Spring Semester Catalyst Day Is Upon Us

Spring Semester Catalyst Day Is Upon Us

Plans for Catalyst Day during the pandemic

By Owen Greene


Ripon College’s semi-annual Catalyst Day for the second semester is Wednesday, April 21. Presentations will be given live via Zoom and will also be recorded due to COVID-19 precautions. The presentations will be around 20 minutes long, with a 5-minute break for questions afterward.


Senior Andrew Betcher noted that though some difficulties existed due to COVID-19, they were not insurmountable.


“The process has been smooth and easy even though it has been primarily through Zoom, the communication has been good and our instructor has made sure that we are all connected through Zoom, canvas, and Snapchat,” he said


Junior Zoe Hazel agreed that the projects have been going well.


“It’s group work, so it’s not like I have to do the whole assignment by yourself. If I’m having a hard time with other classes, I can count on my group members to give me that extra help and I can make it up in the future with another assignment,” she said.


Students this semester were asked to focus on the topics of waste, land-use changes, criminal justice, lifestyle and environmental diseases, and food for all.


Junior Anthony Zak said that his group “chose food for all and my group is focusing on food insecurity in district 3 in Wisconsin. We felt like this was an important issue to address because it has multiple long-lasting impacts on the future of the state.” 


Another issue covered is criminal justice, and specifically how the COVID-19 pandemic has spread in the Wisconsin prison system. 


“We found this to be a good challenge because of the constant changes that come with the pandemic, but we also found it important as this has been affecting the health of hundreds of thousands of people,” Hazel said.


When it comes to how the groups have been taking on the research, “We spoke to the president of Alliant Energy, one of the biggest energy companies in Wisconsin, about our approach to renewable energy and our innovation, which has helped the research process” juniorJohn Pikula said.


When questioned about the culmination of the Catalyst courses and their effectiveness of preparing students, Betcher said,  At least one student reported feeling indifferent as to whether Catalyst prepared him for this project.


“It has and it hasn’t. I feel like we were prepared for it, but honestly, I felt more prepared for it by some of the other research projects and topics I’ve had to do in other classes as well I do understand the way that it has built on the other courses and the ways that we were supposed to learn new skills through each one,” Betcher said.


Links to the different Zoom presentations will go live from the Ripon College webpage on the morning of Catalyst Day. Friends and family members are welcome to join the presentation via  Zoom. Presentations will also be recorded and made available on the Ripon College Youtube channel.