Water Quality Improvement Through Community Campus Partnerships

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Delaware River WRAPS Public Relations/Communications Campaign

Dr. Nancy Muturi created a service-learning project to conduct communications campaigns for the Delaware River Water Restoration and Protection Strategies (WRAPS) group. The Delaware River WRAPS group did not have any existing communications materials. Students were to utilize their classroom experiences to research and design a watershed campaign, including interviewing experts, surveying the audience, constructing goals and strategies/tactics, and creating deliverables (e.g., posters and brochures) as the primary objectives.

Participating in the service-learning project were eleven fourth and fifth-year undergraduate students from Dr. Muturi’s capstone course, Public Relations/Communications Campaigns. For the service-learning project, the students named themselves “Delaware’s Eleven” after the popular movie “Ocean’s Eleven.” Marlene Bosworth, Delaware River WRAPS Coordinator, worked closely with the students throughout the campaign development.

The students presented their findings Wednesday, December 5, 2007 during a Delaware River WRAPS meeting entitled “Muddy Streams and Green Lakes: Water Issues in the Delaware River Watershed” at the Jackson County Fair Building in Holton, Kansas. The students’ presentation provided details of the communications campaign that was conducted for the Delaware River watershed. After a brief introduction by Dr. Muturi, the students described their methods, which included a communication audit, in-depth interviews with experts, and a small survey of the public that was conducted during a high school football game. The survey consisted of a questions pertaining to water issues and WRAPS awareness. The students utilized this information to create deliverables, such as a logo, water bottles, an educational brochure, and a household hazardous waste poster.


Greenroof Planning-Design and International Student Center Rain-Bowls Projects

Dr. Lee Skabelund created a service-learning project to address problems associated with stormwater run-off in the Mid-Campus Creek area of the university campus (by the International Student Center) and the creation of a greenroof on campus. Participating in the service-learning project were undergraduate students from Landscape Architecture/Regional and Community Planning, Architectural Engineering, Biological and Agricultural Engineering, and Art departments.

The goals of the project for students were to identify buildings on campus that would best fit a greenroof, prepare greenroof designs, and create rain-bowls for the International Student Center rain-garden. Landscape architecture faculty and students traveled to sites to view greenroof designs with industry professionals, visited Paola, Kansas to discuss their problems with flooding, and collaborated with students and faculty in the Art department to design rain-bowls. The rain-bowls were to be located on the limestone splash-pads (under the guttering downspouts) at the International Student Center rain-garden.

Students assessed the materials that could be used to create the rain-bowls and determined that bronze would be ideal because it’s a ‘forgiving’ material. The color and type of oxidation present on the rain-bowls will be determined by what design is chosen (faculty decision at a later date), although the aesthetics of certain colors were discussed. Then the art students individually presented their designs and plans for installation on the limestone splash-pads. The landscape architecture students asked the art students questions about the design’s size, placement, and how they envisioned the water will flow in and out of their bowls. Due to the rain-garden’s placement near the Taiwan wing, an Asian inspired design was created by one art student. Most of the rain-bowl designs were constructed to allow for the holding of water and a plug would be inserted to allow for the removal of debris (e.g., leaves, twigs) that may collect in the bowl. Another student’s rain-bowl design was tilted to allow the water to splash and run-off instead of collecting and holding. The final design was determined by landscape architecture and art faculty, and the bowls were installed.