ESU will soon have a new Aquatic Research and Outreach Center

Emporia State University will soon be home to the Aquatic Research and Outreach Center.


A new facility is planned for the north end of campus and adjacent to Interstate 35 where aquatic ecology research and training could have a worldwide impact on generations to come. Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Brent Thomas told KVOE about the importance of aquatic research.

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The largest contributor to the project so far is Trusler Foundation with $200,000. Twenty other donors, including the Westar Energy Foundation, Dr. Carl and Kay Prophet, and Kansas Rep. Mark Schreiber and his wife, Angie, have given a combined total of over $231,000, putting this project well on the way to total funding. Thomas believes that new center could be a "game changer" for ESU.

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Research opportunities at the Aquatic Research and Outreach Center, or AROC, will provide high-impact learning for students while changing lives for the common good, supporting Emporia State’s vision. Mark Schreiber, who was an original student of the facility, fondly joked about the double-wide trailer aquatic research center -- but he then explained the need he saw.

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The outreach efforts within the Emporia community and beyond will include but are not limited to working with and educating preschool children; K-12 students; Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts; 4-H members; prospective students; Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism; Nature Conservancy; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Westar and Wolf Creek employees. Schreiber emphasized the importance of the outreach aspect.

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During an academic school year, 20 to 30 students per year could use the Aquatic Research and Outreach Center for their research projects. Over 500 elementary and secondary education science majors will also use the Aquatic Research and Outreach Center because they are required to take courses that prepare them to provide their students with opportunities for hands-on activities to learn about biology.

The Aquatic Research and Outreach Center aims to increase the number of high-impact learning activities available to students and individuals across the state; increase collaboration efforts with local K-12 schools to educate the state on aquatic topics; and increase the number of professionals trained at Emporia State for careers related to aquatic sciences.