Crossing disciplines and using the local to study the global
The students in Dr. Damico’s class, “Disaster! Social and Environmental Crises in World History,” took a field trip in February 2012 to Johnstown, PA. They joined students from Dr. Bill Strosnider’s Environmental Engineering class, “Appropriate Technologies in the Developing World.”
In the spring of 2012, the students in Dr. Strosnider’s and Dr. Damico’s classes worked with local non-profit Sandyvale Association. In conjunction with the non-profit Natural Biodiversity, the Sandyvale Association seeks to transform a former cemetery, devastated by the Johnstown Flood of 1889, into a memorial park, green space, dog park, and community gardens, all in a sustainable, eco-friendly manner.
The field trip
the students began their trip at the Johnstown Flood National Memorial at South Fork, where the dam broke (pictured above).
Next, students visited the Johnstown Flood Museum, in downtown Johnstown, where the flood destroyed buildings and killed over 2,000 people. There, students were given a personalized tour by Ms. Kaytlin Sumner, chief curator and archivist at the Johnstown Area Heritage Association and adjunct History instructor at Saint Francis University.
They concluded the trip with a visit to the Sandvyale site itself, where they saw the progress being made and learned what they could do to further that progress.
See student work on their projects here.