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Commentary

This new section of QUAD ANGLES features feedback from our readers. Many thanks to Paul Konove, Jim McKenna, and Nancy-Fey Yensan for allowing us to share their correspondence on our Sustainable Agriculture issue.

On QUAD ANGLES Summer 2010—The Sustainability Issue

To Web Master:

It is good to see renewable energy issues and a concern for the environment become more a part of your magazine. I graduated in 1971 with a B.S. in mechanical engineering and have been involved with renewable energy through non-profit work, residential design/construction, and policy issues (greenhomedesignbuild.com in case you are interested) since the late ’70s here in North Carolina. Involving students, communicating with alumni, changing policy on campus while also participating in local political decisions are all critical steps for our moving ahead personally and collectively to positively impact our most pressing national and global concern.

Keep it up.

Paul Konove

pkonove@greenhomedesignbuild.com

On “Farming in Rhode Island: A Growth Industry”

To Professor Rebecca Brown

Dear Dr. Brown:

I just received my QUAD ANGLES and read the article “Farming in Rhode Island: A Growth Industry.” I sent a note to the magazine complementing their “Sustainability issue” and telling them how pleased I was to see agriculture again in the lexicon at Rhody. I want to commend you for your sustainable agriculture curriculum initiative. Food safety and security are becoming very important issues for agriculture to address both locally and globally. Most importantly, this is a production major that is relevant and appropriate for the Land Grant College in Rhode Island.

As an agriculture graduate from URI in 1964, I watched with some distress the evolution {of the College of Agriculture} to the College of Natural Resources {now the College of the Environment and Life Sciences} and the loss of the word “agriculture” from my college. Many years ago I wrote to then Dean Cobble expressing my concern. Obviously I’ve overcome this angst as I watched the Agronomy Department at Virginia Tech become Crop and Soil Environmental Science some 24 years ago, and my “crop option” become “agro-ecology” as I changed our curriculum to be more relevant over 20 years ago.

We are really in parallel development at this moment as our undergraduate production major has indeed become “sustainable agriculture,” and we have just launched a new minor called “civic agriculture” with the Department of Health, Nutrition, Food, and Exercise focusing on local sustainable food production.

I like to think we are among the leaders in curriculum development for our 220 undergraduates in CSES. I am very proud to see my alma mater keeping right up with us.

I received a wonderful education and start toward a 46-year career in agricultural education, cooperative extension, and university academics at URI. The basic science and hands on nature of our old agriculture curriculum provided me the tools I needed. I retired from Virginia Tech as department head in July and presently am staying on in that role until we identify a new head this fall, so I’ve run my race.

I’m so pleased to see things on the Kingston Plains are still alive and growing. Keep up the good work. If you or any of your co-conspirators are attending the ASA meetings in Long Beach, I’d enjoy hearing more about your efforts.

Sincerely, Jim McKenna

Dr. James “Jim” McKenna

Department of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences

Virginia Institute of Technology

Blacksburg, Virginia

jamckenn@vt.edu

From: Nancy L. Fey-Yensan

Dear Dr. McKenna,

Thank you for that wonderful and encouraging feedback. Dr. Brown and the Department of Plant Sciences have worked hard to keep agriculture as a vibrant and viable part of the curriculum within the College of the Environment and Life Sciences. I think they have a very bright, and very important future, as they, along with sister departments within the college, consider how to best create a major in sustainable food production.

I was very fortunate to have had the opportunity to get to know the department and their passion as I served for one year as the college’s interim dean. I will watch with great interest as they continue to be creative and forward thinking, serving both the public and our students in extraordinary ways.

Thank you for recognizing their efforts and for your continuing interest in the University of Rhode Island. I do hope you will let the college know if you are ever back in Rhode Island—we love to catch up with our alumni.

My very best wishes,

Nancy Fey-Yensan

Professor of Nutrition and Food Science

College of the Environment and Life Sciences

University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI

fey@uri.edu

On QUAD ANGLES Winter 2009–2010

Letter to the Editor:

The seven 1950 East Hall residents seen here are Mary Lou Greenhood, June Vine, Sara Kontoff, Sandy Schopack, Margie Mayerson, Roberta Koch, and “Penny” Penzell.

I was pleased to read the article “East Hall Turns 100” in QUAD ANGLES Winter 2009-2010 magazine. Indeed, East Hall remains an attractive part of the URI Quad and campus.

Viewing the 2009 photograph of professors from the Physics Department sent me searching for a 1950 photograph of dormitory residents posing on the same East Hall doorway steps. For your pleasure, I’ve enclosed the 1950 photo of seven (then residents) of East Hall.

Great article, and I am grateful to see how East Hall has survived as a campus landmark, notable piece of architectural history, and attractive part of the URI Quad.

Sincerely,

Marjorie Mayerson Zarum ’89

Punta Gorda, Fl.

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