On Earth Day, UMass Dartmouth and New Bedford Ocean Explorium commit to long-term partnership

Permanent loan of Science on a Sphere®, internships, grant collaboration pillars of relationship

UMass Dartmouth and the Ocean Explorium today announced  mutual commitment to  long-term partnership designed to enhance inter-generational understanding of the sciences at time when Earth and our role is changing rapidly. 

Changes including climate change, sea level rise, fisheries, sustainable energy technologies and more are at the forefront as we enter the 21st Century and it is essential that our students and public have opportunities to learn and explore to help create necessary change and advancements in the future. 

A new memorandum of understanding, signed this week by UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Divina Grossman and Ocean Explorium Chairman Albino Dias features the following: 

-- The permanent loan of the UMass Dartmouth-owned Science on a Sphere® technology to the Ocean Explorium. This will assure that visitors to the downtown New Bedford location will always have access to this signature feature of the Ocean Explorium. The Science on a Sphere® creates an image of the planet in 3-D. Historic and real-time information, to name a few,  is graphically displayed, demonstrating important environmental issues on a global scale--e.g., climate change, ocean currents, weather patterns, distribution of human populations and their influences on nature. 

- The Dean of the UMass Dartmouth School of Marine Science and Technology will serve on the Ocean Explorium Board of Governors, assuring a high-level connection between the University and the Ocean Explorium. 

-- UMass Dartmouth and the Ocean Explorium will actively seek joint grant and philanthropic funds and may serve as co-principal investigators on programs of mutual interest. 

--  The Ocean Explorium will provide internship, service learning, co-op and work study opportunities to UMass Dartmouth undergraduate and graduate students in the environmental, marine sciences and technologies, science/math education and other programs. 

"We look forward to a long and mutually beneficial partnership with the Ocean Explorium," Chancellor Grossman said. "The Ocean Explorium plays a critical role in projecting and translating the science of our incredible planet to the community. We are pleased that the amazing Science on a Sphere® and other exhibits supported by students and faculty will be permanent fixtures at the facility. We are also excited about creating new opportunities for our students to learn by serving at the Ocean Explorium." 

"As Chair of the Ocean Explorium Board of Governors, I am pleased that this agreement will allow us to further our long-standing partnership with UMass Dartmouth," Board of Governors Chair Al Dias said. "This agreement enables us to continue the important work of providing STEM education to area K - 12 Students, UMass Students, local school teachers and the general public." 

According to Executive Director Abbey Spargo, " I am pleased that this agreement will allow us to continue to provide our unique, ocean-focused informal education to the greater New Bedford community.  The Ocean Explorium has created numerous curricula and programs centered on the Science on a Sphere® (SOS), and we are recognized by NASA, NOAA and the SOS Users Network as leaders through our educational programs.  UMass Dartmouth students are among the 175,000 learners, including 30,000 students and teachers in formal field trips, who have been introduced to 21st century technology at the Ocean Explorium since 2008." 

"The agreement between the Ocean Explorium and UMass Dartmouth is a perfect example of the public-private partnership which has been crucial in transforming downtown New Bedford into a vibrant arts and cultural district," said Senator Mark Montigny (D-New Bedford).  "A long-term partnership will ensure that the Ocean Explorium will be able to draw upon the expertise of the University in marine studies and continue to provide superb educational experiences to our local youth." 

"I hope this partnership signals that UMass Dartmouth will be stepping up to help the Ocean Explorium promote STEM education and inspire more young people to pursue science and exploration,"  said Rep. Antonio F.D. Cabral (D-New Bedford). 

New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell said, "The new partnership makes good sense on a number of levels, but particularly because it should strengthen the competiveness of Ocean Explorium in pursuing private philanthropic support in the future.  That support is critical to the future of the OE, so today's move is clearly a step in the right direction." 

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