Posts tagged with Kansas University
Yesterday was Earth Day, and it was also the day results were announced and winners were recognized in the now-annual competition among KU campus buildings to save the most energy. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I think those two things might be connected.
Anyway, this is the second year for the KU "Lights Out" contest, which is sponsored by the KU Center for Sustainability as well as the Overland Park firm Energy Solutions Professionals, which conducted a $25 million energy savings audit for KU.
The results, per Tim O'Kane, marketing director for ESP: Nunemaker Center, the home of the KU Honors Program, won the contest with an energy savings of 31 percent compared with the week before the competition started. Lindley Hall, headquarters of the geology and geography departments, finished second with 19.7 percent savings, and Smith Hall, home of the religious studies department, came in third with 19.4 percent.
Among the 14 buildings that took part in the contest, most of which are used by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the average savings was 9.2 percent, O'Kane reported. Those savings, he said, eliminated about 157,000 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions over the six-week period of the contest. That's equivalent to the yearly emissions of 15 vehicles (or 8,000 gallons of gasoline), or the electricity used in a year by 10.7 homes.
Your Heard on the Hill energy savings tip for the day: turn off the lights wherever you are, turn your thermostat down low and bundle up so you can offset the electricity you use when you send your KU news tips to email@example.com today.
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You know, we're less than a month away from KU's commencement, and I'm getting emotional because on Wednesday morning will be the next-to-last Heard on the Hill Office Hours of the entire semester. So if you'd like a chance to talk to me about our KU news coverage or want to say bye before we all go our separate directions this summer (well, I'll still be here, I guess), you've only got two more chances. I'll be at the Media Crossroads in the Kansas Union from 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday.
And here's your list of other KU-related things going on this week:
• Today is Earth Day, and appropriately enough, two speakers will be visiting campus this week to talk about climate change. First up is former Congressman Bob Inglis, who'll give a talk called "The Environment and Energy: The Role of Free Enterprise and the Government" at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Dole Institute of Politics. Inglis, a Republican, served in Congress from 1993 to 1998 and again from 2005 to 2011.
Then, coming on Thursday will be David Orr, a distinguished professor of environmental studies and politics at Oberlin College. His talk will be called "Finding the Political Will to Reverse Climate Change," and it will be at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Kansas Union. Orr has written seven books and some 200 articles and other pieces, and he's part of several environmental efforts.
• On a somewhat related note, the KU Energy Club will put on its third annual KU Energy Conference on Thursday at The Oread hotel. The keynote speaker is Greg Rorrer, a former director of sustainability for the National Science Foundation. More info is available at this site. Attendance is free for KU students, faculty or staff and $50 for others. Either way, you'll need to register ahead of time at that link.
• On Wednesday and Thursday are two forums about KU's master plan, which is being formed right now. I went to the first two forums on the subject and learned some interesting stuff about a number of topics, including what times during the week the most KU classrooms are in use.
• At 11 a.m. on Saturday at the Ambler Student Recreation Fitness Center is a three-on-three basketball tournament that will raise money for the Jayhawk Health Initiative, a program for undergraduates planning on health-related careers that will send a "Medical Brigade" to Panama in May to provide some health care there. Registration is $30, and there's a $300 prize. There will be brackets for both students and alumni, and teams are co-ed. You can register online right here.
• People use the word "unique" too much, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say this event will truly be unique: A percussion quartet comprised of four doctoral students in the KU School of Music, called Ad Astra Percussion, is performing a concert that intrigues me. The group will perform a premiere of a piece it commissioned from composer Dave Hollinden, but what's most interesting for me, at least, are the instruments they'll be using: nine tom-toms, nine skillets, nine flower pots and nine things they call "boos," which are wooden contraptions the students built themselves. A "boo," which they play by striking it with mallets, looks like this:
That concert is at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in Swarthout Recital Hall, inside Murphy Hall.
It's entirely possible that I've missed something of interest, but if that's the case, just add it in below in the comments. And seriously, you guys, the days left in this school year are slipping away, and don't let it end without coming to see me at my Office Hours. In the meantime, you can send your KU news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jen Humphrey with the KU Natural History Museum jumped in below to add that there's another one of the museum's Science on Tap events at Free State Brewing Co. downtown tonight (Tuesday). Appropriately enough for an event taking place at a brewery, the topic will be how microbes in your gut interact with alcohol.
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KU links: KU offering multiyear athletic scholarships; Topeka college-choice blogger accepted to Yale
At the end of a busy week, here's your weekly-or-so roundup of KU news, notes and mentions from around the Internet.
• KU is leading the way among Big 12 universities in offering multiyear scholarships to athletes, according to this report from the Chronicle of Higher Education (It's behind a subscriber paywall). However, only 16 of KU's 354 scholarship athletes for 2012-13 have multiyear awards.
That's more or less in line with what the Chronicle found at other universities. It surveyed the public universities in the six biggest athletic conferences, and nearly all offered either a fairly small number of multiyear scholarships or none at all.
A new NCAA policy effective in August 2012 allows programs to offer multiyear scholarships to athletes for the first time. The change was made after the previous policy requiring renewable one-year awards drew some criticism. Critics — including a Florida State University sports management instructor quoted by the Chronicle — say the one-year deals could allow coaches to push athletes out of their scholarships because of athletic performance. A number of athletic administrators quoted defended the practice, saying the one-year scholarships provide an incentive for athletes to get good grades and stay out of legal trouble.
The Big 12 conference opposed the new NCAA rule, the Chronicle reports, and KU was the only Big 12 university that reported it awarded more than two multiyear scholarships this year (though the report didn't get counts from Baylor or TCU, both private universities, and the University of Oklahoma didn't report how many it awarded).
The University of Illinois embraced multiyear scholarships to a much higher degree than any other school in the study: This year, 192 of its 370 scholarship athletes have multiyear awards.
• We've got another dispatch from Leobardo Espinoza Jr., the Topeka high-schooler and New York Times blogger who's been offered a full-ride scholarship to KU. The big news is that he's been accepted to Yale University and placed on a wait list at Stanford, both of which he writes about with his usual candor. He says he's now pondering four options that he says will all cost him "little or no money," while also waiting to hear from Stanford: KU, Yale and two New England liberal arts colleges, Amherst and Bowdoin. He doesn't indicate if he's leaning one way or the other.
• Across the pond, The Guardian has an interview with Chip Taylor, director of KU's Monarch Watch, on his concerns about the future of the monarch butterfly population.
• Some research from Promothesh Chatterjee, an assistant professor of marketing in the KU School of Business, got some attention from the NYT as well as AOL's DailyFinance site. He collaborated with some researchers from the University of Utah on a study that found that a person with a single savings account is likely to save more and spend less than a person with multiple accounts. Chatterjee suggests consolidating your multiple savings accounts if you have them, or at least using a service that will provide an aggregated view of your different accounts.
If you've been SAVING up some KU news tips, now's the time to send them to email@example.com! Ho ho. (As I said, it's been a long week.)
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KU's Quidditch team, which was ranked No. 1 in North America by the International Quidditch Association back in November, wound up making it to the Elite Eight of this year's collegiate Quidditch World Cup, held in Kissimmee, Fla. The KU Quidditchers, the tournament's No. 8 seed, were knocked out by UCLA, which ultimately lost to Texas in the final match. The two-day tournament was this past weekend.
Student Colby Soden, the KU club's vice president, reported that the team went 4-0 on the tourney's first day, qualifying for the 36-team championship bracket. KU competed in a 60-team field in the World Cup's Division 1. KU defeated Marquette in the round of 32 and Michigan State in the round of 16.
The winner of the Division 2 tournament, Sam Houston State, is also from Texas. I hear Quidditch is the biggest sport around down there.
Maybe KU will get another shot at next year's World Cup. Until then, you can compete in the World Cup of Heard on the Hill Tip Submissions, in which the person who submits the most KU news tips gets to be my favorite. Enter by sending a tip to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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President Obama is not coming to KU this week, we now know. That means the span of time since the university was last visited by a sitting U.S. president will continue to expand. And, based on research I've been rounding up this week, that stretch may be more than a century long.
Earlier this week, when we thought Obama would be on his way, I asked for the help of some helpful folks at KU to try to determine when was the last time a sitting U.S. president came to campus. And even though the visit's not happening now, I thought their work would be worth sharing.
Two people at KU were kind enough to share some digging they'd done into this topic: Mike Reid, director of public affairs for the KU Memorial Unions and the person who runs the KUHistory.com project; and Becky Schulte, the university archivist. And based on their work, it looks like the last time a sitting U.S. president was on campus was Sept. 24, 1911, when William Howard Taft stopped by.
(As you may have noted in this story, as of earlier this week, the most recent mention of such a visit that Reid had found was from 1879, when Rutherford B. Hayes apparently visited a relatively new building called University Hall. That building was later named Fraser Hall, and was razed in 1965 to make way for the "new" Fraser Hall that stands in about the same spot today.)
Anyway, Reid credits Watkins Community Museum Curator Brittany Keegan with digging up evidence of Taft's 1911 visit this week. He also shared the image below from the Sept. 25, 1911, Lawrence Daily Journal reporting on his stop in Lawrence. It was, the headline reported, "ONE GRAND SUCCESS." Taft stopped in Lawrence for an hour during a long train journey across the country and addressed a crowd of students and others at KU.
Reid also found evidence of one other presidential visit at KU. In the KU history book "Across the Years on Mount Oread," he found mention of a stop by Ulysses S. Grant in April 1873. He also appeared at Old Fraser Hall, which at that time was known as just "the New Building."
Schulte also passed along a clipping that said Woodrow Wilson visited campus on a campaign trip in 1912, just before he became president. A few other future presidents also visited, including John F. Kennedy in 1957. And several former presidents — Ford, Carter, Clinton and George H.W. Bush among them — have appeared.
Reid summed up his findings on presidential visits at KUHistory.com here.
He also passed on one piece of inconclusive evidence to me. It's from the 1955 edition of the Jayhawker Yearbook, and it shows a KU band director placing a marching band hat on the head of President Dwight Eisenhower. The caption doesn't say where this happened, so it may or may not mean Eisenhower actually came to campus. But I still had to share the photo with you because, well, just look at it.
So there's your history lesson for today. We'll see how long KU's president-less streak stretches on.
Every time I get a KU news tip from one of you, my smile is as wide as Eisenhower's is in that photo. So go ahead and send one to email@example.com.
KU provost's office spokesman Gavin Young has chimed in with an answer to the Eisenhower mystery, which he found through a bit of Googling. The photo is from the 1954 dedication of the Eisenhower Memorial Museum in Abilene, according to this clip from a fine local newspaper.
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Well, I'm trying to think of something of interest that might be going on at KU this week, but I'm coming up empty. Hmmmm.
Oh, right. There is a visit by the president of the United States, possibly the first stop at KU by a sitting president since Rutherford B. Hayes in 1879 (more on that later today, hopefully, on the blog). But, for the moment, we don't know much about that except that it will happen Friday.
And in the meantime, other things are still happening around KU — a lot of things this week, actually. Here's your weekly events roundup:
• KU geography professor Jerry Dobson will be at the Dole Institute of Politics at 3 p.m. today to talk about and sign copies of "The Waters of Chaos," a novel he wrote with his brother that puts forth an alternative theory for the history of human civilization.
• Also today is an event celebrating the work of Ronald Johnson, a poet born in Ashland in 1935. That begins at 5:30 p.m. today in the Kenneth Spencer Research Library. It's sponsored by the KU Libraries system, which requests that you RSVP if you want to attend. More info on that is here.
• Later today, at 7 p.m. in Woodruff Auditorium at the Kansas Union, is a screening of the documentary "Corporate.FM," featuring a talk with its director, KU alumnus Kevin McKinney, afterward. This is sponsored by the Student Union Activities group and student radio station KJHK, which along with Lawrence's KLZR is actually featured in the movie. The screening is free.
• Speaking of documentaries: from Wednesday through Saturday, the Africa World Documentary Film Festival will be going on at Wescoe Hall. It features 16 different documentaries about the lives of people in Africa, and you can read more about it here.
• The annual Reasonfest event from KU's Society of Open-Minded Atheists and Agnostics is set for Saturday and Sunday at the Kansas Union. More on that here.
• Also on the weekend: the KU Global Scholars Symposium, where 12 undergraduates selected as Global Scholars by KU will present research they've been working on. It's 8:30 am to 5 p.m. in Alderson Auditorium at the Union, and it's open to the public. This is the first group of students selected to be Global Scholars, back in 2010 when they were sophomores, and now they're seniors about to graduate. You can take a look at their research topics here — they range from "Herbal Remedies in 20th Century Slavic Folklore" to "Developmental Disabilities in Kansas and Peru."
Phew. If I missed anything, as usual, feel free to add in some more in the comments below. And get those KU news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For anyone at KU who was struck by the stories from the Boston Marathon explosions Monday and would like to help out, some students have an outlet for you.
Late Monday night some members of KU's Student Senate launched a campus fundraising campaign for the American Red Cross relief efforts, called "Hawks for Boston."
You can donate online at this link, and a release says students will be out on campus from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today to collect donations, as well. Other fundraising efforts may also be on the way.
An email Monday night from student body vice president Brandon Woodard said the students' goal was to raise $500, but they've already surpassed that this morning, according to the online counter.
Here's a chilling Journal-World story about one 26-year-old KU graduate in Boston who crossed the marathon's finish line about 45 seconds before the explosions went off yesterday.
If you know of any other ways that the tragedy has touched folks at KU, or any other ways that people on campus are trying to help, let me know at email@example.com. And, as always, send all your other KU news tips there, too.
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We told you earlier this week about how much time and how many trips to Manhattan, Kan., KU architecture student Lauren Brown put into her preparation for a prestigious national urban design competition. Well, that work has now paid off handsomely: Brown and her teammates from Kansas State University and the University of Missouri-Kansas City took home the $50,000 prize yesterday, beating teams from Harvard and Yale. They beat out 148 other teams from around the country, in all.
I caught Brown on the phone just now as she waited in the airport in Minneapolis, Minn., where the final presentations for the Urban Land Institute's Gerald D. Hines Student Urban Design Competition happened on Thursday.
"It was pretty nerve-wracking and pretty tense," Brown said, "but it was also fantastic."
Her team made a 25-minute presentation on their plans for reviving a downtown Minneapolis neighborhood to some judges early Thursday morning, and then took 20 minutes of questions. Then the students had to wait around until mid-afternoon while the other three finalists presented and the jury deliberated.
Then all four teams gathered in a room together for what sounds like the conclusion of a reality show episode. While everyone awaited the announcement of a winner, the judges spoke glowingly about the strengths of each of their plans. And then they went over each of the plans' flaws, piece by piece. I imagine that the background music shifted abruptly from bright and cheerful to dark and ominous.
"We were thinking in all of our heads, we blew it," Brown said. But then, at long last, the announcement came, and they were the winners. The Harvard and Yale teams were quite pleasant, she said, and they all spent a night on the town together afterward.
"They were fantastic people," she said.
Now she'll finally be back in Lawrence full-time for the first time in months, with just a few weeks to go to finish up her five-year Master of Architecture program in KU's School of Architecture, Design and Planning. She said she wanted to thank her advisers and classmates at KU and KSU for their support.
And I would like to thank you, Heard on the Hill readers, for your support, while also asking you to please kick it up a notch by sending your KU news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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KU links: U.S. Appeals Court nominee is son of former KU professor; KU Libraries ranked No. 3 for social media use; former KU student on ‘The Voice’
Any responsible and/or vain person keeps a close eye on anything being said about him or her on the Internet. If you care enough to be reading this blog, you probably feel the same way regarding anything said about KU. So here's your weekly-or-so roundup of KU-related stuff from around the Web:
• Perhaps you've read about confirmation hearings set to begin today for Sri Srinivasan, the Obama administration's nominee for a spot on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. And perhaps you've seen he grew up in Lawrence and played point guard for the Lawrence High basketball team, alongside Danny Manning.
Srinivasan has another KU tie, too: His father, T.P. Srinivasan, was a math professor and a leader in KU's university governance groups. He was also part of the search committee that eventually brought Robert Hemenway to KU as chancellor in 1995. Sri's sister, Srinija Srinivasan, is a former executive at Yahoo!, where she was the fifth-ever person hired by the company in the 1990s.
The New Yorker's Jeffrey Toobin posits that Sri Srinivasan is a shoo-in to land on the Supreme Court eventually if he wins confirmation to this seat. He's currently the principal deputy solicitor general of the United States.
• NPR's "Morning Edition" spoke with KU professor of business Paul Koch about his research that suggests new ways to spot insider trading.
• The site LibraryScienceList.com published a list of the 100 most social media-friendly university libraries, and checking in at No. 3 is the KU Libraries system. The site ranked the libraries based on their activity on Facebook, Twitter and other sites.
• This USA Today story about multiracial college students focuses on a junior at KU, Sam Ho.
• And I've seen mentions in a few places that one of the competitors on the current season of the NBC music reality show "The Voice" is a former KU student. I can't say I caught the episode she's appeared on, but this New Jersey Star-Ledger recap says that 18-year-old Caroline Glaser withdrew from KU to shoot for a music career and that she sang Elton John's "Tiny Dancer" on the show. I wholly endorse the second decision, at least.
You can watch video of her performance on this NBC page, which says for some reason that she is "currently studying" at KU. (She does not show up in the KU online directory.) She's also on Twitter here.
I'd say I'm going to watch "The Voice" to keep you updated, but, hmmm, yeah, that's not gonna happen. Best of luck to Glaser, though, and perhaps a "Voice" watcher out there will keep me informed on her progress. Send those updates and other KU news tips to email@example.com.
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For the second time in a few weeks, a message from KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little on Monday addresses state budget cuts. And this one puts a number on the kind of effect the possible cuts being debated by the Kansas Legislature might have.
Gray-Little writes that the higher-education cuts being debated would force KU to eliminate at least 38 faculty jobs. That would seem to dampen the impact of the university's effort to fill 64 newly created faculty positions by a bit.
KU spokesman Jack Martin clarified for me that the 38 number is referring to the higher-ed cut being pushed by state House budget leaders, which would be 4 percent across the board. (The Journal-World's Scott Rothschild reported last week that, on the eve of a monthlong break at the Statehouse, those leaders were backing off from those proposed cuts.) Senate leaders have recommended a 2 percent cut.
Gray-Little's letter mentions fears that cuts could mean KU couldn't keep its top faculty from bolting to other universities that offer them more money, turning KU into a mere "farm team" for other institutions.
That brings us back to some of that faculty salary survey information I was yapping about earlier today. That Chronicle of Higher Education report on salaries showed that the gap in faculty pay between private universities and public ones is growing wider every year. In a story on the trend, the president of Florida State University also uses the "farm team" phrase, saying it's already happening there because of budget cuts.
The difference is even bigger at the top of the faculty pay scale: Full professors are earning an average of $140,000 at private colleges and about $110,000 at public ones. Around the country, state cuts are hampering budgets at some public universities, but private institutions haven't had to worry about that.
At KU, Gray-Little writes, the elimination of faculty jobs would mean KU wouldn't fill jobs left by departing professors. As Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean Danny Anderson told me in February, this means that the reduction in force can have little to do with where the most teaching and research is needed; it all comes down to who happens to retire or take another job.
We'll keep you updated on what happens. But only if you keep up your end of the deal and get those KU news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.