The dirt on Marcellus Shale
Geology students and community members crowded into a Ho Science Center classroom in February to hear John Williams ’76 present “Hydrogeology of the Marcellus Shale Gas Play in New York State.” A hydrologist who works for the U.S. Geological Survey, Williams has studied the Marcellus Shale and aquifers above it in Pennsylvania and is now focused on New York State. He discussed the proposed, yet controversial, drilling of the Marcellus Shale for the extraction of natural gas, explaining the hydrogeology, the technology that will be used, and the possible environmental effects.
The Marcellus Shale is a black shale formation that extends deep underground from Ohio and West Virginia northeast into Pennsylvania and southern New York. Active drilling and gas development has already begun in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. “In New York, the state said we’re not ready, so there’s been none of this fever that’s been down in Pennsylvania, but it is coming to New York State very soon,” explained Williams.
Hydraulic fracturing — the method used in gas extraction — is at the center of the debate. Those opposed to “hydrofracking” are concerned with its possible effects, including surface water and groundwater contamination, chemical spillage, and the amount of water required.
Those in favor of the drilling argue that the potential job opportunities and fiscal incentives will greatly benefit the economically depressed areas of the state.
Williams presented both the advantages and pitfalls. He said that the state must use the best technology available, including microseismic monitoring of hydraulic fracturing, reducing the impact on freshwater resources by reusing fluid, and sampling local well water before and after drilling.
At press time, New York State had developed draft regulations and was reviewing the more than 13,000 submitted comments from the scientific community, other regulatory agencies, and the public.
Back on campus
On the weekend of January 15, hundreds of Colgate seniors convened on campus just a few days before the official end of winter break. They came to meet with more than 100 alumni, who made the trek to frosty Hamilton for Real World 2010. These alumni generously advised the soon-to-be-graduates through a series of panels and cocktail receptions, reassuring them that although the future may be uncertain, the Colgate network is always available.
J. Austin Murphy ’83, senior writer for Sports Illustrated, delivered an amusing yet poignant keynote address in which he related his own life experiences as a “reverse barometer for success.” He reminded the seniors to be optimistic about the next step: “You’re about to be unleashed on the world with an enviable array of advantages, most of which you’ve earned. You have youth, wisdom beyond your years, a superior work ethic, and a network of alumni who care deeply about your progress. In a lot of ways, you’ve already won.”
J. Austin Murphy ’83 (Photo by Andrew Daddio)
At the Government/Public Policy panel, Patrice Chang Bey ’94 described her experiences teaching in Africa and St. Lucia before taking a job in Syracuse, N.Y., government. She encouraged the seniors to “be fearless” in their job searches and in life: “Research the people who are holding the positions that you want,” she said. “Learn what they do, who they are, what they need. It is important that you come out of your comfort zones and engage them.”
Glenn Ivers ’73 spoke at the panel on nonprofit organizations about how being at Colgate during the peak of activism against the Vietnam War inspired him to enter the nonprofit sector. “Part of what we were doing as a generation was reacting to the horrific things our nation was doing,” said the executive director of Wanderer’s Rest Humane Association in Canastota, N.Y. “Over the years, I have really derived not just monetary wealth, but also emotional wealth from helping people in my career.”
The print news industry transition to web content was the topic of a discussion led by Paul Toscano ’07, producer for CNBC.com, at the Media and Journalism panel. He sounded optimistic for the future, explaining that, “There is a new frontier. The fact that we can’t monetize it just means we haven’t figured it out yet.”
Interim President Lyle Roelofs encouraged the seniors to reflect on their accomplishments at Colgate, and be proud: “You’ve been exposed to the great thinkers of all eras, you’ve majored in a discipline, and at this point you probably don’t have the realization that you are better prepared for the real world than most people your age. Don’t be shy about your abilities. Employers might not know it yet, but it’s very much to your advantage, and theirs, that they understand that.”
— Kate Preziosi ’10
Go figure –
Colgate on Facebook
7,818 on the Colgate network
24 Colgate class groups
1976 earliest class with a dedicated Facebook group
907 friends of Raider
2,077 Raider Nation fans
83 members of the “I’m from Colgate University and I use Colgate Toothpaste” group
36 videos of performances at the Barge Canal Coffee Company
2,297 fans of New York Pizzeria — aka “Slices”
58 “fan photos” on the Colgate University fan page
3 photos of students snoozing on the Extreme Napping (Colgate Chapter) group page
12 members in the Colgate group Chuck Norris Concentrators
[Numbers collected in March 2010]
— Jason Kammerdiener ’10
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