Ignite Integrity returned this spring for Integrity Week for the second time annually in the Joe Crowley Student Union. The events throughout the week concerned building integrity with a special focus on building trust.
In the “Communicating Research to the Public” event on Monday, March 25, two presentations showed different ways of building integrity and gaining public trust in the science and health communities.
The first presentation by Jane Dell of the university’s biology department spoke about Caterpillars and Climate Change, a non-profit in collaboration with the Earth Watch Institute.
The program works with volunteers such as high school students, teachers, and corporations.
“They’re doing everything the scientists are,” said Dell.
The volunteers are trained through standardized scientific protocols, and get hands on experience working side by side with professionals in the program for anywhere from a few days to several weeks.
“It’s a lot of relaxed two-way interaction,” Dell said about the volunteer outings.
According to Dell, the program leads many students to pursue careers in fields of science they would have likely not considered otherwise.
In the past year alone, Caterpillars and Climate Change put out 40,000 hours of volunteer work, 22 peer reviewed publications, eight presentations at various institutions, and six phD mentorships.
A rather unique relationship Dell explored, is the work Caterpillars and Climate Change does with corporate organizations, and the way in which what those volunteers learn in the program produce real life changes.
“They take what they’ve learned and integrate it into everyday practices,” said Dell. “They can reduce their carbon footprint in everyday business practices.”
Following Dell’s presentation was a round of questions and a session of discussion from the handful of attendees and Nancy Moody, the Director of Ignite Integrity.
Laura Crosswell, the assistant professor of health communication, gave the second presentation and has a joint appointment with the Reynolds School of Journalism and the Nevada School of Medicine.
Crosswell cited examples of apologies after people rise into the social media limelight.
“It’s making us more forgiving as a society,” Crosswell said.
The second half of the presentation shifted into trust between corporations and people.
Crosswell cited trust breaking down in public service announcements being supported by corporate sponsorships. The cause of public skepticism is often from the idea the audience is being sold a product instead of being given information, according to Crosswell.
“Corporate success depends on public trust,” Crosswell said.
In addition to the spring presentation and discussion sessions during Integrity Week, Ignite Integrity hosts a contest during the fall with prizes ranging from $50 to a first place prize of $200.
The contest asks university students to submit a work of any kind “that expresses why you think it is important to act with intermita in academics, research, or as a professional,” according to the university website.