News Archive

2010 Trip to Lansing

3/24/2010 - As part of the Ford Institute's efforts to build networks between our students and members of the Albion College family, 11 members of the Ford Institute spent the entire day in Michigan's capitol, meeting with lawmakers, congressional staffers, lobbyists and more. The students also had a private session with Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Marilyn Kelly in the Hall of Justice. Shortly after our meeting with Chief Justice Kelly, the students sat down with Janet Welch '71, who currently serves as the Executive Director of the State Bar association of Michigan. She and some of her staff spoke with students interested in law school and offered up strategies to law school entrance and passing the bar. She and her staff also offered valuable advice to the Ford students about what to expect in a career in law, and how to maneuver obstacles many young law students face entering into the field. SealofMichigan
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2010 Senior Trip to Washington D.C.

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3/17/2010 - 3/20/2010 - The Ford Institute's Class of 2010 in conjunction with their PBSV 397 Senior Colloquium course embarked for the nation's capitol to meet with members of congress, staff in the executive branch, and alums in the D.C. area. Highlighting the trip was a meeting with the Commissioner of the FCC Robert McDowell, he discussed issues of internet regulation and net neutrality, and the recently adopted Broadband Deployment Plan. The students also met with Michigan Senators Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin, with additional stops at U.S. Representatives Dave Camp and Mark Schauer's offices. The students and Director Pheley also attended a dinner with alumni in the area at Buca di Beppo on Dupont Circle.

 

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Popcorn, Pajamas, and Propoganda Movie Night

2/18/2010 - As part of the Ford Lecture Series, the institute hosted a documentary movie night for all for Ford students. The evening's screening was Food Inc. by Magnolia Pictures. A large screen was set up in Upper Baldwin Hall and students laid on big pillows and sleeping bags. Popcorn, drinks, and snacks were provided to all in attendance. The movie was followed by a brief discussion.

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Engineering

oldriverstructureAs we drove south, we were able to stop and visit several river engineering projects that have a profound effect on the delta. Older projects were intended to prevent flooding and improve navigation. More recent projects are intended to remediate some environmental consequences of the earlier projects.
The most upstream project we visited was the control structure at old river. Actually a complex of projects, including a power generation station, this controls the distribution of water between the Mississippi and its major northern distributary, the Atchafalaya. Without these structures, many believe that the Mississippi would have switched its main flow to the much shorter Atchafalaya channel to the sea.

bonnetcarreThe Bonnet Carre' Spillway, just upstream from New Orleans, represents one the last ditch, but most effective ways that flood waters are controlled. This structure can open a 7,000 foot wide gap in the levee system, diverting water through a floodway into Lake Pontchartrain. This relieves pressure on downstream levees. In its natural state, the river had many such distributaries, and these fed fresh water into Southern Louisiana's complex of fresh and brackish water marshes. With most distributaries blocked, saltwater incursion is a problem

 

aceboats4Davis Pond freshwater diversion structure is an attempt to recreate the effects of natural flooding, and to regulate salinities in a broad swath of land, roughly from New Orleans south to the gulf, between the Mississippi and Bayou Lafourche. Here, students are traveling within the project area in an ACE boat.

 

jack-uprigOne concerned party in the area is the oil industry. As much as 25% of the nation's oil comes onshore across the Louisiana coast, and serious erosion could jeopardize this infrastructure. Here, along Bayou Lafourche, an offshore "jack-up rig" is being readied for deployment. We also saw that canals built throughout the wetlands contribute to the problems of erosion and saltwater incursion.

 

hurricanemodelThe Jefferson Parrish Emergency Preparedness Center houses people who will try to manage the situation should natural disaster strike the area. We learned that flooding from the sea during a hurricane is a much more likely problem than flooding from the river. The computer screen shows the depth of flooding from a possible storm predicted by computer models. Over 12 feet of water are possible in many thickly settled areas. With limited highways, it is estimated that it could take as long as 72 hours to fully evacuate the area, and presently, forecasting cannot predict storms that far in advance.

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