Your daily dose of news, notes and links from around Kansas University.
• I’ve been hearing a bit of chatter about a great story in the Wall Street Journal about how Kansas Athletics Inc. uses retired folks from around the community to make sure student athletes are attending class.
Don “Red Dog” Gardner helps to organize the retirees, who have been working for the athletics department for about eight years now. Undergraduates used to perform the service, but, for a variety of reasons, they weren’t as reliable as the cadre of retired volunteers.
“They're sneaky sometimes — they'll get you," freshman guard Royce Woolridge told the newspaper.
I talked with Paul Buskirk, a KU associate athletics director who oversees the academic support program for the athletics department.
One thing the article didn’t make clear, he said, was that KU performs attendance checks on athletes in all sports, not just men’s basketball.
And it’s not used for everyone. Mainly, it’s for freshmen and people new to the program who may still be adjusting to the college lifestyle, he said. And, he said, it’s used to keep track of some players who may be having problems attending classes.
Think of it, he said, as the athletics department’s way of filling the promises to athlete’s parents on the recruiting trail.
• Universities all across the country — 52 of them, in fact — are using green revolving funds to spark investment in sustainability projects, according to a new report out today called Greening the Bottom Line.
KU has such a fund, first established in 2010. The idea is to invest in capital projects that reduce the university’s utility bills, and then put the savings back into the fund and invest them in more projects.
The Greening the Bottom Line survey found a median annual return on investment for the funds at 32 percent.
KU’s fund sits at $40,000, according to the Greening the Bottom Line report.
From a 2010 report done by KU students, projects may include gymnasium lighting upgrades, an installation of solar panels for water heating and replacing an inefficient boiler at the Lied Center.
That’s a neat idea, and it will be interesting to see how it works here into the future.
• If you’re a Toni Morrison fan, the KU English department will be hosting a 24-hour reading of her work in honor of her 80th birthday. Scheduled to begin at noon Feb. 17, the event will last until noon on Feb. 18 in Anschutz Library.
Readings are scheduled to last 15 to 20 minutes, and spaces will be available for walk-up volunteers.
“The Bluest Eye,” Morrison’s first novel, is scheduled to be read first.
• I put out a call yesterday for any aliens to contribute tips for Heard on the Hill. An LJW commenter had a creative response. “010101110110010100100000011100110111010101110010011100100110010101101110011001000110010101110010,” his e-mail read.
Though I recognized the code as binary, I didn’t know how to translate it. But now I do, thanks to this handy-dandy website. ("We surrender," it says.) I love all the tips I get for Heard on the Hill — even the ones that come in ones and zeros. Tell me something I didn’t already know at firstname.lastname@example.org.