Request for Break-Out Session and Student Project Exhibition Proposals
The Seventh Annual FIT Sustainable Business and Design Conference will be held
on April 9, 2013 in the John Reeves Great Hall. The theme of the conference is:

“People, Planet, Prosperity: The Sustainable Balancing Act”

The concept focuses on social justice, and incorporating sustainability both as the core of business strategy and in our day-to-day lives to have an economically feasible, positive impact on people and the planet. Best practices will be presented by speakers, in break-out sessions, and in exhibits.

The organizing committee is reaching out to all faculty and staff for proposals on topics for break-out sessions as part of the conference. Information about previous years’ conferences can be found at:

If you would like to submit proposals and/or are interested in helping with organizing the conference (faculty and student volunteers are needed and welcomed), please email or

Break-Out Sessions

FIT Faculty and staff are encouraged to submit their proposals for presentations in 3 areas:

1. How sustainability is incorporated into each of their respective schools and disciplines

2. Curriculum building

3. Sustainable FIT- everyday actions for a greener campus life

Sessions should be 45-minutes long and can be presentations, workshops, roundtable discussions, or other formats. Break-out sessions are held in the Seminar Rooms in the lower level beneath the Great Hall, or in other locations on campus, as appropriate to the target audience, activity and topic.

Please submit the following information in your proposal:

1. Your name, department, title, email address and phone number.

2. Title of your presentation.

3. Brief summary of your presentation and how it relates to this year’s conference. theme and/or “FIT Forever Green,” the continuing college-wide sustainability effort.

4. Equipment that you may require, e.g. laptop and projector, smart board, etc.

Student Project Exhibition

Student projects relating to sustainability will be exhibited in the Great Hall and around the college during the conference. Please be prepared to work with your students to display their projects on the afternoon of Monday, April 8th and to dismantle them after 5:30pm on Tuesday, April 9th. There will also be an option to display work in digital format.

Please submit the following information if you would like to have student work displayed at the conference:

1. Your name, department, course, email address and phone number.

2. A brief description of the project.

3. Number of students who will be exhibiting.

4. Preferred method or needs for displaying work.

Proposals for Break-Out Sessions and the Student Project Exhbition will be reviewed and selected by The Sustainability Council to provide comprehensive and diverse issues related to sustainability.

Final submission deadline is Friday, February 15, 2013.

Please send to or

Research Project Outline – Beatrice Fairbanks

Name: Beatrice Fairbanks

Class: Environmental Behavior Research I (SIE562) Fall 2012 Section HC3

Date: December 3, 2012

Research Question: • Abstract
Developing affordable housing system for the rapidly growing urbanization slums can be sustained. How, utilizing local material with the appropriate technology tailored for the cultural conditions of their communities. Minimizing energy consumption, by incorporating passive energy/photovoltaic thermal for cooling and heating, rainwater harvesting, and for reusing for irrigation and waste, local capacity involvement for self-sustained. Thus, there will not have negative impact on the ecosystem and the environment.

Literature Review: (one page of annotated bibliography double-spaced, of at least three sources)

1. Development Context and the Millennium Agenda
The Challenge of Slums: Global Report on Human Settlements 2003
Revised and updated version (April 2010)
How can governments in developing countries meet the over populated cities and increasing slums/shelters. Housing infrastructure and land allocation, land rights.

2. Danko, S. (2010), On Designing Change. Journal of Interior Design, 36: v–ix. doi: 10.1111/j.1939-1668.2010.01044.x
Janda, Kathryn B. Buildings don’t use energy: people do. Architectural Science Review Vol. 54, Iss. 1, 2011
This article discusses new approach and forward thinking in designing buildings/house with alternative energy consumption, it argues against that building do not uses energy but people do. How can people in what ways utilize the natural illuminance, energy and to conservation.

3. Lawrence, Mike, Andrew Heath, and Pete Walker. “Determining moisture levels in straw bale construction.” Construction and Building Materials 23, no. 8 (2009): 2763-2768.
This article gives the history on straw bale construction, the effective cost, different types of straw bale, and its benefits.

4. Henderson, Kathryn. “Ethics, culture, and structure in the negotiation of straw bale building codes.” Science, Technology & Human Values 31, no. 3 (2006): 261-288.
This article talks about the integrating technology with traditional construction for maximum benefits and low cost self sustaining approaches.

5. Magwood, Chris, and Peter Mack. More Straw Bale Building: a complete guide to designing and building with straw. New Society Publishers, 2005.
The authors give the practical guideline and information about construction with straw bale, the logistics and how to guide.

6. Keating, Thomas F., and W. Andy Knight. Building sustainable peace. United Nations Univ, 2004.
This article discusses the economic sustainability of a country and its citizens for stability and maintaining peace (Haiti as the subject in discussion)

7. Kean, Sam. “From the Bottom Up.” Science 327, no. 5966 (2010): 638-639.

8. Sherpa, Dawang. “Affordable Solution for Earthquake Resistant Building Construction in Haiti.” (2010).
This article is about finding solutions to building affordable housing, earthquake adapt, and wind or hurricane resistant and meeting the residence basic needs and attracting donors.

• Methods: Straw Bale Building:
Building walls with straw bales can be accomplished with unskilled labor, and the low costs of the bales make this technique economically attractive. Straw bale construction uses baled straw from wheat, oats, barley, rye, rice and covered the walls with earthen or lime stucco.
Traditionally straw bale are a waste product which farmers do not use until under the soil, but do sell as animal bedding or landscape supply due to their durable nature.

Because of the ever increasing housing material and building cost, the straw bale method for constructing walls has been recently resuscitate as a low cost alternative for building highly insulating walls. The system had been practiced in the plains states in the latter 1800’s and early 1900’s. Some of these structures remains and functional till this day. The technique has been applied to homes, farm buildings, schools, commercial buildings, churches, community centers, government buildings, and airplane hangars. Straw is an excellent insulator around the ratio of 40, when comparing it to fiberglass straw bale take little energy to produce, it is recycling a waste product for farmers. The thermal benefit is that the walls are very thick and aesthetically pleasing an equivalent wood frame wall would be very expensive and waste of trees. They are easy to stack therefore, unskilled laborers can access with minimum supervisory.

For safety and security concerns, paradoxically a finished straw bale walls are very thick and dense that they have a better fire protection rating than conventional wood-frame walls. They are resistant to earthquakes, high wind of 145mph from hurricanes. Lastly farmers will not have to burn them to pollute the air quality for about 80% of the straw bale are burned after the grain harvesting.
Plastering interior with readily available locally found clay and exterior with lime plasters. Effective as a structural material for roofing will be bamboo or tall grass for thatching both are locally found and wildly grown in most countries. The bamboo and wire mesh is used to reinforce straw bale, they are cheap and has rapid growth rate they can be harvested several times within a year, and they are strong. By using the bamboo or tall grass, will help slow deforestation and illegal lodgings.

• Why This Interest Me & What is At Stake: one paragraph per
My interest in straw bale housing its sustainable architecture, affordable housing, alleviating urbanization slums. Earth is the most important building material, providing housing for the majority of the world ‘s population, which is available everywhere and cheap.

The cost of these buildings is extremely important, it’s a community’s initiative, thrift, and ability to organize and turn local resources to advantage to meet the basic human need of housing. The actual building program will be self-help, with technical assistance; owner built housing, unless the head household is single mother. It is control participation, meaning the government is not building the housing project for them the operation will use local resources in small groups and will tight knit community continuity in tradition. In most developing countries the housing system are not subsidized neither does the government provide building regulation for the developer to build standard affordable housing. Therefore, most dweller cannot afford what the independent developer builds. The more affordable, the more donors will be attractive and the more the straw bale housing can compete with conventional methods of building.

The house will be complete with rainwater harvesting system attaching to above or below cistern. Complete with communal low cost direct photovoltaic system for lighting and other low-demand electrical needs.
This is a forward thinking in protecting the environment and it’s ecologically sound method of constructing new building forever increasing population. With the integration of advanced technology in the building the rural dweller will enjoy their knit community without the need to move to the cities for economic mobility.

Final Research Paper (Outline)

Below is a detailed outline for your final research paper. Email with any questions/concerns/ideas. Don’t forget to include a proper Works Cited at the end. Your paper need be 5-8 pages in length, double-spaced in a readable font equivalent in size to Times New Roman 12-point font.

1. Introduce the topic / problem – what’s at stake (1/2 – 1 page)
2. This issue / problem leads me to this research question (1/2)

This is the anecdote that tells us why you chose the topic. After relaying why this is important, back track a little, maybe using a personal story, and talk about how you got to this topic.

3. History / situation / field / status (1/4 – 1/2)

What is the history of your question? How has straw bale construction been successful before? When did it start and why? What’s the history of sustainable textiles, in the US and elsewhere? How has sustainable marketing become important over the years and how does it work? Tell your readers how sustainable construction came to be a thing. Tell me about the marketing aspect especially. But more as a story that you maybe don’t get in these articles we read but from what you know elsewhere.

4. Literature review by topic, three long para is great (1 1/4 – 2)

Think here about three major trends in the literature and discuss themes in them. For Heidi, this could be indigeneity, sustainable textiles, and sustainable production and marketing. For Laura: sustainable construction, construction marketing, and sustainable marketing. For Beatrice: straw bale building materials, urban slums, and sustainable development plans. You no longer just sum up author by author but write about the topic and weave the authors ideas together, like Laurie’s research statement (see Dec 10th readings). In other words, create it as a flowing document about different topics or issues rather than a staccato summary of sources.

5. Methods – which type, how many, where, why these methods (1/2)

As for the longer methods write-up, write a few sentences about why you are choosing them and not other methods. I would consider using (for example) focus groups but I wouldn’t get enough folks in one place at once–or maybe the opposite! And: I wish I could use mental mapping but I do not think they will go for it. They may consider it useless or unclear. Or: I really would like to learn about surveys but I am not sure how to apply them here. Etc.

6. Site – where (1/2)

The purpose of the site is to think through where you would go collect data, from businesses to homes to Colorado mountains. Why these places? How are they specifically important? Even if you are not sure, offer your best guess as a way to think through what your best case scenario (or any scenario!) may be for moving forward.

7. Timeline – when interview, analyze, and write (1/2)

This is a timeline of how long you think it will take to do each part of the project. For instance: I would like to interview 10 folks at the sites described (say the mushroom company and a place yet tbd), 5 people per site. I will recruit participants during the summer after I choose the sites in July. Interviews will take place in the fall of 2013. Each interview will last an hour so that will involve about 30-40 hours (1:3-4 ratio) of transcription. I will finish transcription in the winter and look for trends through winter as well. I will finish my final paper in spring.

8. Contributions – who are you speaking to, what will it change (3/4)

First  say who has or hasn’t done work on this. Did you find a lot of articles or research on this topic? If you did, you say there is extensive literature on this but you are doing it in a different way or a different group or material or time or place because this ___ is specific to them and needs to be looked at. You say who it will be helpful for — Designers? Environmentalists? Architects? Scholars–of which discipline? These companies? Environment? Which parts of the environment? It’s not just about how you are adding some new ideas to what’s been written but also you are adding some cool work to making the world better. Spell out how.

An Outline




Research Question:  ask the question to guide your research (use words: sustainable, interior, and environment)

Literature Review: (one page of annotated bibliography double-spaced, of at least three sources)

Methods: list three types in a sentence or two each and why you would want to use them

Why This Interest Me & What is At Stake: one paragraph per


CUNY Institute for Sustainable Cities

A great institute we may decide to do work with in the future!

The CUNY Institute for Sustainable Cities (CISC) works to realize cities as part of the solution to global sustainability challenges. By merging the science of sustainability with innovative public programming, we examine opportunities available to cities—and their residents—for proactive responses to on-going environmental change. We harness the potential of formal and informal means to inspire a new generation of environmental thinkers. In doing so, we seek to understand and influence the evolution of the urban environment, while connecting the CUNY community, decision makers and the general public to these critical issues.

CISC explores the nature and complexity of cities through the following themes and questions:

Consumption: What are the elements, patterns, and impacts of urban consumption and how do they change over time?

Vulnerability and Resilience: How are cities impacted by global environmental change and what are their response capacities?

Ecosystem Services: What services do urban ecosystems provide to cities and how can their maintenance and restoration benefit urban areas?

What’s in an Annotated Bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is a list of citations to books, articles, and documents. Each citation is followed by a brief (usually between 200-400 words) descriptive and evaluative paragraph, the annotation. The purpose of the annotation is to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited.

Your entries can be compiled from class readings and the readings you bring together that interest you on a specific topic. These will review major terms and ideas, critique these ideas and tenets, and analyze their application to design practice. You will first provide me with a list of materials you plan to review (Oct. 22), and then second review them using the online platform Zotero (Oct. 29). Zotero will allow you to begin to build your own online library of key and cutting-edge work while including your own notes and structuring the readings into lists useful to you.

In brief, here’s an outline for writing 1-2 paragraphs per summary. It’s fine to be brief or go on to the maximum but make sure you really nail what each piece is about. It may take a few drafts to be clear.

  1. This article is about… (1-3 sentences)
  2. Why this is important… (1-2 sentences)
  3. How did they do it (methods)… (1 sentence)
  4. Key findings (1-4 sentences)
  5. Summary argument (1-2 sentences)