Heard on the Hill: ‘Manna Meters’ are collecting donations in the Kansas Union; KU prof weighs in on latest texting and driving research; Wichita State names former W. Carolina chancellor as president

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

• The University Daily Kansan provided this update on a story on the “Manna Meters” that I first told you about last November.

The story doesn’t mention the phrase “Manna Meter,” so they might have changed the name since I first wrote about them, but I did really love that name, so they’ll always be Manna Meters in my heart.

The Manna Meters, as you might remember, are a couple of repurposed parking meters in the union that passers-by can throw some spare change into if they’re feeling generous. The meters benefit different student groups each month.

Groups can apply to reserve the meters for two weeks at a time. While exact numbers aren’t given in the article, one group leader noted that any potential return definitely depends on how much effort the group puts into promoting the Manna Meters during the time they’ve got them reserved.

You can find the Manna Meters on the fourth floor of the union, across from the Union Programs office.

Here’s an update on the latest on the dangers of using cellphones while driving.

Paul Atchley, a KU associate professor of psychology, has long been interested in this field of study, and is an advocate for the school of thought that says we should ban all cellphone use in cars.

One conversation we had I remember well — because I admitted to him that I occasionally have phone conversations in the car when my phone rings.

Put it in the trunk if you have to, he told me.

The latest research shows that there’s no good position to hold your phone on the wheel and text and drive, according to MSN’s HealthDay. Another study points to a link between driving “mishaps” and young people who show signs of being addicted to cellphones.

Atchley is quoted in the article.

“Studies like this are critical for traffic safety professionals trying to change this dangerous behavior,” he said. “We need to understand the mind of our drivers to know how to help them change these dangerous behaviors.”

• On Friday, the Kansas Board of Regents announced John William Bardo as the 13th president of Wichita State University.

Bardo, a sociologist, is the former chancellor of Western Carolina University in North Carolina. He served in that position from 1995 to 2011.

He was also a provost at Bridgewater State College in Bridgewater, Mass., and at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Fla. He served as the chairman of the department of sociology and social work at Wichita State from 1978 to 1983, so he’s familiar with the campus.

Bardo will take over after current president Donald Beggs steps down on June 30.

• The Heard on the Hill Manna Meter still needs tips, so keep sending them to ahyland@ljworld.com.