The Journey from Airsick Bag to Dizzying Activity

April 15 marked the 15th anniversary of the founding of CLEAR.  On that date in 2002, the UConn Board of Trustees approved CLEAR as an official university center.  (It may surprise some of you to know that, at UConn at least, you can’t just hang up a shingle and call yourself an institute or center, there is a fairly long and arduous approval process involved).  Several years before that, the idea of CLEAR was born as a

The key was dropping the “U”,” although that was not yet apparent…

bunch of scribbles on an airsick bag, the product of a feverish mind on the way home after a gauntlet-like two day, four agency (NOAA, USDA, NASA, EPA) series of snake oil salesman visits in Washington DC (see photo).  It appears that I didn’t quite see my way clear to the final acronym during that flight — or perhaps I did and it was on a second bag that is now lost to the mists of time.  In any case, I in no way mean to imply that this was a one-man endeavor – just that I was the acronym-guy-in-chief.

Fast forward to today and we find the Center modest in size, still largely although not wholly dependent on grants (thank you CAHNR and CT Sea Grant for your critical foundational support!), but churning out an awful lot of good stuff in the form of outreach programs, web tools, applied research, and technical training.  In something of a coincidence, the most noteworthy of these things are outlined briefly in our latest Progress Report.  We have several new and intimidatingly large projects underway, so please take a look.

It’s brief and absolutely riveting. See for yourself!

In the interest of eschewing over-philosophical drivel, I will just say that CLEAR is lucky to have an incredibly talented group of faculty and staff, virtually every one of whom is recognized as a statewide leader in their field and more important, as a go-to person for communities, organizations and citizens that are looking for useful, accessible, and understandable information.  It’s a great job if you can stand the constant whir of juggling balls zooming about your head (but never, of course, hitting the floor).  Happy Birthday to us!