Thursday, May 31, 2012

Sustainability education news from campuses on the campaign trail 2


I concluded the first installment by wishing that "with any luck, this will become a continuing series." The universities whose press releases I included in Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday (Dragon docks with ISS edition) came through, so here's the next edition, featuring sustainability education news from universities in the states of Arkansas, Kentucky, Texas, and Wisconsin.


University of Arkansas: George Washington Carver Research Program Celebrates 15th Year
This is the largest class of Carver students to take part in the program at the University of Arkansas.
May 25, 2012
Forty-four undergraduate students from 14 colleges in 8 states arrived in Fayetteville Sunday, May 20, to attend the university’s George Washington Carver summer research program. This is the largest class of Carver students to take part in the program at the University of Arkansas. During the course of the program students will work and learn in university research labs and on research projects, be mentored by faculty and graduate students, learn about attending graduate school, and get to know what life is like on the Fayetteville campus. When they return to their home campuses in July, they will have gained valuable information about graduate school and their potential place in the larger community of their academic discipline.

The Carver program is in its 15th year as a recruitment initiative of the Graduate School and International Education designed to identify superior students of historically black colleges and universities, tribal colleges, and Hispanic-serving institutions for selected undergraduate internship positions. In celebration of the 15 year milestone the students will not only visit Carver’s birthplace in Diamond MO, but will travel to Tuskegee AL and explore the Tuskegee Institute where Dr. Carver’s research brought him wide publicity and increasing renown.
The society sphere of sustainability is all about creating a more equitable society and includes education and equal opportunity. What would be more fitting than equal opportunity in education?


University of Kentucky: UK Holds Wing Design Competition for High School Students
By Kel Hahn, Jenny Wells
LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 29, 2012) — Planes designed and built by nine Kentucky high schools took to the air Monday, May 14, in the second Kentucky Institute for Aerospace Education (KIAE) Wing Design Competition, held at Lucas Field in Nicholasville, Ky. The event was once again hosted by R.J. Corman Aviation Services and coordinated by the University of Kentucky College of Engineering and NASA Kentucky.

Teams were challenged to design and construct a wing for their remote-controlled aircraft with one notable change from last year's event; in addition to last year's scoring for wing size-to-payload ratio, a new “speed round” required teams to build for speed and strength. Teaching modules on aerodynamics and stability were provided by UK mechanical engineering professors Sean Bailey and Jesse Hoagg.

"The hope is that the students who learned the material from the teaching modules this year will pass it on to new students next year, creating an accumulated body of knowledge that grows as it is handed down year after year," said Hoagg.
Technology education contributing to economy anyone?

University of Kentucky: Western Kentucky High School Students Tour UK Research Labs
By Jenny Wells
Published: May 24, 2012
LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 24, 2012) — The University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER) and Plugged In: The Northwest Kentucky Energy Initiative recently sponsored an energy research tour in Lexington for high school students from western Kentucky.

A group of 13 students from Henderson County High School and Union County High School visited the CAER labs where they met with researchers and learned about their projects. They also toured Fayette County Public School's Locust Trace AgriScience Farm.

Sarah Mardon, program coordinator for CAER in western Kentucky, organized and led the tour. Mardon is also an adviser for the Henderson County High School Energy Club.
Energy education? Perfect!


University of Texas at El Paso: New Charging Stations Spark UTEP’s Green Efforts
By Daniel Perez
Published on Tuesday, 22 May 2012 15:07
UTEP News Service
The University of Texas at El Paso took a giant green step toward environmental sustainability when it opened 10 electric vehicle charging stations on campus for students, staff, faculty and visitors.

Four stations are at the Sun Bowl Parking Garage and the Mike Loya Academic Services Building, and the other two are inside the Schuster Parking Garage. They were installed last month and commissioned for service last week, University officials said.

“We’re moving forward with sustainability,” said Paul Stresow, director of UTEP’s Parking and Transportation Services. “Several other campuses in the UT System are doing this, but we’re at the crest of the wave in change and technology, which is where we should be as a University.”
So it isn't exactly education. It is a campus effort involving students for sustainable energy use.

Texas Tech University: Rawls College Adds Energy Commerce as Area of Study
The academic program is considered by industry and universities alike, to be the best in the country
Written by Leslie Cranford
May 25, 2012
The energy commerce program at Texas Tech just got a promotion. The program, housed in the Rawls College of Business, is now an official area of study, the Area of Energy Commerce.

“The Rawls energy commerce (EC) program is considered, by industry and universities alike, to be the premier program in the country,” said Debbie Laverie, senior associate dean.

The bump from program to area reflects the fact that the complexity of the industry has expanded far beyond the petroleum land management focus of previous years, said Terry McInturff, area coordinator.

“While oil and gas operations still are our backbone and many of our graduates do become in-house landmen, we are also educating students to enter the industry as energy lenders, gas marketers, commodity traders, energy accountants and alternative energy consultants – the list of opportunities is virtually endless,” McInturff said.
The inclusion of alternative energy was enough to get this otherwise dirty piece of fossil foolishness in the report.

University of Houston: UH Students Collaborating to Create Solar-Powered Outdoor Kitchen
Educational Structure to Complement Community Garden at the Park at Palm Center
May 16, 2012
Houston’s Palm Center (at Martin Luther King Boulevard and Griggs Road) has gone from shopping mecca to modest business center. Now, University of Houston faculty and students are helping transform the area around the southeast Houston staple into a peaceful place for community events and gatherings.

Among the recent projects at the site is a solar-powered outdoor demonstration kitchen that will complement a planned community garden. This versatile structure recently was designed by UH architecture and graphic communications students and is scheduled to be installed by fall.

This semester, the students collaborated on this pavilion that will serve as a shaded learning area and can host cooking or food demonstrations. Overseeing this project are Patrick Peters, professor in UH’s Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture, and Cheryl Beckett, professor of graphic communications in the university’s School of Art.
University of Houston: Houston Super Neighborhoods Studied By UH Architecture Faculty, Student
New Book "Islands" Identifies Opportunities for Growth Within Four Communities
May 17, 2012

Houston is home to numerous diverse communities. While many of these neighborhoods have evolved over the years, others have been slow to respond to the ever-changing physical, cultural and economic landscapes.

This year, University of Houston researchers developed partnerships with four of the city’s super neighborhoods – Alief, Golfcrest/Bellfort/Reveille (GBR), Greenspoint and Mid-West – to identify opportunities for growth and positive change. Now, they’re sharing their findings in the book “Collaborative Community Design Initiative, No. 2: Islands.” They also willGolfcrest present this work during an exhibition and presentation from 6 to 8 p.m., May 24 in the atrium of UH’s Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture (Entrance 18 off Elgin Boulevard).

Susan Rogers, architecture professor and director of UH’s Community Design Resource Center, architecture professor Rafael Longoria, students and researchers explored these neighborhoods and met with community groups to learn more about each area’s challenges and issues. They then developed specific strategies designed to benefit residents in these communities.
The University of Houston has been busy helping its community to be more sustainable.


University of Wisconsin: Students win policy challenge with ideas on solar energy incentives
May 22, 2012
Two La Follette School students won the U.S. Department of Energy portion of the Startup America Policy Challenge with their proposal about how to make solar energy more affordable.

Sam Harms and Sam Shannon were in Washington, D.C., on May 21 as part of the Startup America Policy Challenge announced by the White House in December 2011. The two second-year students talked with Richard Kauffman, senior advisor to the secretary of energy, and presented their ideas to a panel of industry and government leaders in energy, education and health policy.

“Under our proposal, the U.S. Department of Energy and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission would establish a framework to encourage electric utilities to lease solar photovoltaic modules to businesses and homeowners,” Harms says. “Customers would pay a monthly fee to use the electricity produced, which would make renewable power more affordable. Utilities would be able to put any excess onto the grid and apply all generated electricity toward state requirements to use renewable energy.”
Just like last week, here is a case where student efforts got noticed by the federal government. Here's to their actually influencing policy.

And that's the sustainability education news for this week. Look for another edition featuring stories from California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Dakota, and Texas next week.

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