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Seven Lafayette students who are in a year-long project to help the Hotel Easton achieve its goal of setting a national standard for environmentally friendly hotels will make a report to their clients 10 a.m. today in room 104 of Kirby Hall of Civil Rights.

The students are enrolled in a special, hands-on course called Technology Clinic, in which teams of students from different majors use their skills to solve real-world problems for clients that include business firms, non-profit organizations, and government agencies. Now at the half-way point of their year’s work with Hotel Easton, they will make their presentation to Peter Koehler, president and CEO of Easton Hotel Restoration, and project architect William Dohe, a member of the American Institute of Architects. The two will be available to the media for questions.

The Tech Clinic team includes Mike Lowe ’03, a mathematics major from Easton, Pa.; Irshad Haji ’02, an electrical and computer engineering major from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; Carolyn Candrea ’03, an economics and business major from Fair Haven, N.J.; Emily Murphy ’03, a philosophy major from Center Valley, Pa.; Jessica Badger ’02, an economics and business major from Scituate, Mass.; Seth Thomas ’02, an A.B. engineering major from Lodi, N.Y.; and Carrie Baker ’02, an English major from Basking Ridge, N.J.

The students’ advisers are Dan Bauer, professor of anthropology and sociology, and Dwayne Breger, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering and a member of the bachelor of arts in engineering faculty.

“The plan is to make this the most ‘green,’ most high-end hotel in the Lehigh Valley,” says Bauer. “They want to be very environmentally conscious, for example, in the materials they use, that the minimal amount of energy is produced, and that materials are recycled during renovation.”

The team’s primary focus is operation and management. “There are schools that specialize in this, and they focus at the financial bottom line,” notes Bauer. “We’re starting with the green aspects and then moving on to the financial ones. Part of this is related directly to this hotel, our client. But it’s also geared toward setting a national standard for green hotel management.”

The Technology Clinic’s recommendations may include elements such as incorporating environmentally friendly carpeting, furniture and finishes; providing guests the option of not having their towels and sheets washed every day; asking hotel restaurant patrons whether they want drinking water rather than serving it automatically; selling beer from a local brewery that could wash and reuse the bottles; and composting food scraps or sending them to a pig farmer.

Another current Tech Clinic team has created an interactive web site for the National Canal Museum in downtown Easton that will allow full access to the primary source of information on canals and inland waterways nationally, as well as for the technological history of the Lehigh Valley.

The students in the course are Jim Bogan ’03, a computer science major from Southampton, Pa.; Amy Dziekonski ’03, an English and religion and politics major from Vernon, N.J.; David Haskill ’02, a geology and environmental geosciences major from Woodcliff, N.J.; Kaye Powell ’02, a civil and environmental engineering major from Annapolis, Md.; and Spencer Williams ’02, an anthropology and sociology major from Lakeville, Pa.

“The web site shows what people see if they go to the museum and makes them aware of the archives and how to reach people to access them. The goals are to get people into the museum, to use Hugh Moore Park more, and to understand that when they want to do canal research, that this is the place to begin. There’s a tremendous amount of information there and staff who can help you find it,” Bauer says.

“But it also is a means of educating users about why canals were constructed, how they work, and how they are related to other institutions in the region. It gives some understanding of the physics, mechanics, and hydrology involved with the canals and river system. Educating in this way usually gets overlooked, partly because the people who are putting together web pages don’t have the time or knowledge to do it,” Bauer adds.

A few of the many web site features are curriculum ideas and resources for teachers, a bibliography, songs and crossword puzzles about canals for children, and an animation page that explains the historical need for canals.

In 1997-98, a Technology Clinic designed a learning center for the National Canal Museum. Other recent Technology Clinics projects based in Easton have included outlining adaptive reuse possibilities for the historic Bachmann Publick House; constructing a drunk-driving simulator that is installed in the Weller Center for Health Education; developing a fundraising and public relations strategy for ProJeCt of Easton; and creating a web-based tool to make the historical significance of the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor more accessible.

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