Alums Fish for Samples – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Alums Fish for Samples

On unusually calm water, and under a bright sky, alums hunted for water, sediment and critter samples aboard the William Scandling research vessel with Professor of Geoscience John Halfman. Before setting off, Halfman posed the question “How do you think we can get some surface water as well as water and mud samples from 70 feet below?” To get surface water, he explained, you simply throw over a bucket. For getting the deep water, one alum suggested, “You’d better have a good back!” In truth, you need a special type of contraption that slides down a wire, hits a spring and scoops up mud. 

With the mud obtained, the alums had the task of seeing, feeling and smelling everything in the mud in order to explain it. While examining the sample, Halfman explained the rate at which the invasive Quagga mussels took the place of Zebra mussels and how much algae they are able to filter (which is about two to three gallons of water per day).  Alums were also able to learn more about how the trout have been affected, where the mussels can be found and even the reason for the blueness of the water. 

Aubin “Bonnie” Wilson ’84, holding a handful of mussels, said she flew all the way from Pasadena, Calif. for her 25th reunion. Wilson explained she was staying in Caird Hall. “The best part about it is that a bunch of old friends are staying there too – and that is of course the best part about being here-seeing old friends.” 

Barbara Block ’58 agreed that it’s great to reconnect with people, and adds it’s also wonderful to revisit the HWS campus, which is where she met her husband. She is particularly looking forward to dinner at President Mark Gearan’s house.

Jack Kemper ’64 from Illinois also found it interesting to reconnect with the campus, “I haven’t been here for 35 years and I hardly recognize the place. There are so many new buildings and changes. We didn’t have a boat like this, so this is great.”

Ed Lansing ’43 agreed and, looking over the lake, said “I couldn’t have asked for a better day, it’s beautiful. This is the way I remember it.”