Teach the Earth > Hazards > Pedagogy > Teaching about the 2004 Tsunami > Campus Outreach

Campus Outreach Activities

It is natural that academic institutions would turn to their resident experts in the geosciences when faced with the issues surrounding a natural disaster like a tsunami. Many faculty provided the service of helping their academic communities, including their fellow instructors as well as students, come to grips with the current science and the implications of this event.

Presentations at Faculty and Board Meetings

At our beginning-of-the-semester all faculty meeting, I gave a five-minute presentation to the faculty on the processes that generated the tsunami. I then answered questions about tsunamis including tsunami hazard planning and the tsunami risk along the Pacific coast of the U.S.
Mike Phillips, Illinois Valley Community College

I was asked by my campus administrators to speak at a recent campus advisory board meeting about the December 26th tsunami. The advisory board meetings will feature one faculty member highlight about some innovation in teaching or research. Being the only geologist on campus, I was asked to give a 15-minute presentation and answer questions from the members of the advisory board.
The presentation went really well. I think what impressed the board members the most were the animations that I showed.

Laura Guertin, Penn State Delaware County

Campus Lectures and Assemblies

At the president's initiative, Carleton held a panel discussion during our common time to give students, faculty, and staff a chance to discuss the tsunami and what we can do as a community to help. As a panel member, I gave a brief (8 minute) presentation on the Sumatra earthquake and formation of the tsunami.
Much positive feedback from the community, including a request to write a short piece on tsunamis for our alumni magazine.

Cameron Davidson, Carleton College

I gave a series of school assemblies to over 1200 students aged 11-17 in my school in which I used a series of models, and demonstrations that were filmed live and projected onto a big screen for the students to see coupled with animations and video footage of our school AS-1 seismograph capturing the earthquake. I have also built a website (more info) where some of these multimedia resources can be viewed.
Justin Sharpe, Beal High School, Ilford, Essex. UK

I put together a ~45-minute PPT presentation that I gave to the university community. Afterwards, a lengthy question and answer period took place. The talk was entitled "The Indian Ocean Tsunami Disaster: A Geological Perspective" and focused on the tectonic setting and generation of the earthquake followed by a discussion of tsunami formation. Included were animations of aftershock distribution and tsunami propagation and a video clip of the tsunami runup at Phuket, Thailand. The vast majority of graphics and photos were taken from USGS, NOAA, and other such websites.
The talk was given in the late afternoon on 1/12/05 and was very well attended, with about 160 people in the audience (a 180-capacity room was almost full). The spectrum of folks was broad, from geology colleagues to interested faculty from a variety of disciplines to students within geology and not to a group of local Mennonites to the new provost to my dad.

Joe Reese, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania

I held a lecture open to the campus community called "TSUNAMI 101: The Truth About Tsunamis." There were about 35 people in attendance. The lecture reviewed some basic science about tsunamis, reviewed some historical tsunamis (1946 Aleutian, 1960 Chilean, 1996 Peruvian) and the current tsunami. The talk ended with a discussion about the mega-tsunami (Canary Islands) that could hit the east coast.
The audience members really liked the animations I showed - the ones on the SERC website and some from NOAA. Some people had caught parts of Discovery Channel specials and news broadcasts about tsunamis, so they enjoyed hearing the complete story. There was an article published in the local newspaper about the talk.

Laura Guertin, Penn State Delaware County

...In addition, I was asked by a resident advisor in one of the dorms if I would be willing to come talk to the residents one evening about the tsunami. I see that offer as a good opportunity to help lay-people to understand the tragedy better and will be speaking to a group of about 40-50 students next week in their dorm. This will be an informal forum and of course I'd like to turn it into a question and answer format.
Dave Oslege, University of California, Davis

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