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SEBS SPRING 2020 Honors Seminars

Here are the seminars being offered this coming spring semester:

Thursday, 2:15–5:15 p.m.
11:020:296 Index: 13706
IFNH 101
"Feeding the World"
Xenia Morin, Prof., Plant Biology
Mark Robson, Prof., Plant Biology

One of the biggest challenges of the twenty-first century is figuring out how we will feed the world while preserving our planet. This challenge is complicated by population growth, resource limitations, climate change, poverty, food insecurity, food safety, uneven distribution of food production, storage and technology, as well as politics, policy and war. In this seminar, we will ask: What is the history of feeding the world? How do we feed the world now, and what will it take to feed the world in the next 50 years? Through individual and group work, as well as library-based research, we will explore different ways that people have come to understand these challenges and how students can become a part of the solution.
Register online. If you have any problems, please contact Janice Geiger (

Monday, 2:15–5:15 p.m.
"Building and Using Sensors"
A.J. Both, Prof. and Extension Spec., BioEnvironmental Engineering Prog.

Subtitle: Designing and Building an Environmental Sensing System using the Raspberry Pi Platform

BioEnvironmental Engineers work in diverse environments and use a variety of sensing systems to investigate important environmental parameters. The resulting data require processing and quality control and enable us to better understand any changes that may occur and that are often due to anthropogenic processes. The value of engineering solutions is often greatly enhanced by applying appropriate data collection and analysis methods. In this course, we will use Raspberry Pi computers to develop sensing systems that can operate autonomously based on pre-programmed software instructions. Students will receive a set of hardware components and will be tasked to design and construct their own sensing system. They will be developing their own software programs. They are challenged to work with minimal traditional instruction to complete their projects. Depending on time and interest, student may get to fly their sensing systems on a drone allowing for aerial data collection. See or email Janice in Honors Office, Waller Hall, Rm. 104, for a special permission number (

Thursday, 2:15–5:15 p.m.
Blake Hall, Rm. 128 & Excursions
"Walking as a Means of Changing an Environment"
Anette Freytag, Professor
Landscape Architecture

New Jersey's cities, townships and suburbia are literally car-driven and thus not designed for an everyday use that wants to stay in tune with a healthy, sustainable and inspiring environment, where community building social interactions like chatting or playing are fostered. This seminar will focus on the cultural techniques of walking and experiencing and show how powerful and transformative the knowledge gained from walking can be. Students who take this class will learn what it means to develop a "landscape approach" to design and planning, how to "read" their environments and gain awareness on how to build a society where equity and sustainability are not just buzzwords one gets tired off.
They will understand how subversive and how enriching walking and observing can be. We will study texts written by the US landscape architect J. B. Jackson, who discovered the vernacular landscape; by French philosopher Michel de Certeau, who reflects on walking as a subversive spatial practice; by Swiss macroeconomist and design critic Lucius Burckhardt, who playfully named his "sciences of walking" Strollology; and by the Austrian author Peter Handke, who was awarded this year's Nobel prize in Literature. We will study the history of the "promenade" in gardens and city boulevards, do sketch walks in Suburbia, and, as a final project, choreograph a "March to Rutger's Gardens", one of the most precious resources of SEBS that is totally cut off from the campus, because it is exclusively accessible by car.