SUST Major Jeff Wasil Reflects on Lake Constance Water Conservation Conference

Lake Constance, as viewed from the marina in Romanshorn, Switzerland (photo by J. Wasil)

As originally reported here a couple of weeks ago, Roosevelt University student Jeff Wasil, an undergraduate Sustainability Studies major in the College of Professional Studies, traveled to Europe over Thanksgiving weekend to give a presentation on clean technology marine engines at a major water conservation conference in Switzerland. As Jeff originally explained to RU Professor Mike Bryson,

The “Internationale Gewässerschutzkommission für den Bodensee” (International Water Protection Commission for Lake Constance, or IGKB for short) is a group of experts who convene on an annual basis to assess the ecology of Lake Constance which is bordered by Germany, Austria and Switzerland.  This is arguably one of the most pristine lakes in all of Europe and one of the first examples of international water protection, as this group was formed in 1959 specifically to address water quality issues and sustainability.

Jeff’s sustainability education at Roosevelt (currently he is enrolled in Bryson’s SUST 220 Water course) is directly related to his work as an Engineering Technical Expert in emissions testing, certification, and regulatory development at the Evinrude Product Development Center in Waukegan, IL. Upon his return to the US on December 1st, Jeff shared some reflections on his experiences with his fellow students in SUST 220. He writes:

[At] my visit and presentation to the Bodensee (Lake Constance) water commission[,] I was honored to meet with the commission and talk about recent advancements in marine engine technology. We had very positive discussions with respect to marine engine emissions, water quality and sustainable boating – specifically addressing modern clean technology two-stroke outboard engines.

Prior to the presentation and subsequent discussions, the water commission had a negative view of two-stroke marine outboard engines as historically these engines have had substantially high emissions. However, recent advancements in technology have lead to development of two-stroke marine engines with over 98% reduced emissions. It was discussed that new emission regulations should be technology neutral – setting an emission standard rather than specifying a specific technology promotes innovation.

[Included here is a] picture I took of Lake Constance from Romanshorn, Switzerland. The lake is absolutely breathtaking! Overall, I am very pleased that I had this opportunity to participate in the annual water commission meeting and experience first hand the splendor of the Bodensee.

With my background in industrial engineering, RU’s sustainability program is really helping to broaden my understanding of how mechanical systems (such as marine engines) relate to the overall surrounding environment — and in particular provides me with the background to influence future sustainable product designs and regulatory requirements.  

We commend Jeff on his work to reduce marine engine emissions and to influence conservation policy in a meaningful and productive way for water ecosystems like the Bodensee that are important natural, cultural, and economic resources for their adjacent communities.

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