To celebrate the fifth anniversary and the recent ENERGY STAR award from the Environmental Protection Agency, the Finger Lakes Institute (FLI) welcomed students, faculty, staff, community members and friends to an afternoon ceremony on Tuesday.
During the event, President Mark D. Gearan expressed his gratitude to the people who helped make the FLI what it is: to New York State Senator Michael Nozzolio, who, as Gearan said, “has been a consistent, stalwart supporter who has understood the importance of our research efforts and recognized the ecological significance of the Finger Lakes region”; to Marion Balyszak, director of the FLI, who, with her staff and the support of students and faculty, “has made something we’re truly proud of”; to Professor of Geoscience John Halfman, who at the inception phases of the FLI “had the vision to see the many research opportunities for students and faculty”; and to the FLI staff, whose dedication and hard work “continues to make this space vital to the campus and the region.”
Halfman, who spoke on behalf of the faculty, recalled the “really amazing trip” the FLI has had over the past five years-from the conception stages, kicked off with a $1 million startup fund secured by Nozzolio, through the renovation processes that made the 19th century building that houses the FLI into a green facility relying solely on renewable energy, to the current groundbreaking research conducted by students, faculty and staff.
While he shared his gratitude for all involved, Halfman said that “the one group of folks I’d especially like to extend thanks to are the students, who helped make this place,” referring to the design process, in which students collaborated with Halfman and Associate Professor of Economics Tom Drennen on ways to make the facility sustainable.
Speaking on behalf of the countless students whose education have been shaped by the FLI, geoscience and environmental science double-major Katherine Hoering ’10 said, “Many students have taken advantage of the opportunities and various events offered at the Finger Lakes Institute, which have made us better stewards of the environment.”
Thanking the students, administration, faculty and staff, as well as outside partners and supporters, Balyszak praised them for their foresight and awareness that the Finger Lakes will need attention in the future.
“I’m confident that with the education our students have received, the kind of education outreach for K-12 students, the support and commitment of people like Senator Nozzolio, President Gearan, Provost Amott, the FLI staff and countless others, the success over the past five years will continue in the future,” she said.
“Five years ago we broke ground here at Hobart and William Smith Colleges with a simple vision: to create an institute that would provide our region’s policy makers, residents and students with the tools that would allow us to protect Central New York’s priceless natural resources known as the Finger Lakes,” said Joan Grela, who spoke on behalf of Nozzolio. “Five years later, with that vision a reality, I could not be more proud of what we have accomplished. I look forward to continuing our partnership with the Finger Lakes Institute, to ensure that our Lakes receive the protection that they need and deserve.”