Place Studies

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Tag: Pennsylvania

Place Studies Summer Projects: Genuine Progress Indicator

This summer, Zach Moon worked on the creation of a Genuine Progress Index for Pennsylvania, the first of it’s kind.

A Genuine Progress Index, or GPI for short, is a metric used to measure the health of a nations economy. While it is similar to the more commonly known GDP (Growth Domestic Product), the GDI takes into account environmental and social factors that GDP does not include. It allows us to know whether the environmental impact of the production of goods and services hurts or helps the economy.

The GDI measures sustainability over time, and it doesn’t just add in finished products but also subtracts costs that affect sustainability over time. Such as the costs of commuting, and the cost of air pollution.

With the creation of the GPI for Pennsylvania, Zach says we must now ask ourselves, “Can we scale our index down to measure regional and local sustainability in a quantitative way?”

Place Studies Summer Projects: An Evaluation of the 2013 ACA implemation

The ACA, or Affordable Care Act, is a new national health law that has been only implemented recently. This summer, Collin Greene and Will Rappaport focused their research on an evaluation of the ACA in the central Pennsylvania region, in hopes of exposing the glitches that will make the second year of enrollment in 2014-2015 much improved.

In their pursuit of answers, Collin and Will contacted heads of organizations such as United way, Columbia County Volunteers in Medicine, PA Mental Health Association, and the Lewisburg Library, and conducted interviews in person. They found that there were many challenges in enrollment that individuals faced, such as low literacy levels, lack of transportation, lack of prior knowledge of healthcare, and distrust of the government. Their findings through these interviews facilitated their project design, and fabrication of components that will improve the educating of individuals, so that the second year of enrollment will be more sufficient.

The pair came up with ideas that they believe will improve the second year of enrollment, one of which will be pursued with the grant they were given. One idea was to set up a comprehensible and more simplistic website, tailored for those with below average reading levels. In order to educate those with a lack of knowledge of healthcare, they also suggest a video tutorial that would be presented at workshops, a project that will be initiated with the grant they received.

With their project rolling and in execution, Collin and Will believe that reaching out, and educating people on the ACA and means of enrollment will save and improve lives. While some may not believe in the ACA, the program is still out there for use, and the more people who know about it and know how to enroll, the more lives that will be saved whether they believe in it or not.

Read the report Will and Collin’s research contributed to here:  The-Central-PA-ACA-Project

Mountain Minstrelsy

It all started with an obscure book, Mountain Minstrelsy of Pennsylvania, published nearly a century ago as a collection of song lyrics gathered in the mountains of Pennsylvania by Henry Shoemaker, a folklorist and “song catcher.” It eventually found its way into the hands of David Bielanko and Christine Smith (members of the rock band Marah) shortly after they relocated from Brooklyn to rural central Pennsylvania. Excited by the idea of creating a new and relevant album based upon the lost writings, Bielanko and Smith took liberties in writing new original music, as well as reworking the 100+ year old song lyrics that were often fragmented – and at other times admittedly inaccurate. Finally they put together an analog studio in an old church in Millheim, PA and recruited a band to tackle the recordings, including Gus, an 8-year-old fiddle prodigy. 

The album Marah Presents Mountain Minstrelsy of Pennsylvania was out February 25, 2014.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check out this fun clip, which gives a glimpse of their music:

For more information, visit: http://www.marah-usa.com/

Same River

In the spring of 2013, the Strike Anywhere Performance Ensemble presented “Same River,” a multimedia exploration of Marcellus Shale hydraulic fracturing. Bucknell students conducted interviews with Pennsylvania residents whose lives have been directly impacted by fracking. The performance was composed of numerous first-person accounts of the effects of natural gas production. The volume of material presented offered a complex picture of “fracking,” a trend we’ve seen on the rise in Pennsylvania for about a decade. “Same River” seeks to draw connections, to give voice to multiple viewpoints and to acknowledge that we are all downstream, that the earth’s water supply is all the same river.  In order to process the performance, individuals were encouraged to share their thoughts at a town-hall style discussion afterwards.

In addition to the theatrical piece, other art forms were created and displayed. Local artist Nancy Cleaver and Bucknell scenographer Elaine Williams lead art-making sessions, with participants creating artwork on the topic, “Clean Water: Who Needs It?”

The “Same River” project was sponsored by the Place Studies Initiative of the Bucknell Environmental Center, as well as the Residential Colleges and the Department of Theatre and Dance.

The “Same River” project and its related activities are sponsored by the Place Studies Initiative of the Bucknell University Environmental Center, the Residential Colleges, and the Department of Theatre and Dance.

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