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2017 August 13 - 12:32 am

Around Campus

A Look at Campus Life at Various Community and Junior Colleges

You won’t hear the roar of the fleet vehicle engines at Georgia Piedmont Technical College much these days. That’s because electric vehicles don’t make a lot of noise. The college is expanding its fleet of electric vehicles, and providing charging stations to keep them fueled up. Showcasing its commitment to create a more environmentally friendly campus for faculty, staff, students, and community stakeholders, the college held a ribboncutting ceremony to introduce the electric vehicle charging stations that were recently installed at two locations on the college’s Newton campus. Prior to the actual ribboncutting, college President Jabari Simama, said, “Today we are here to show that we protect and respect the environment. We have replaced over one third of our vehicle fleet with electric and hybrid vehicles, I believe we are on the right track when it comes to reducing our carbon footprint. This initiative, as well as other initiatives at the campus, are part of the college’s “Green Scene” environmental movement. A highlight of the festive ribbon-cutting ceremony included giving attendees an opportunity to check out some of the latest in high-tech, energy efficient vehicles. Attendees got the chance to get up close and personal with Tesla’s Model S, a couple of BMWs — including the i3 and the 530e-plug-in hybrid — the Chevy Volt and the Nissan Leaf. Currently, Georgia Piedmont’s fleet includes four gasoline-electric non-plug-in hybrids; two 100 percent electric vehicles; and six vehicles that operate using compressed natural gas. In spring of 2016, the college rolled out two vehicle charging stations at its main campus in DeKalb County. Now that the charging stations are online, the Newton campus is one of four public charging stations that exist within a 14-mile radius.

Designing and building a giraffe enrichment device could be a tall order for some, but not for Randolph Community College’s welding technology students. They recently worked with zookeepers from the North Carolina Zoo to improve an existing enrichment item and add a new one to the giraffe enclosure behind the scenes at the zoo in Asheboro. The students and their instructors formed a caravan of vehicles and 4x4 trucks outside the N.C. Zoo Education Building to follow Animal Management Supervisor Jodi Wiley through the back gate and along the tram paths to the rear of the giraffe barn to install the new equipment. The students worked for several hours in the hot, humid July heat to remove an old wire basket from an existing pole and install the new hardware they had fabricated with design help from the zookeepers. While the old basket, originally designed as a hay feeder according to Wiley, could hold a few tree boughs (from which the resident giraffes love to munch on the leaves), the new hardware has a horizontal bar with eight loops across the top to which various enrichment items can be attached. It is also angled to boost the height of the 16-foot pole to a total of 18 feet to place it at “giraffe height.” The hardware was mounted to a hand-cranked hoist that can be moved to the bottom of the pole for access by the zookeepers. Although the giraffes were safely tucked away in the barn during the “construction,” the RCC students did attract some attention from other animals nearby in the habitat. Suddenly appearing at the habitat gate were an ostrich and three zebra, curious as to what was going on. Although the zebra didn’t stick around, the ostrich supervised the work for quite some time. After completing the improvement to the first armature, the students enlisted the help of a couple of zoo workers and a forklift. Together, they successfully installed the second fabricated pole at another corner of the giraffe’s behind-the-scenes quarters, then attached the second enrichment armature. Wiley, who has been with the N.C. Zoo for 15 years, said the enhanced armature would give the zookeepers more options to provide the giraffes “enrichment” with feeding puzzles, toys, and other objects to stimulate their curiosity and engagement. Wiley, who said the giraffes usually take some time to adjust to new items, reported the zoo’s big male giraffe went right for the new enrichment when he was let out of the barn. RCC Welding Department Head Michael S. Ford said real-world projects such as this help the students prepare for the work force, where skilled welders are in demand.

The Raritan Valley Community College Planetarium in Branchburg, N.J., will be heating up with excitement in August, as the planetarium — and the rest of the country — prepare for a total solar eclipse on Aug. 21. It is the first time in 99 years that the U.S. is experiencing a coastto-coast total solar eclipse. While the “Path of Totality” for complete viewing of the solar eclipse will run diagonally across the country from Oregon to South Carolina, New Jersey residents will see approximately 75 percent of the sun covered by the Moon.

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