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Notre Dame Student Selected for First Maryland Sustainability Challenge

December 3, 2013

Mattie Kobus, a Notre Dame of Maryland University sophomore environmental sustainability major, has been selected to compete in the State of Maryland's first ever Sustainable Growth Challenge, sponsored by the Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission.  

The event is a collegiate-level interdisciplinary exercise designed to engage students from across the state in local and regional planning and sustainability issues.

As part of a campus studio exercise, students will analyze the economic, social and environmental aspects of sustainable growth and develop creative solutions for real community challenges. The competition will provide students the opportunity to interact with local leaders and engage in their own community planning processes.

Mattie’s presentation will focus on urging the state to use risk analysis for natural resource management decisions, using hydraulic fracturing (fracking) as the example for her argument. She contends that a risk assessment framework is the best tool for state officials to use when deciding whether to permit fracking because of the uncertainty about its environmental impact.

“To do good risk analysis, decision-makers need to understand the risks and their relevant uncertainties involved in fracking,” she wrote in her proposal. “With risk analysis, the hazards, their consequences and the probability of the consequences occurring can be better understood as well as better communicated to allow a more direct and objective decision that brings together scientific and social values.”

Mattie will make her presentation on Dec. 13 in Annapolis. She will deliver a 20-minute presentation, followed by 10 minutes of questions from a panel.

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Notre Dame of Maryland University was founded by the School Sisters of Notre Dame more than 100 years ago. Based on the progressive vision that education can transform the world, we prepare compassionate leaders who change lives. Visit our website, ndm.edu, for more information.