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Engineers vital to sustainable development

Jerald L. Schnoor, a University of Iowa civil and environmental engineering professor, supported sustainability engineering programs during the MU Multiscale Environmental Research Symposium on May 2. Photo by Jennifer Keyzer-Andre

Tree hugging isn’t just for environmentalists anymore.

Engineers have a key role to play in the search for sustainable technologies that will solve the environmental woes plaguing today’s society, said Jerald L. Schnoor, a University of Iowa civil and environmental engineering professor. Sustainable answers to a variety of ecological problems require engineering know–how, said Schnoor, a self–proclaimed “tree hugger.”

“If we’re going to solve some of these problems of global warming and land and water degradation, we have to be serious about sustainability,” Schnoor said.

Schnoor was the first of several speakers at the MU Multiscale Environmental Research Symposium held May 2 in Memorial Union. The symposium, sponsored by the Multiscale Environmental Research Center for Sustainable Development, also featured poster sessions and a panel discussion.

University students generally embrace the notion of sustainable development, which focuses on fulfilling present needs without compromising the opportunities available to future generations, Schnoor said.

Indeed, Schnoor said sustainable engineering programs ignite student imaginations while encouraging them to innovate in such areas as hydrogen, wind and solar technologies that may well provide employment when they graduate.

“We can do well while we do good—and we are doing it,” he said.

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