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Note: This is a student project from a course affiliated with the Ethnography of the University Initiative. EUI supports faculty development of courses in which students conduct original research on their university, and encourages students to think about colleges and universities in relation to their communities and within larger national and global contexts.

Ethnography of the COW

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Title: Ethnography of the COW
Author(s): Bergam, Clair
Subject(s): Biogas Anaerobic Digestion Campus wide initiative Converting Organic Waste Students In Free Enterprise ANT300 Syracuse Spring 2010
Abstract: COW- Converting Organic Waste, is a project that was started with the idea of furthering environmental sustainability on campus by researching, manning, and building an anaerobic digester that could convert pre and post consumer waste from university dining halls into useable biogas and organic sludge that could be used as fertilizer. My research focuses on how the project was born, its plans for the future, the wide range of student involvement across many disciplines, and the positive effects students have experienced from being involved in a project with such immense reach. I completed my research through initial data gathering on anaerobic digestion in general and the benefits of organic sludge, and then went on to interview personally the major players involved in the project including its founder and the student who works with the digester on a day to day basis, and finished by observing multiple team meetings so that I could see how the team members interacted with each other.
Issue Date: 2010
Series/Report: The Ethnography of the University: Studying Scholarship in Action was designed to introduce undergraduate students to ethnographic methodologies, institutional analysis, and the research publication process. Students conducted ethnographic studies of Syracuse University Scholarship in Action projects of their choosing and had the opportunity to produce their results on the web. All the steps in the research process, from the formation of research questions to the creation of final research papers, was produced on-line at a collaborative website, Moodle, that has been created at the University of Illinois to facilitate undergraduate ethnography of the university projects. This project is titled the Ethnography of the University Initiative (EUI).Students were encouraged to make their work public so that their research subjects, fellow students and Syracuse community participants, would be able to comment and provide feedback on their research. The IDEALS on-line archive would enable this process to be recorded for future students in the hope that they will build on present student research. The archiving of “scholarship in action” research for ANT 300 may help Syracuse University better understands the learning outcomes of “scholarship in action” initiatives.It is important to remember that “The Ethnography of the University” is not only a course but also part of two larger projects, the “Imagining America Project,” a national project combining the arts, humanities and social sciences to create interdisciplinary discussions about America’s future http://www.imaginingamerica.org/ , and the University of Illinois centered project, the Ethnography of the University Initiative (EUI) http://www.eui.uiuc.edu/.The Ethnography of the University Initiative (EUI) includes several universities and community colleges located in the state of Illinois. All of these schools are public. Syracuse University is the first non-Illinois and first private university to join the group. This class joined an inter-campus learning community in which many classes from several schools (most, however, are located at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) explore their universities and colleges ethnographically. In order to explore Syracuse University ethnographically, we needed to think about what “the university” is, what “ethnography” is, and what “scholarship in action” is. Broadly, we explored the university as a composite of prose, numerical, and visual narratives.The course also introduced students to ethnographic methods. The bulk of this class was devoted to students’ own ethnographic projects on a Syracuse University “Scholarship in Action” endeavor although it was possible to carry out research on other areas if students presented a good case for doing so. A wide variety of social practices and learning processes were expected to become part of what students researched.
Type: Text
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/16351
Date Available in IDEALS: 2010-06-01
 

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