Documenting Campus Life, Nine Photographs at a Time
Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering Cynthia Carlson is marking time at a fence post near the honors program residence hall in North Campus.
Since December, she’s visited the same spot every week or two to take nine photographs from the same eight points on the compass, plus one pointed straight up at the sky.
Her work is part of the Picture Post project, an environmental-monitoring program that empowers citizens around the globe to observe, measure and share their stories about changes to natural areas that are important to them, whether a forest, park, school or even their own backyard. The images are stored on servers at the University of New Hampshire and shared on the Picture Post website.
“I really like citizen science,” Carlson said. “I like getting people interested in learning, science and what is going on around them.”
Carlson chose to document the area near the honors house because it is one of the busiest spots on campus, particularly during construction of the North Academic Pavilion.
“As an environmental engineer, I’m interested in changes in the environment, but also in watching the North Academic Pavilion go up,” Carlson said.
16450185123The camera is affixed to this mount, fashioned from old Plexiglas by engineering department machinist Doug Therrien.
Carlson’s camera is mounted on an octagon-shaped platform, fashioned by engineering department machinist Doug Therrien from old, frosted Plexiglas from Lawler Rink, and then placed on a fence post across from the Sanctuary coffeehouse patio. She orients the camera to due north, and then snaps a photo from each angle on the octagon. Finally, she takes a picture of the sky to note the weather that day.
Carlson said she’d like to eventually install permanent picture posts around campus to record changes of other areas that would be of interest to students, employees and alumni.
Kijua Sanders-McMurtry, vice president for equity and inclusion at Mount Holyoke College, was a featured speaker for Merrimack College’s bi-annual series designed to broaden and deepen understandings of systemic inequalities and intersecting identities.