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Archive for Monday, August 8, 2011

Heard on the Hill: Monarch Watch trying to raise funds; new business dean goes to Kansas City; Dole Institute director comments on Texas Gov. Perry; design prof finds out what homebuyers really want

August 8, 2011

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Your daily dose of news, notes and links from around Kansas University.

• Monarch Watch, KU’s monarch butterfly education, tagging and advocacy program, is turning 20 years old.

And as part of that celebration, they’re also in the middle of a fundraising campaign. Last year, the campaign raised $23,000 from 500 donors. This year, they’ve raised just over $3,000 so far, from 11 donors, according to the campaign’s website.

The program has struggled in the past with raising enough money to conduct its activities, though I know it’s still popular with many folks.

• KU’s new business dean will be hitting the road, and traveling to Kansas City today for an alumni event.

Neeli Bendapudi will meet and greet B-School alumni at 5:30 p.m. at The Cashew, 2000 Grand Blvd., in Kansas City, Mo., if you’d like to stop by and say hello.

• Even in August 2011, we’ve already had many conversations about who’s going to be running for president.

Bill Lacy, the director of KU’s Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics, is a former campaign director for Republican Fred Thompson, who ran in 2008, but didn’t secure the nomination.

Lacy, an all-around good guy, still gets some mentions in political stories this time of year, like in this story in the San Francisco Chronicle, about potential candidate Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

• Also earning a mention in the Washington Post this week was Michael Eckersley, a professor of design at KU, in an article about what homebuyers are looking for in the market today.

He said focus groups are a bad way to figure this out, for many reasons. He suggests “the fieldwork techniques of an ethnographic anthropologist,” interviewing people in their homes, and following them around for a day or two. By doing this for a variety of businesses, Eckersley tries to figure out if a client is asking relevant questions, the article said.

“Sometimes, Eckersley said, the team finds that the clients are focused on X but the consumers are interested in Y. With these types of insights, manufacturers can redirect their designs or marketing, often saving millions of dollars,” the article read.

• I meet and greet KU alumni from all over right here at Heard on the Hill World Headquarters at Seventh and New Hampshire. Join the party by sending me a tip at ahyland@ljworld.com.

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