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Recommendations made by Technology Clinic students are at the heart of a plan to improve the Easton and Phillipsburg riverfront area and invigorate the business climate using more than $6 million in grants from the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission.

Founded in 1986, Technology Clinic is a two-semester course that brings together students from different majors to solve the real-world problems of a business, non-profit organization, or government body. The recent Tech Clinic team got community officials talking with each other and with the commission and set out recommendations for making the cities more attractive.

“We wanted to get both cities to make better use of the riverfront and emphasize the connection between them,” says Tech Clinic Director Dan Bauer, professor of anthropology and sociology, who co-facilitated the project with Bill Best, visiting instructor of anthropology and sociology, and local architect Will Dohe. “Each city has its own assets, and if the two are combined, it’s likely to be a more attractive region and bring people into the downtown areas. Plus, water attracts people, and most agree that the area’s waterfront has been underutilized since the 1955 flood.”

Easton announced plans to improve the intersection of the free bridge with Larry Holmes Drive and Northampton Street; construct trolley stops for a trolley line, subsidized by Phillipsburg, that runs over bridge; and connect a riverfront bike path to the bridge. It also plans to build a parking garage, with a bus terminal and stores, in the parking lot of the county-owned Governor Wolf Building on North Second St.

“We were able to bring the different stakeholders to the table to discuss their vision. I don’t think had happened before,” says Inku Subedi ’05 (Katmandu, Nepal), who graduated this May as a double major in psychology and anthropology & sociology and member of Phi Beta Kappa.

Emily Groves ’05 (Madison, N.J.), also a member of Phi Beta Kappa, realized how much her perspectives were valued as she met with officials and business owners.

“They were so interested and excited that we were doing something like this, and I enjoyed being a voice for the community,” says Groves, who graduated as a double major in English and psychology. “I have more self-confidence to make presentations, to call people up and organize meetings. The whole process was a growing experience for me.”

”I’m ecstatic,” Phillipsburg mayor Harry L. Wyant Jr. told The Morning Call. ”We have been working the last few years with the city of Easton toward some common goals. Lafayette said we need to work in concert.”

Other team members were Isaac Esseku ’05 (Accra, Ghana), a double major in computer science and economics & business; Robin Sanderson ’05 (Pasadena, Calif.), a double major in anthropology & sociology and history; Amy Spooner ’06 (Cilfton Park, N.Y.), a geology major; and Matt Hokanson ’05 (Biddeford, Maine), a computer science major.

The students’ liaisons were Robin Wiessmann ’75, vice chair of the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission; Mark Portnoy, who leads economic revitalization efforts for downtown Phillipsburg; and Miriam Huertas, director of planning and economic development for Easton.

Continuing this semester is a Technology Clinic that is working with officials from Hugh Moore Park, home to the restored Lehigh Canal, the Locktender’s House Museum, 19th Century Industrial Ruins, and other historical structures, to create a computerized walking tour of the area.

In recent years, Technology Clinic projects have resulted in recommendations for how Lafayette can encourage students to remain engaged with the College after they graduate, a plan to improve traffic on Cattell Street and ideas for developing the North 3rd Street corridor at the foot of College Hill in Easton, an automobile tour on CD to boost tourism and local awareness of historical assets in Nazareth and its surrounding rural municipalities, a self-guided tour and other enhancements at Bachmann Publick House in downtown Easton, and improvements in the experiences of patients at the offices of doctors within Lehigh Valley Hospital Physicians Group.

Other Technology Clinic projects over the past several years have included a report on creating environmentally friendly hotels, which the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection posted on its web site; an interactive web site for the National Canal Museum in downtown Easton; a drunk-driving simulator at Easton’s Weller Center; recommendations for proposed uses of Bachmann Publick House; suggestions to improve fundraising for ProJeCt for People (formerly ProJeCt of Easton); recommendations on a learning center at the National Canal Museum; and a proposal for development in the Slate Belt.

Older projects have included:

  • Promoting the Borough of Roseto, Pennsylvania
  • Reviving Weatherly, Pennsylvania
  • Promoting innovation in plant design for Lockwood Greene Engineering and Air Products
  • Managing work and life at Merck & Co.
  • Improving the organization of residence halls at Lafayette
  • New applications for SERVAC vacuum excavation technology for Filtration Engineering and the Wilkra Company
  • Measuring and improving patient satisfaction for Lehigh Valley Hospital Physicians Group
Categorized in: Academic News