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The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has made a student report on making hotels both environmentally friendly and luxurious available on its website.

The report was prepared by seven students 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.

The team was comprised of Mike Lowe '03, a mathematics major from Easton, Pa.; Irshad Haji '02 of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, who graduated in May with a degree in electrical and computer engineering; 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 of Scituate, Mass., who graduated in May with a degree in economics and business; Seth Thomas '02 of Lodi, N.Y., who graduated in May with a bachelor of arts in engineering; and Carrie Baker '02, an English major from Basking Ridge, N.J., who graduated in May with a bachlor's of arts degree. They were advised by two faculty members, including Technology Clinic coordinator Dan Bauer, professor of anthropology and sociology.

Robert J. Barkanic, deputy secretary with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, attended a public presentation of the report May 2. Barkanic is deputy secretary of the DEP's Office of Air, Recycling and Radiation Protection and its Office of Pollution Prevention and Compliance Assistance. He is interested in the students' work as it relates to the DEP's new Green Seal program, which provides certification in environmental responsibility for the Pennsylvania lodging and hospitality industry. Over 50 hotels and motels in the state have expressed interest in Green Seal certification.

Green Seal is a national, nonprofit environmental standard-setting and certification organization in Washington, D.C. Organizers have partnered with DEP and the Department of General Services to develop an initial certification effort in Pennsylvania for all hotels, motels, inns, and bed-and-breakfast facilities. The Technology Clinic report addresses many of the criteria for Green Seal certification, such as waste minimization, reuse and recycling; energy efficiency, conservation and management; and environmentally and socially sensitive purchasing policies.

“As consumers are better able to access information due to today's advanced communication networks, they are also better able to make more informed purchasing decisions,” states the report. “One trend that has become apparent is the increasing number of market opportunities to participate in activities more favorable to the environment. Hotels can capitalize on these trends by adopting new strategies geared towards environmental responsibility while maintaining their luxury status.”

Over the past two semesters, the students used focus groups, hotel visits, computer simulations, and basic research techniques to gain insight into the needs and practicality of sustaining a “luxury green hotel.” The first semester of the project addressed issues relating to the operation of the historic Hotel Easton, which was to be developed as a green luxury hotel until economic conditions led to alternate plans. R+D Architecture LLC of Easton advised the team during the first semester.

To read the report, see

Another Technology Clinic gave a midterm report May 14 at the Lehigh Valley Hospital Physicians Group's administration building on its research with the group on ways to improve patients' experience with their doctors in a climate heavily influenced by government and insurance company pressures. The group began the project in the spring and will finish next semester.

The students are Catriona Mhairi Duncanson '03, an A.B. engineering major from Basking Ridge, N.J.; Michael Avicolli '03, an International Affairs major from New Britain, Conn.; Zachary Bittner '03, an environmental literary analysis major from Washington Crossing, Pa.; Sam Toma '04, an economics and business major from Endicott, N.Y.; Stacy Alboher '04, an economics and business major from Middletown, N.Y.; Kate McGovern '03, a A.B. engineering major from Dunstable, Mass.; and Joseph Hamill '03, a mechanical engineering major from Mahopac, N.Y. They are advised by Bauer and Larry Malinconico, professor of geology.

“We want to make the patients' visits better despite the pressure that comes from HMO's,” explains Bauer.

In the fall, another Technology Clinic will develop interactive exhibits for the newly opened, historic Bachman Publick House in downtown Easton. Bauer and Beth Seetch, lecturer in the English department and coordinator of the College Writing Program, will advise the students.

Technology Clinic projects concluded in recent years have included outlining adaptive reuse possibilities for 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 for People; and creating a web-based tool to make the historical significance of the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor more accessible.

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