Thursday, April 9, 2009

University of Albany Is Sweatshop-Free - One Of Only Four SUNY Campuses That Can Make The Claim

UAlbany rally backs sweatshop-free SUNY. But it's one of only four SUNY campuses in the 64-school system that has discontinued the production of school apparel in sweatshops, according to a group comprised of local labor leaders, activists and lawmakers. Sweatshop workers are subjected to a grueling schedule in substandard conditions for minimal pay.

A group of about 100 protesters held a rally on the UAlbany campus last weekend, during a conference celebrating SUNY's 60th anniversary, to draw attention to the other 60 schools that haven't made the same commitment. The New Paltz, Buffalo and Cortland campuses already have gone sweatshop-free.

Bronx Assemblyman Peter Rivera, who was at the rally, has introduced the Ethical Business Conduct in Higher Education Act to force other universities to end their use of sweatshops.

"SUNY has failed to follow the lead of other major public and private universities and it is clear that it will not disengage this deplorable business practice voluntarily," Rivera said.

Green grant

In other UAlbany news, the campus has received a $97,290 grant to research commuter vehicle patterns and improve alternative transportation methods.

The money comes from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the state Department of Transportation to study the driving habits of the university's faculty, staff and students, as well as employees at the Harriman Office Campus.

The aim of the study, which is expected to take 18 months, is to increase alternative transportation options such as carpooling.

The grant will help evaluate campus transportation flow with the goal of reducing miles traveled and greenhouse gas emissions. It also will attempt to develop new transit recommendations.

UAlbany issues15,000 parking permits annually, of which 85 percent are solo drivers, according to the university.

But it is science or art?

One side of the brain gives us the ability to interpret complex sets of data and the other helps us paint beautiful pictures.

At Union College, the two sides have met. The school's "Dynamic Equilibrium" exhibit at the Nott Memorial hall juxtaposes "contemporary artists who explore science, contemporary scientists who explore art."

Included are images from a scanning electron microscope of a black-legged tick enveloped in a destructive fungus. They were taken by Palma Catravas, a professor of electrical engineering at Union, and Kathleen LoGiudice, an associate professor of biology.

The professors, who have shown their images online at, will have a number of pieces on display. The exhibit, which runs until May 10, also includes some of Union's 19th-century scientific apparatus, such as a buoyancy balance from 1875.

Other unusual works on display include an artist who draws with her own blood and a film that records microorganisms "moving, eating, procreating and defecating."

There are a number of upcoming talks associated with the show, including one with Catravas and LoGiudice at 5:30 tonight at Nott that is free.

By SCOTT WALDMAN, Staff writer
First published in print: Thursday, April 9, 2009

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