Pisa Study Abroad – Last Call

This is the final call for students interested in the Pisa, Italy, study abroad program. This unique study abroad program will provide students with a transdisciplinary perspective on sustainable development and is intended for rising seniors and graduate students interested in planning, policy, economics, business, innovation, environmental studies, and law. The program will explore the many dimensions of sustainability and how national, multinational, and international political and legal mechanisms can be used to further a transition towards sustainable development.

The program includes a summer school at the University of Pisa, attendance of 14th Conference of the European Society for Ecological Economics (ESEE), and hiking in the Apuan Alps.

If you are interested in the program, please contact me by March 31

While this program was designed for students at Virginia Tech and MIT, it is open to any rising senior or graduate student in good academic standing at any institute of higher education in the US. See below for more information on how to register as a non-Virginia Tech student.

Via Vandelli

Non-Virginia Tech Students 

  1. Create a non-VT study abroad account with the Global Education Office and apply for the study abroad program by the March 31 deadline.
  2. Your study abroad application will be reviewed. If you are offered acceptance to the study abroad program, the offer is pending admission to Virginia Tech as a Non-Degree Seeking student. To apply, complete the non-degree application. The non-degree application requires a $60 application fee and transcripts from previous studies.
  3. Non-degree applications are generally reviewed and approved within 72 hours. Students receive a non-degree offer letter with a Virginia Tech student ID number in order to pay study abroad program fees and be registered for the course. 
  4. Non-Virginia residents pay the out-of-state tuition rate (listed on the financial matters tab), unless students can document Virginia residency. For more information on qualifying for in-state status, see the in-state eligibility page.
  5. Students need to work with their home institution (academic adviser/faculty adviser/Registrar’s Office) to verify whether the Virginia Tech course/transcript can be transferred and count toward their degree.  

From Ping Pong to Community Wealth and Collaboration

Over the past year, performance artist Steven T. Licardi and I have been exploring ways to advance new economic thinking – related to Community Wealth Building – through a SciArts project. This project was funded by a grant from the Center for Communicating Science at Virginia Tech.

If you would like to know how ping ping and community wealth building are connected, please join us at 12pm on Thursday, March 17, at the new Creativity and Innovation District build at Virginia Tech.

New F.I.R.E. Starters Program Launches

I’m pleased to announce the launch of the new F.I.R.E. (Forging Interest in Research and Engagement) Starters undergraduate research program at Virginia Tech that aims to increase access to, and training for, research opportunities for underrepresented minority students.

Students will participate in cohort learning that introduces them to transdisciplinary research and prepares them to pursue future research opportunities. Each student may receive up to $4,000 in funding

Students in all disciplines – especially in the humanities and social sciences – are encouraged to think broadly about how their interests intersect with the theme of Environment and Society and how they could advance a research project that builds on their interests.

In addition to receiving a stipend, successful applicants will be given an opportunity to apply for up to $4,000 of additional funding to support a proposed research project.

If you are a faculty member/researcher/advisor at Virginia Tech, please encourage your eligible students to apply. Details are available here.

Seminar – Theory for Action (Feb 4, 12pm)

On Friday, February 4, from 12 – 1pm, Dr. Tiziano Distefano (University of Pisa, Italy) will talk about his research on applying system dynamics to address climate change and social inequality.

Please register here to obtain the Zoom link for the seminar. 

During his presentation, Dr. Distefano will also talk about a unique summer 2022 VT-MIT-UNIPI Study Abroad program (in Pisa, Italy) that will explore transitions towards sustainability and enable students to attend the 14th Conference of the European Society for Ecological Economics (ESEE) and hike and learn in the Apuan Alps.

Science on Tap – Community Wealth Building

For many, our current economic models no longer ensure our basic human needs are met. However, other worlds are possible, but we can’t create those worlds without you. Please join performance artist Steven T. Licardi and I on Wednesday, January 26, from 5:30 – 7:00pm at the Rising Silo, for an interactive performance-lecture that imagines, explores, and develops a vision of Community Wealth-Building in our community.

Behind the Scenes at the AgChain Hackathon

The video below presents a behind-the-scenes view of the AgChain Hackathon held at Egerton University, Kenya, from November 15 to 17. It was recorded by Nurvitria Kristofikova, a Program Director at AgUnity and core team member of our project entitled “Exploring Blockchain Technology to Improve Food Security Through African Indigenous Vegetables in Western Kenya.”

Webinar: To Block or Not – Exploring the Use of Blockchain in Last-Mile Agriculture Communities

Webinar: October 26, 2021, 8am-10am (EDT). Register (for free) here.

Traceability. Transparency. Trust.

Food systems built on these principles generally are known to attract higher price premiums by increasing consumer confidence and value for the products. This creates income earning opportunities for producers and upgrades the quality of agri-food value chains. Blockchain technology is heralded for its ability to improve traceability, trust, and trust in agri-food value chains. What is lesser known is whether it is a viable technology for those value chains that originate in last-mile agricultural communities.

This webinar explores the contexts in which blockchain offers real solutions to strengthening value chains and its potential for creating social impact, like improved food security or engaging youth in agriculture. For the optimist and the skeptic, this two-hour webinar aims to discard the trendiness of the emerging technology and take a pragmatic view of the opportunities to use blockchain to strengthen last-mile agriculture.

Webinar Host – Ralph Hall, Virginia Tech

Technology Panel: 8am – 9am (ETD)

Views from the Field Panel: 9am – 10am (ETD)

USG Workshop – DEI, Sustainability, and CWB

On Friday, July 9, I will be taking part in the first USG (Universities at Shady Grove) strategic planning workshop that will focus on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), Sustainability/Regenerability, and Community Wealth Building (CWB).  

Andrew Schell (from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation) will lead the discussion on DEI, Jessica Hardy (Virginia Tech PhD student) will lead the discussion on Sustainability/Regenerability, and I will conclude the workshop with a discussion on CWB. The workshop will be hosted by Anne Khademian (Executive Director, USG), Ike Leggett (a former executive of Montgomery County, Maryland), and Kevin Beverly (President & CEO of Social & Scientific Systems).

The workshop is open to the public, but registration is required.