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In Brief

EWB blitzes provincial schools

Three teams of Engineers Without Borders (EWB)-Memorial University volunteers are traveling across the island this week. Their goal: to visit 12 schools in five days and engage more than 1,500 students with "eye opening, globally focused, interactive" workshops.

The EWB School Outreach Tour begins April 26 with workshops in Marystown Central High, Exploits Valley High in Grand Falls-Windsor and Elwood High School in Deer Lake.

The week promises to bring unique experiences to both the volunteers delivering the workshops and the students participating. For EWB volunteers it is an opportunity to see the island. In the past year, EWB-MUN has reached 600 students in the St. John's area with their workshops, but this is the first time they are branching out to communities such as Bay Roberts or Port-aux-Basques.

One of the workshops being delivered gets students to build a model water filtration system and compare the challenges of water access in Canada and developing countries.

In the other, students educate themselves on the connections between technology and food production.

The towns included in the tour are: Avondale, Bay Roberts, Bishops Falls, Botwood, Corner Brook, Deer Lake, Dildo, Grand Falls-Windsor, Lethbridge, Marystown, Placentia and Stephenville.

More info and a daily blog about the tour can be found at

Earth Sciences team takes second

After winning last year's Canadian Imperial Barrel Award, Memorial's second attempt for the prize has garnered the four-person Earth Sciences team a silver place finish.

Team coach Dr. Elliott Burden, says graduate students Matthew Drew, geophysics and Marjem Hasham, petroleum engineering, along with undergraduate students Mary Leaman, geology and Jon Furlong, geophysics, took on students from Western Ontario, Calgary and Edmonton.

“The project was to produce an exploration and drilling strategy for the Danish North Sea,” he explained. “The data was real and the targets had not been drilled. The team presented, in a very professional way, a well-researched and reasoned exploration strategy. After 20 minutes of questions from judges none of the students left the room feeling they had let the team down.”

However, when the awards were presented, the University of Calgary placed first with Memorial a very strong second.

“This is bittersweet,” said Dr. Burden. “I am told the judges took well over an hour to make this decision between the two top contenders. But it is important to know a small team of undergrad and graduate students from Memorial University’s Earth Science department can go head-to-head with grads from other programs in Canada and do well.”

Plastic-free pledge

The Marine Institute is celebrating the installation of a new “hydration station” – a water-dispensing device where people can fill up bottles twice as fast as a standard drinking fountain allows. The station, located outside the cafeteria, is touch-free: an electric sensor triggers the water's release.

The institute has installed the unit to encourage the campus community to switch to reusable water bottles, foregoing the use of soft-plastic ones that are adding to the nation's growing disposal problems.

Mary Pippy, chair of the Marine Institute’s Sustainability Committee (MISC), said that it is a step in the right direction to promoting a green community within the institute.

The hydration station processes tap water into pure water using state-of-the-art filtration technologies. Before water reaches the nozzle, it runs through an NSF-certified filter to remove sediment, chlorine taste and odor. The system provides a hygienic, safe source for refilling personal re-usable bottles.