Ship students to use new facility in Virginia

A new facility at the Marine Science Consortium (MSC) at Wallops Island, Va., will offer Shippensburg University students the opportunity for study of coastal and marine environments.

Shippensburg is one of 13 member institutions in the consortium. Shippensburg President Bill Ruud was one of more than 100 individuals who attended the recent ribbon cutting for the consortium’s new 35,000 square foot silver LEED Certified environmental learning center. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is an internationally recognized certification developed by the U.S. Green Building Council.

According to Ruud, “Higher education, like society at-large, is ever changing, and at Shippensburg we continuously look for ways to enhance our already nationally-recognized education. One opportunity that we take advantage of is participating in the Marine Science Consortium which we have incorporated as part of our regular curriculum. This unique cooperative agreement allows Ship to offer experiences through the Consortium so our students, and students from the other member institutions, can use the facilities as part of coursework in such areas as marine biology and computer science.”

According to the consortium, the environmental learning center houses seven laboratories, three classrooms, a computer lab, administrative offices, bookstore, and outdoor pavilion for work with marine species that require larger tanks. The center is the hub of activity for all students and participants in MSC’s school and public programs. It also serves as a small conference and meeting facility during times when the education programs are not as hectic.

MSC is a residential environmental learning center and field station providing educational programs and classes focused on coastal and marine environments, according to the consortium. Each year, MSC offers thousands of school children, college and adult learners the chance to connect with the ecological wonders of marshes, bays, barrier islands, and ocean habitats through hands-on, experiential field classes. MSC is supported by a consortium of universities that, through their partnerships, offer the highest level of college courses and field experiences to their students.

Member institutions in addition to Shippensburg are: East Stroudsburg University, Kutztown University, Millersville University, Slippery Rock University, California University of Pennsylvania, Bloomsburg University, Lock Haven University, West Virginia University, York College, Saint Francis University, Wilkes University and Wesley College.

Speaking at the ceremony were Dr. John Cavanaugh, chancellor of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education; Kenneth Jarin, chair of the PASSHE Board of Governors; Dr. Francine McNairy, president of the MSC Board of Directors and president of Millersville; Caroline Massey, assistant director of NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility; Dr. Dominique Dagit, chair of the MSC Academic Advisory Council; Dr. David Zegers, Millersville biology professor, and Rebecca Saunders, Millersville student and MSC alumna.

Photos of the event are available here.