Category Archives: Global

Riverbank erosion in Bangladesh

In North Carolina, coastal communities are faced with environmental change as water interacts with the land. Sea level rise and storm surges are the primary threats, but an understudied issue in Bangladesh may help provide N.C. coastal communities with a model for resiliency.

On the banks of the Meghna River, a village in Bangladesh uses a concrete block wall to protect the village from further river bank erosion. (Contributed photos.)

On the banks of the Meghna River, a village in Bangladesh uses a concrete block wall to protect the village from further river bank erosion. (Contributed photos.)

Citizens of Bangladesh live on a delta and also must contend with the power of the Meghna River, which flows in response to monsoon rainfall. While excess rains can lead to flooding in both eastern North Carolina and Bangladesh, riverbank erosion is a unique challenge for Bangladesh.

This multifaceted problem is understudied, but members of an expert panel funded by the National Science Foundation will address this issue at East Carolina University.

ECU will host “Geospatial Science, Human Geography and Atmospheric Science for Coastal Research: Understanding and Predicting Riverbank Erosion in Bangladesh,” at 3:30 p.m. Friday, April 20, in the Science and Technology Building, Room C-209.

Bangladesh coastal map

Bangladesh coastal map

Dr. Scott Curtis, ECU professor of atmospheric science in the Department of Geography, Planning and Environment and one of the event panelists, said, “In Bangladesh, people are caught between geologic and climate drivers and local land loss, which is permanent and can be so severe that entire villages may be wiped out in a year or two.”

During the event, panelists will discuss their interdisciplinary research experiences, focusing on the potential benefits of local adaptation measures and large-scale climate prediction for enhanced resiliency at the coast.

“Our project will add to the current understandings of vulnerability, resilience and adaptation related to coastal erosion,” said Curtis.

Curtis said the average erosion rate for the area they are studying in Bangladesh is 100 meters per year. If that was translated to the Outer Banks, he said it would be underwater in fewer than 50 years.

N.C. coastal map

N.C. coastal map

“The rates of erosion are much higher in Bangladesh than North Carolina,” Curtis said, “which means that social adjustments, recoveries and resettlements occur rapidly and may be a model for our area where accelerated sea level rise is predicted to be a consequence of climate change.”

Curtis will be joined on the panel by Dr. Bimal Paul from Kansas State University; Dr. Kahled Rahman from Virginia Tech; and Dr. Tom Crawford, professor and chair of the Department of Geography at Virginia Tech and former ECU faculty member, who will lead the panel.

The event is free and open to the public. It is co-sponsored by The Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences and the Department of Geography, Planning and Environment as part of the THCAS Advancement Council Distinguished Professorship in Natural Sciences and Mathematics held by Curtis.

For additional information contact Curtis at curtisw@ecu.edu.

Seen here on the banks of the Meghan River, river bank erosion encroaches on farm fields.

Seen here on the banks of the Meghan River, river bank erosion encroaches on farm fields.

 

-by Lacey L. Gray, University Communications

Global Living-Learning Community broadens students’ cultural perspectives

Fall 2017 marked the official beginning of East Carolina University’s Global Living-Learning Community, consisting of a tight-knit group of seven first-year students from diverse backgrounds who live in the same residence hall on campus. The students’ interests range from anthropology, biology and health care to Hispanic studies and Japanese culture.

The Global LLC is a joint effort between the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, and ECU’s Division of Campus Living. Global LLC students take classes and workshops together, as well as participate in activities and events that highlight diverse cultural practices, worldviews and linguistic diversity.

Students stand with professor during crepe-making event

Global Living-Learning Community students Genesis Henderson, Maia Slonaker and Ella Dogbe-Tsogbe appear here with Dr. Nicolas Médevielle (left), teaching assistant professor of French, who led a crêpe-making event on campus Feb. 1, celebrating the French holiday, la Chandeleur. (Photos courtesy of Dr. Jennifer M. Valko and Dr. Larkin Murphy)

“Students live in an environment that supports academic achievement and are exposed to cultures and worldviews that will enhance their personal and professional development,” said Dr. Jennifer M. Valko, associate professor of Spanish and director of the Global LLC.

“One of the departmental goals for the Global LLC is to organize workshops, speakers and programs that will permit our majors and minors to mingle with Global LLC students,” Valko said. “The idea is to enhance their relationship within the department, encourage friendships between students who share interests and experiences and continue to help Global LLC students make a smooth transition into the university life at ECU.”

Emmanuella “Ella” Dogbe-Tsogbe, a Global LLC student whose family is from Togo, West Africa, said the Global LLC offers many important benefits.

“The Global LLC is a community for students to be close together,” said Dogbe-Tsogbe.

Students in the Global LLC are not necessarily international students. Many are from the United States and are interested in the world around them, while some students’ families, like Dogbe-Tsogbe’s, are from different parts of the world. Other students’ families are from Korea and Costa Rica.

“We get to interact with each other and share our cultures,” said Dogbe-Tsogbe.

On Feb. 1, the group had the opportunity to learn a bit about the French culture at an event that included a discussion about the history and significance of the French festival, la Chandeleur, with active crêpe-making stations. Hosted by the French studies program in Harriot College’s Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, the event was one of several this spring that are open to all majors at ECU.

“I liked that we were all interacting with each other, not just people from the Global LLC, but also from French classes and other LLCs,” said Dogbe-Tsogbe. “And it was great to make crêpes.”

Dr. Nicholas Médevielle (left) discusses the significance and history of the French holiday, la Chandeleur

Dr. Nicholas Médevielle (left) discusses the significance and history of the French holiday, la Chandeleur, with a group of students before assisting them at a crêpe-making station.

Dr. Nicolas Médevielle, teaching assistant professor of French, who led the event, said, “One of the best ways to interact with students and introduce them to the culture is to prepare food for and with them, and crêpes is a simple enough dish for students to try.”

Médevielle is from the northwestern region of France known as Bretagne or Brittany, where crêpes are embraced as the regional dish.

“I love to show students how they are made, but also to give students some information about the background of this festival,” he said. “As language teachers, we not only want to teach the language but also present some aspects of the cultures and history of the countries associated with these languages.”

According to Médevielle, in contemporary France, la Chandeleur (the festival of candles) is largely seen as a secular festival – an occasion to make and eat crêpes in the middle of the winter, which happens around the time of Carnival and “Mardi Gras” (aka Fat Tuesday).

In reality, la Chandeleur is a very old tradition. It has been celebrated as a Catholic feast for more than 1,500 years, replacing two previously established pagan festivals. La Chandeleur takes place 40 days after Christmas, on Feb. 2, and is a celebration of the presentation of Jesus at the temple in Jerusalem.

Global Living-Learning Community students Genesis Henderson and Maia Slonaker make their own crêpes at the interactive academic and cultural event.

Global Living-Learning Community students Genesis Henderson and Maia Slonaker make their own crêpes at the interactive academic and cultural event.

At the beginning of the event, students learned the significance of the holiday. Then, they were able to view crêpes recipes and instructions in French and English and could sample crêpes made by faculty at two crêpe stations, or work at an interactive station where students were taught how to make their own crêpes.

Global LLC students also participate in a number of academic events that assist them with their transition into university life.

During their first semester at ECU, students in the Global LLC took the “Introduction to Global Studies” course together, taught by Médevielle and assistant professor of Russian studies Dr. Justin Wilmes. They participated in academic workshops on time management, learning styles, study skills and test-taking strategies; attended a business etiquette and networking dinner with an international focus; and engaged in a Skype discussion on the subject of happiness with university students at the Faculdade Max Planck in Indaiatuba, Brazil.

The students are exposed to a variety of support services around campus, including Joyner Library, the Pirate Academic Success Center, Office of Global Affairs, Global Academic Initiatives and Career Services. They interact with faculty, staff, and undergraduate and graduate students from various academic units across ECU.

Michelle Giron Morales, a student in the Global LLC whose family is from Cali, Colombia, said the Global LLC has impacted her the most through the etiquette dinner, Pirate Academic Success Center workshops and the Skype conversation with students in Brazil.

“You can learn anything, from anyone, anywhere,” said Giron Morales.

She also said it is important that the Global LLC continue to emphasize cultural awareness.

“Employers are looking for someone who is willing to interact with people who are different than them,” Giron Morales said. “You learn a little bit more about yourself, too.”

This semester, the Global LLC will offer students the ability to participate in Salsa, Bachata and Merengue dance lessons at Crave Restaurant on Feb. 16, and attend a presentation about Jewish culture and Passover with a traditional Seder Dinner on April 7. A community service event also is in the planning process. For more information, visit blog.ecu.edu/sites/globalliving-learningcommunity/.

 

-by Lacey L. Gray, University Communications

ECU’s Earth Day Expo

The Biodiversity Initiative and Department of Biology at East Carolina University will host an Earth Day Expo on Tuesday, April 11th from 4-6pm in Howell Science Complex with interactive events for people of all ages.  Various ECU researchers and local non-profit organizations will have displays and activities available on topics related to biodiversity.

There will be live animals and plants, lab activities, natural history story times, and more.  Kids from various after school programs will be attending and the public is welcome. Please check in at the breezeway of Howell when you arrive for a passport, map, and other information! More details are available at www.ecu.edu/biology/ncbiodiversity.

For more information, please contact Heather Vance-Chalcraft at vancechalcrafth@ecu.edu or 252-328-9841.  This event is a North Carolina Science Festival event (http://www.ncsciencefestival.org/).

 

 

-by Heather Vance-Chalcraft, Department of Biology

ECU celebrates World Anthropology Day

The Department of Anthropology at East Carolina University is celebrating World Anthropology Day 2017 with an Anthropology in the Workplace event Feb. 16 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on the second floor of the Flanagan Building.

The third annual Anthropology After Dark open house will exhibit laboratories, artifact displays, an Egyptian tomb, Mexican dance masks and three ECU alumni who will discuss how they have incorporated their training in anthropology into their professional careers.

The Anthropology Student Organization (ANSO) will provide food and refreshments following the lecture hour, which starts at 7 p.m.

“This event is one of our more significant public outreach events. We invite the public into our classrooms and labs to help them understand the relevance of anthropology in the 21st century,” said Dr. Randy Daniel, chair of the Department of Anthropology.

To complement the discussion of food wealth and food insecurity, contributions of food, toiletries and paper products will be accepted for donation to the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina – Greenville Branch.

Parking will be available at the parking lot at the corner of 10th and Cotanche streets.

Anthropology Day is a day for anthropologists to share their excitement about their discipline with the public around them. Anthropologists will share their work around the world. Events and activities in Canada, Morocco, India, Egypt, Mexico, Tunisia and across the United States will build enthusiasm and awareness for current and future anthropologists.

“This is a great time for anthropology,” said Dr. Alisse Waterston, president of the American Anthropological Association. “Today’s anthropologists are making remarkable contributions to human understanding and tackling the world’s most pressing problems.”

 

 

-by Heidi Luchsinger, Department of Anthropology

Taiwan trip to explore study abroad connections

Whitney Morris, East Carolina University’s coordinator of faculty-led study abroad, has been awarded a Fulbright International Education Administrator’s Seminar grant to travel to Taiwan in March.

The purpose of the program is to build relationships in countries that may be underrepresented by American study abroad students, said Dr. Regis Gilman, executive director of the Office of Continuing Studies.

Whitney Morris will travel to Taiwan in March to build relationships for a possible future study abroad program. (Photo by Cliff Hollis) Whitney Morris will travel to Taiwan in March to build relationships for a possible future study abroad program. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

“By participating in the seminar, Ms. Morris will learn more about higher education in Taiwan and how ECU will be able to build relationships there to encourage faculty and student interest in non-traditional study abroad countries,” he said.

The grant provides a unique opportunity to learn firsthand about Taiwan’s higher education system while also gaining experience with its people and culture, Morris said.

Morris, who said she has never been to Asia, plans to look for areas of common interest and create a framework to begin faculty-led study abroad programs in Taiwan over the coming years. ECU currently offers faculty-led study abroad programs in a variety of countries in Europe, Asia, Central America, South America, the Caribbean, Africa, Australia and the Pacific Islands.

“Taiwan is a country that has many of the same developmental priorities as eastern North Carolina, such as being emerging market economies in coastal communities, with many students in higher education coming from rural locations,” Gilman said. “I am extremely excited about both Whitney’s initiative in applying for the grant and the outcomes from her experience in Taiwan.”

The J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board is overseen by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Funding for grants is made possible through appropriations by the U.S. Congress and contributions from partner countries and the private sector.

 

 

-by Jules Norwood

Sociology students use global technology to share favorite campus spots

ECU students in a global understanding class enjoyed sharing favorite spots on campus with their counterparts in a foreign country.

ECU students in a global understanding class enjoyed sharing favorite spots on campus with their counterparts in a foreign country.

gup2

ECU sociology instructor and professional photographer Maria McDonald took her students on a tour of key landmarks on campus this Spring, taking photographs to share with students in India, Russia, and China.

McDonald’s Global Understanding: Sociology course is linking with students in these countries, allowing ECU students to share their experiences living in the United States and learn how that experience compares with that of students around the globe.

The course is part of the Global Understanding curriculum, which links ECU students to students in more than 30 countries.

McDonald’s students enjoyed the chance to show their global partners the landmarks they associate with their ECU experience. The photo tour culminated in an opportunity to walk onto the ECU stadium field.

For more information on the Global Understanding curriculum: http://www.ecu.edu/cs-acad/globalinitiatives/course.cfm

ECU to hold International Education Week

East Carolina University will commemorate International Education Week Nov. 14 through 21 with a series of events that are free and open to the community.

International Education Week celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. Events at ECU will showcase the 300-plus international students on campus as well as hundreds of global-minded students, staff and faculty who appreciate diversity.

The following events are scheduled:

Nov. 14

  • International Affairs Open House, 2 – 4 p.m.
  • “The Good, the Bad, and the Weird” (2008). Ethnic Studies Film Series. 6 p.m., Bate 1031 The story of two outlaws and a bounty hunter in 1940s Manchuria and their rivalry to possess a treasure map while being pursued by the Japanese army and Chinese bandits. Sponsored by Ethnic Studies.
  • “Danton”  (1983). Revolutionary France… on the screen, 7:30 p.m., Bate 1031  Andrzej Wajda offers a vivid portrayal of the mix of personality and politics that governed France when the term “terrorism” was coined. Filmed with Polish and French actors during the early years of the Solidarnosc movement. Sponsored by the History Department.

Nov. 15

  • Education Abroad Fair. 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Mendenhall Student Center Great Rooms.  This campus-wide Study Abroad Information Fair will help students understand the ins and outs of studying overseas.
  • Peace Corps Information Session, 5 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., International House Conference Room. Returned Peace Corps volunteer Marques Anderson share information about the Peace Corps.

Nov. 16

  • Cultural Xplosion. 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m., Mendenhall Student Center Hendrix Theatre. The African Student Organization is sponsoring a poetry, diverse song and cultural dance to share ECU’s ethnic pride and artistic variety.
  • “Burnt by the Sun” (1994). Russian Film Series. 7:30pm, Bate 1009.  A long summer day in 1936. Colonel Kotov, an aging military hero of the Bolshevik revolution, is enjoying the good life in his country home with his captivating young wife Maroussia, their six-year-old daughter and numerous family members. Into this idyllic setting enters Dimitri, who was Maroussia’s lover a decade ago, before leaving under mysterious circumstances. Dimitri now works for Stalin’s secret police and it becomes clear that he has returned with an agenda. Oscar for Best Foreign Film.  Sponsored by Russian Studies.

Nov. 17

  • International Student Association Meeting. 3 p.m. – 4 p.m., International House Conference Room. This organization strives to enhance international awareness, cooperation and diversity among international students, the East Carolina University campus and Greenville community.
  • Afternoon Tea… English Style. 4 p.m. – 5 p.m., International House. Drop by for informal conversation and meet new friends. Tea, homemade sandwiches and scones shall be served.

Nov. 18

  • “A Taste of Italy” Closing Luncheon. Noon – 1 p.m., International House. Luncheon for the ECU community.

Nov. 21

  • “Don’t Judge Me”. 7 p.m., Science and Technology Building, Room C-207.  A panel discussion regarding racial, religious and cultural stereotypes on campus, with moderator Rob Bradley, director of Ledonia Wright Cultural Center.

Live … From Iraq … It’s Monday Night!

Elmer Poe, assistant vice chancellor of Emerging Academic Initiatives at East Carolina University, leads a discussion between ECU students and their peers at Kufa University in Iraq. (Contributed photo)

The technology balked, yet the learning went on in East Carolina University’s global classroom.

Some 70 ECU students who stayed up late for a first-ever campus get together with peers in Iraq didn’t get the experience they expected. The connection flittered, and instructors had to improvise.

Yet for many participants in the event dubbed the “Midnight Special,” the hour they spent conversing, on and off, with students at Kufa University via satellite reinforced lessons they’d been learning in the classroom.  Read more…