Archive for Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Heard on the Hill: ‘Manna Meters’ to raise money for campus groups; NCAA ruling says guidance counselors can get free admission to sporting events; Alzheimer’s study shows link to low body mass index

November 23, 2011


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

• The KU Memorial Unions are trotting out a new idea to raise money for various campus groups, and it involves, of all things, parking meters.

That’s right, two old parking meters donated from KU Parking and Transit have been gussied up in Jayhawk colors and will soon be serving as “Manna Meters” that will accept loose change for fundraising efforts.

The plan calls for the Manna Meters to be placed outside the Union Programs Office on the fourth floor of the Kansas Union, room 472. That’s a pretty high-traffic area, right next to the art gallery on the main floor.

KU Dance Marathon is the first group that will benefit from the Manna Meters.

The inaugural Manna Meter coin drop is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 1 at 3:15 p.m. with various folks involved in the effort. At the end of a given donation period, the change will be tallied up, and the KU Memorial Unions will write a check to the campus group.

If your particular campus group has any interest in signing up to receive some Manna Meter goodness, stop by the Union Programs Office in the aforementioned room 472.

• As is probably evident by that last post, I’m quite taken by the phrase “Manna Meter,” and sort of wish I just could say “Manna Meter” all post long, but I’ll move on to other things.

I spotted this announcement recently from KU, detailing a ruling from the NCAA Legislative Council.

Apparently, it’s OK to provide non-athletics high school personnel (such as guidance counselors or principals) free admission to an athletics event and “reasonable expenses” such as food, refreshments, parking, room, etc., provided the athletics department has no involvement in the visit.

This rule is obviously designed to prevent improper recruiting issues from arising. But it was interesting to me that KU would do all that.

I asked Jill Jess, a university spokeswoman, about the practice.

“The University of Kansas Office of Admissions does host high school counselors on campus,” Jess said. “This rule provides the opportunity to coordinate visits around an athletic event. The recent NCAA announcement was simply a clarification that such visits are permissible.”

Anywhere from once to three times per year, KU would host counselors at a football or basketball game, she said, and anywhere from three to 10 counselors typically attend each event.

• Though we already have studies that show that people who are overweight in middle age have a higher propensity to develop Alzheimer’s disease later than people at normal weight, this release covers some KU Medical Center research that says being skinny might not be that good, either.

People in the earliest stages of Alzheimer’s disease are more likely to have a lower body mass index, the research says.

Jeffrey M. Burns, a KUMC professor, is one of the authors on the research, which was published in the journal Neurology.

“These results suggest Alzheimer’s disease brain changes are associated with systemic metabolic changes in the very earliest phases of the disease,” Burns said in the release. “This might be due to damage in the area of the brain called the hypothalamus that plays a role in regulating energy metabolism and food intake.”

He suggested more research to determine whether the relationship is a response to an unrecognized disease or a trait that predisposes someone to developing the disease.

• How much manna could a Manna Meter meter if a Manna Meter could meter manna? Feed the Heard on the Hill Manna Meter by sending me a tip at, and maybe I’ll tell you.


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