Saturday, May 26, 2012

Sustainability education news from campuses on the campaign trail


Sometimes when I'm preparing a linkspam, a distinct theme emerges connecting many of the week's articles. That's what inspired me to compose U.S.-China EcoPartnerships: The CoDominion plans for sustainability, one of my most read entries, as well as Universities studying and promoting civility in politics, among others. This week's articles from Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday (Annular Eclipse edition) on Daily Kos just happened to have such a theme--sustainability education projects that get noticed by federal, state, and local government and end up recognized as worthy of financial support or, better yet, actually influence policy. Here are those articles, taken from universities in Kentucky, Nebraska, Oregon, and Wisconsin.*

ThomasNet: College Kids Strut their Green Stuff, Are Awarded $1M in EPA Grants
Author: Michael Lewis
May 16th, 2012
It may not be true that every generation is smarter than the one that came before.

But I think it is. Why? One big reason is that every succeeding generation has access to more knowledge, more technology and more resources than the one before it.

Especially in this age, when the world changes so fast every minute. So one thing I’m always fascinated by is what future environmental leaders are doing while they’re still learning in our schools and universities. There are many bright kids working on making the world more environmentally friendly and trying to come up with innovative solutions to problems many of us don’t even think about.

A good example of this was the recent Environmental Protection Agency’s 8th Annual National Sustainable Design Expo on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
The universities mentioned are Embree-Riddle University (Florida and Arizona), Appalachian State University (North Carolina), Oregon State University, Vanderbilt University (Tennessee), and University of Oklahoma. I found the article through OSU, so they get the credit.

More over the jump.

University of Wisconsin: UW–Madison launches online Sustainable Systems Engineering Graduate Program
May 14, 2012
The University of Wisconsin-Madison has introduced a new online Master of Engineering in Sustainable Systems Engineering (SSE) program, which will begin January 2013 with applications being accepted through October 15, 2012.

SSE is designed to prepare mid-career engineers with knowledge in sustainable engineering practices to be leaders in managing systems that impact the quality of water, land, air, energy, economics, and society.

In addition, SSE focuses on the technical aspects of three specializations-energy production and distribution, facilities and built environment, and public infrastructure.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln: 4-H's Robotics Program Continues to Grow
May 18, 2012
LINCOLN, Neb. — It started with a $2.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation and has grown into a program that is reaching thousands of youth across the nation, getting them more interested in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM.

The program – Geospatial and Robotics Technologies for the 21st Century, or GEAR-Tech-21 (, – is based on the Nebraska Robotics and GPS/GIS in 4-H: Workforce Skills for the 21st Century program. It teaches robotics, GPS and GIS technologies through building and programming a robot, navigation and mapmaking activities.

Since its start, the program has expanded regionally to nationally with 60 programs across the country.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln: Nebraska Greenschool Honored Nationally
May 15, 2012
LINCOLN, Neb. — Lothrop Science and Technology Magnet Center in Omaha, a Nebraska Project Learning Tree (PLT) Greenschool, is among the nation's first-ever Green Ribbon Schools recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

Green Ribbon Schools are honored for participating in activities that promote and encourage a healthy and environmentally friendly learning environment. These schools focus on reducing environmental impacts, promoting health, and ensuring a high-quality environmental and outdoor education to prepare students with the 21st century skills and sustainability concepts needed in the growing global economy.
"The Greenschools! program helps teachers facilitate student-led investigations on water, energy, the school's site, environmental quality and waste and recycling," said Jennifer Swerczek, Nebraska's PLT coordinator with the Nebraska Forest Service. "Through these investigations, students identify areas that can be improved and develop action plans to create a healthy school environment where they can thrive," she said.
University of Kentucky: DOE Highlights UK Design's Plan for Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant
By Whitney Hale
Published: May 18, 2012
The United States Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Environmental Management is showcasing the work of University of Kentucky College of Design students on their website in their news spotlight section. The Office of Environmental Management News Flash describes the research and a 150-year plan for the future use of the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant developed by UK.

"Students Imagine Paducah Site as Technical, Industrial Hub," issued May 14, discusses UK's proposal, a 150-year plan for the closure, clean up and future use of the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant, located near Paducah, Ky., one of the most contaminated sites in the United States. The plan was presented to DOE leaders at the National Chairs Meeting, held April 17-19, in Paducah. The national meeting held every two years brings together approximately 40 leaders associated with Paducah's Citizens Advisory Board and seven other Site-Specific Advisory Boards from around the nation.

The Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant once provided several thousand high-paying jobs, which have diminished over the years and will soon be eliminated upon the plant's closure. As the point of origin for much of the fissile material bound for both energy and defense during the last 60 years, the site now finds itself with a four-mile long heterogeneous plume of contaminants running beneath it.

Rather than see job losses and legacy contamination as problems and causes for the region’s demise, UK students looked at those problems as the basis for a solution.
University of Louisville: Students win award for tree canopy plan
by Denise Fitzpatrick
May 15, 2012 02:14 PM
Ten University of Louisville graduate students developed a plan to enlarge Louisville Metro’s urban tree canopy that not only has received a state award but also has contributed to the city’s efforts to plant and better care for trees.
The students used aerial photos and other data to analyze the tree canopy in the Louisville Metro area inside the Watterson Expressway and recommended ways to increase it from 27 percent to 40 percent.

Their work received an outstanding student project award from the Kentucky Chapter of the American Planning Association.

“It also was a key factor in getting our tree advisory commission started,” said Katy Schneider, a mayor’s office volunteer who co-chairs the commission. The Louisville Metro Tree Advisory Commission, which Mayor Greg Fischer formed last fall, has set a goal of planting more trees and taking better care of existing ones.
And that's it for this week. With any luck, this will be a continuing series.

*I'll have the sustainability articles that don't fit this theme in an upcoming entry.

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