding their efforts. A four-member committee — vice president of Student Affairs, trustee chairman of the Student Affairs Committee, Student Senate president, director of Student Activities – reviews and ranks the nominees. The committee then recommends a nominee(s) to be approved by the trustee Student Affairs Committee.

Other nominees for this year’s Alfred University Bergren Student Innovation Award include:

— Allison Craver, an art & design major from East Aurora, who with the Alfred Clay Collective collaborated with the Ceramics Department to initiate a reduced, three-day-per week (ceramics) firing schedule and also fired work at lower temperatures. They also recycled over 4,000 pounds of clay during the summer and resold it to artists through the clay store.

— Kevin Kostyk, an English major from Tabernacle, NJ, who with the support of the Student Senate, created a student lounge on the first floor of the Powell Campus Center. The purple-painted hangout includes a pool table, air hockey game, ping-pong table, big-screen television, computer station, and a growing collection of retro arcade games.

— Sam Newman, an art & design major from Lewis Center, Ohio who saw a need for simple, comprehensible, approachable information about alternative energy and sustainability. He created two systems (a solar panel-battery system and a wind turbine) and presented community workshops intended to foster conversation and open the door to individual discovery.

— Kacie Dean, an environmental science major from Wilsonville, OR who worked with the Green Alfred Club and Residence Life to improve the quality and quantity of recycling in the campus residence halls.

— Brandon Parrish, an accounting major from Muncy, PA who researched and recommended a digital resume packet for prospective employers that saves money and the environment. He also initiated an effort to give students etiquette tips for interviewing during cocktail hour.

— Vreni Gust, an art & design major from Westford, MA who developed a plan for a native plant garden in the front of Binns-Merrill Hall. Her research included design for the garden, consultation on possible plants, and identifying butterflies that the garden might attract.

— Thomas Fleming, a communication studies major from Penn Yan, who with the Fiat Lux (student newspaper) news staff, used live blogging to report on time-sensitive issues such as the a Main Street, Alfred fire last fall and campus budget reductions. Many alumni cited the Fiat website as their way to reconnect with the AU campus.

— Cindy Kelly, an art & design major from Hornell who leads her fellow students in regularly scheduled yoga practice. Her wish is for all members to find balance, strength, and focus while at Alfred University.

— Stephen Rooney, an art & design major from Montclair, NJ who has been involved in the collection of recyclable art materials for the school’s REPO Center. He incorporates this material into his artwork and sets an eco-conscious example for fellow artists.