Geography conference held at BSU for first time since 2001

Breanna Palhete
Comment Contributor

Bridgewater State University (BSU) hosted the New England St-Lawrence Valley Geographical Society, or NESTVAL, conference this past weekend for the first time in more than a decade.

This geography organization was established at Clark University in 1922. It was the first regional geography organization.

The goal of NESTVAL is to promote geography education and research. This organization has a yearly meeting, where they make presentations to support their findings. The annual conference is held at different colleges and universities. Bridgewater State University (BSU) was honored as the 2015 host. The annual event was held in the Dana Fohler-Maria Science and Mathematics Building.

The conference also served as a pre-meeting before the Association of American Geographers’ national meeting.

Every year the conference includes a keynote speaker. The speaker this year was Professor Francisco Henrique “Chicho” de Oliveira from the University of Santa Caterina. The university is in a partnership with BSU.

Besides a presentation on land conservation records, Francisco was at BSU to advocate for and help spread the word about study abroad programs. The study abroad program to Brazil was previously offered to only geography majors, but now the program is offered to all BSU students.

Other than spreading the word about study abroad opportunities, NESTVAL had other presentations and events being held.

One of the presentations was presented by a University of Connecticut student, Awanti Acharya. Acharya has only been in the U.S. for two months. Her presentation focused on her home in Kolkata, India, and urbanization.

Other events included Geoball and The Map. The Geoball contest came down to two teams: UMass Amherst and BSU. BSU ultimately won the competition.

The Map was a large man-made map on oversized paper. It was located downstairs in the Dana Mohler-Faria Science and Mathematics Center. Attendees were encouraged to draw on the map. The point of the map was to represent the world, and the objective was to draw out the world in different colors. The map was in three different languages: English, Portuguese, and French Canadian.

BSU last hosted the regional event in 2001. The next NESTVAL meeting will be held in Quebec in 2016.

Breanna Palhete is a Comment Contributor.

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