The fall 2021 Honors Colloquium — Sustaining our Shores — will be held Tuesdays at 7 p.m. September through December.

critical to the program’s success. Early plans for Colloquium events include speakers and panelists who reflect the diversity of people whose work or research is related to the three main subjects, but the Colloquium will also feature cross-cutting events with themes such as environmental justice, art, music, and cooking that offer different ways of connecting with threats like plastics. Walsh described this emphasis on multi- dimensional storytelling as key. “Science alone isn’t enough,” he said. Storytelling is also central to a recent plastics project of Walsh’s COAST Lab (Coastal and Ocean Analysis of Sediments and Transport Laboratory), funded by a $35,000 grant from the URI Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Association. This project draws together Walsh’s work to map plastics around Narragansett Bay with efforts by Coleen Suckling, assistant professor of sustainable aquaculture, and Andrew Davies, associate professor of biological sciences, to evaluate the impacts of microplastics on commercial marine resources and seafood, such as oysters and to understand the behavior of microplastics in the

water column. Assistant Professor of multimedia journalism Jason Jaacks is also a partner and will use visual storytelling to help bring the narrative of plastics and plastics research to life. Walsh said he believes prioritizing communication and partnerships early on through the SOS Colloquium and in his own research helps set the stage for greater collaboration on applied projects down the road. “There are so many potential connections in the coastal space,” he explained. “There’s a real opportunity here for Rhode Island to be proactive. When we talk about the Blue Economy powering our future, here and globally, those same resources that provide jobs are vulnerable to things like plastics.” The Colloquium also offers participants opportunities to consider how creative plastics research and communication in Rhode Island can contribute to global initiatives such as the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) which aims to cultivate the “Science We Need for the Ocean We Want.” The URI Graduate School of Oceanography already serves as a nexus organization for the Ocean

Page 54 | The University of Rhode Island { MOMENTUM: RESEARCH & INNOVATION }

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