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Power in partnership: New fuel cell powers Beuth

Posted on Sep 30, 2009

President Stephen Ainlay at Plug Power event


There was a lot of energy in the great room of Beuth House Wednesday as a host of business leaders and politicians joined College officials to officially celebrate a new fuel cell being tested in one of Union’s Minerva houses.

The College was selected by Plug Power Inc. of Latham, N.Y. as the host site of a 5-kilowatt cell, GenSys, which will convert natural gas into electricity and high-quality heat for the 30 students living in Beuth. The project is a partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced last November. Plug Power and National Grid, a natural gas and electric utility, will test the system in the real-life operating conditions at Beuth and use the data collected to determine system refinements for incorporation into the next-generation system design.

The GenSys fuel cell in the basement of Beuth. Plug Power

President Stephen C. Ainlay told several dozen people in the audience, including Assemblymen Jim Tedisco ’72 and George Amedore, that the project is well-suited to the College’s commitment to sustainability. He also commended all of the parties involved in the unique project.

“This is the type of innovation we in the Capital Region have come to expect,” he said.

ribbon cutting 2 at plug power event sept. 30, 2009 in beuth house

Susan Crossett, vice president of energy solutions services for National Grid, said the project is a great educational tool to observe how new energy sources are developed. Ballston Spa High School and Schenectady Museum will engage students in fuel cell education and field trial data analysis as part of the project.

“This technology represents a promising clean energy technology that will play a significant role in the not too distant future,” she said.

Andy Marsh, CEO of Plug Power, called Union a perfect fit to host the fuel cell, which is located in the basement of Beuth.

“Through real-world field trials, such as this project at Union, alternative energy solutions for the everyday consumer move closer to reality.”

To read an earlier story about the project that appeared in the Times Union, click here.




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Posted on Sep 29, 2009

Thursday, Oct. 1, 4 p.m. / Reamer Campus Center Auditorium / “Becoming a Curator: Seeing Race, Class, Gender and History in Objects and Images,” lecture by New Paltz, N.Y., independent curator and historian Rickie Solinger, who curated “Reimagining the Distaff”

Friday, Oct. 2, 5-8 p.m. / Nott Memorial / Opening reception for “North by Northeast: Baskets and Beadwork from the Akwesasne Mohawk and Tuscarora” and “Reimagining the Distaff Toolkit,” both at the Mandeville Gallery  

Friday, Oct. 2–Monday, Oct. 5, 8 and 10 p.m. / Reamer Campus Center Auditorium / Film: “The Proposal”

Saturday, Oct. 3, 9:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m. / College Park Hall / New England Council of Latin American Studies Conference

Saturday, Oct.3, 1 p.m. / College Park Field / Women’s soccer vs. SUNY Fredonia

Saturday, Oct. 3, 6 p.m. / Frank Bailey Field / Football vs. Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Saturday, Oct. 3, 6:30 p.m. / Messa Rink at Achilles Center / Men’s ice hockey vs. Garnet and White

Sunday, Oct. 4, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. / Jay Street near City Hall / Union-Schenectady Alliance (USA) and Schenectady’s Greenmarket present a Student Appreciation Day at the farmer’s market; walking tours begin at 10 a.m. from Skellar Circle, leaving every half hour, with live entertainment from Union groups at noon.

Tuesday, Oct. 6, 5-7pm. / Visual Arts Atrium / Fall reception of the President’s Commission on the Status of Women, welcoming new faculty and staff (children welcome); commission co-chairs are Kristina Striegnitz, Claire Bracken and Guillermina Seri

Tuesday, Oct. 6, 7 p.m. / College Park Field / Women’s soccer vs. Hartwick

Tuesday, Oct. 6, 7 p.m. / Frank Bailey Field / Field hockey vs. Middlebury

Wednesday, Oct. 7, 4 p.m. / Tennis courts / Men's tennis vs. LeMoyne

Thursday, Oct. 8, 4:30 p.m. / Schaffer Library, Phi Beta Kappa Room / Philosophy Speaker Series presents Columbia University’s Katja Vogt: “Do Human Beings have Non-Relative Value?”

Thursday, Oct. 8, 12:50-1:50 p.m. / Hale House, Everest Lounge / Rapaport  Ethics Across the Curriculum Initiative luncheon workshop featuring Rashi Fein, professor of economics of Medicine, Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, Harvard University, on ethics and economics

Thursday, Oct. 8, 4:30 p.m. / Reamer Campus Center Adutiorium Rapaport Ethics Across the Curriculum Initiative public lecture on "Health Care Reform: Past, Present and Future," featuring Rashi Fein, professor of economics of Medicine, Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, Harvard University

Friday, Oct. 9, 1:50 p.m. / Emerson Auditorium, Taylor Music Center / Department of Music and IEF presents Friday Jazz with professor Tim Olsen and Friends, “Swing”; free

Friday, Oct. 9, 4 p.m. / College Park Field / Women’s soccer vs. RPI

Friday, Oct. 9, 4 p.m. / Frank Bailey Field / Field hockey vs. Hamilton

Friday, Oct. 9, 7 p.m. / Messa Rink at Achilles Center / Men’s hockey vs. University of Maine

Friday, Oct. 9-Monday, Oct. 12, 7 and 10 p.m. / Reamer Campus Center Auditorium / Film: “Transformers 2”

Saturday, Oct. 10, 1 p.m. / College Park Field / Field hockey vs. St. Lawrence University

Saturday, Oct. 10, 2 p.m. / Frank Bailey Field / Football vs. Hobart

Saturday, Oct. 10, 4 p.m. / College Park Field / Women’s soccer vs. Vassar

Saturday, Oct. 10, 7 p.m. / Messa Rink at Achilles Center / Men’s hockey vs. University of Maine

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Posted on Sep 29, 2009

Through Oct. 16
Schaffer Library
Thelma and Kenneth Lally Reading Room
Degas’ Contemporaries

Coinciding with the “Degas & Music” show currently on display at the Hyde Collection in Glens Falls, N.Y., this exhibit features work from Union’s Permanent Collection by peers of famed French impressionist Edgar Degas.


Sept. 25  – Oct. 24
Nott Memorial
Mandeville Gallery
“North by Northeast: Baskets and Beadwork from the Akwesasne Mohawk and Tuscarora”

Selected pieces from a traveling exhibition curated by Kathleen Mundell, folklorist and director of Cultural Resources, a nonprofit organization that helps communities sustain local culture. An opening reception will be held Friday, Oct. 2, 5-8 p.m. in the Nott Memorial.


Long Time Standing; Greg Eltringham, Paintings and Drawings; Visual Arts Atrium

Through Nov. 14
Visual Arts Building
Arts Atrium
Greg Eltringham, Paintings and Drawings

This exhibit features the work of Greg Eltringham, professor of painting at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Ga.



Through March 14
Schaffer Library Atrium
Union Notables

Union Notables celebrates the great men and women who have studied and worked at the College from its founding in 1795 to the present day. Every six months, a new group of three notables is featured. Currently featured are assistant professor and janitor Charles Frederick Chandler (1836-1925);  actor, playwright,  journalist and producer John Howard Payne (1791-1852); andCollege Librarian Ruth Anne Evans (1924-2001).




Reimagining the Distaff
Debra Priestley, Mattoon 8, 2008, mixed media on board
Mandeville Gallery

Through Dec. 20
Nott Memorial
Mandeville Gallery
“Reimagining the Distaff Toolkit”

A This traveling exhibit curated by New Paltz, N.Y., independent curator and historian Rickie Solinger, featuring 36 works by 28 contemporary artists. Each work incorporates a tool that was important for women’s domestic labor in the past. Solinger will give a lecture in conjunction with the show on Thursday, Oct. 1 at 4 p.m. in Reamer Campus Center Auditorium. Her talk is entitled “Becoming a Curator: Seeing Race, Class, Gender and History in Objects and Images.” An opening reception will be held Friday, Oct. 2, 5-8 p.m. in the Nott Memorial.

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Recruitment of Class of 2014 in full swing

Posted on Sep 29, 2009

Welcome sign on campus, Sept 2009

With the Admissions season now in full motion, Union’s counselors are on the road for weeks at a time, traveling throughout the United States and to Belgium, Costa Rica, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Switzerland and other countries.

“This fall, we are visiting 25 states, 10 countries, 550 high schools and 100 college fairs,” said Matt Malatesta, director of Admissions, Financial Aid and Enrollment.

 In addition, Union recently joined Yale, Dartmouth, West Point and more than 200 other colleges in turning to the Web to promote their institutions through CollegeWeekLive.com, one of several sites offering prospective students a virtual way to interact with school officials. For more on the virtual college fair, click here.

For those who like to visit campus the old-fashioned way, the Office of Admissions will host fall Open Houses for prospective students on Monday, Oct. 12 and Monday, Oct. 26, beginning at 8:45 a.m. both days. For more information and a schedule of activities, click here.  

Susie Hanks, Admissions

There will be a luncheon in Memorial Fieldhouse from 12:30-1:30 p.m., with academic receptions to follow, 1-1:30 p.m. Faculty who are able to attend luncheons and represent their department at the reception tables should contact Lilia Tiemann at tiemannl@union.edu.

In an e-mail letter this week, Malatesta thanked faculty and staff “for all you do to help in our efforts to recruit the best and brightest young women and men to Union.”

New to Union’s recruiting team this year is Susan Hanks, associate dean of Admissions, who spent many years at Lehigh University. She will be leading travel and outreach efforts for the office’s counselors as well as meeting prospective students in the Capital Region, Colorado, Long Island and Ohio.      

“While the economic downturn of last year posed a major challenge, we face the recruitment of the Class of 2014 with reasons for optimism,” Malatesta said. “As one indicator of good news, this summer we saw a greater than 10 percent increase in visitors over the previous year.”


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People in the news

Posted on Sep 29, 2009

Hans-Friedrich Mueller, the William D. Williams Professor of Classics, was one of the featured speakers who examined the historical impact of the three-day Battle of the Teutoburg Forest at a recent symposium at Martin Luther College in New Ulm, Minn. The symposium was part of the Hermann Victory Celebration, which drew thousands of spectators to see an army of re-enactors led by Arminius, also known as “Hermann the German,” defeat the Roman legions of Quintilus Varus. The 2,000-year-old battle helped shape Europe for centuries to come.


Pilar Moyano, professor of Spanish, delivered two papers in Spain in June. These were: “Fantasía y memoria histórica de España en el cine de Guillermo del Toro,” at the V International Conference of the Sociedad Hispánica de Humanidades, in Seville, and “’Los niños de Morelia’ en la obra del dramaturgo mexicano Víctor Hugo Rascón Banda” at the Intercontinental Conference of the Instituto Universitario de Investigación y Estudios Norteamericanos de la Universidad de Alcalá de Henares, in Madrid.

Marty Benjamin book, Atomic Age

A monograph artist book, “Atomic Age,” by Professor of Visual Arts Martin Benjamin, will be unveiled in conjunction with a solo exhibition of the same name during Atlanta Celebrates Photography (ACP) month. The exhibition at Pace Academy in Buckhead, Ga., continues throughout October. The body of work is about life in the atomic age, from people to locations to lyrical photographs about love and life. Published by Atomic Age/Digital Press and spanning images from 1978 to 2007, the book will debut at the Oct. 6 reception for Benjamin’s exhibition. The book’s development was supported by a CAPS Photography Fellowship from the New York State Council for the Arts and a Humanities Faculty Development Research Grant from the College. In summer 2007, Benjamin worked with summer research intern Nina Witschonke, a visiting international student from Aachen, Germany, to sequence and lay out the book’s 122 photographs with text. Upon return to her home university, Witschonke continued working on the project for her senior thesis, earning her art degree with an exhibition of her work relating to “Atomic Age” and three other potential book projects with Benjamin. Also instrumental in the book’s production was David Ogawa, professor of art history. “Atomic Age” contains images taken in such locations as Los Alamos, Colo., Oak Ridge, Tenn., Alamagordo, N.M., Hiroshima, Japan, Cuba, China and Vietnam as well as in Schenectady and the Capital Region. It will be available at the Union College Bookstore, among other outlets.


Samuel Amanuel, assistant professor of physics, recently presented a paper on “Reconciliation of the Apparent Delta H During the Phase Transition of Physically Confined System” at the North American Thermal Analysis Society Annual Conference in Lubbock Texas. The analysis and calculations showed that the behavior of molecules within 2.14 nano meters from a surface is different than molecules far away from a surface. The work involved summer research by Hillary Bauer ’11, Peter Bonventre ’11 and Dana Lasher ’08.      

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