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Learn more about the interesting things going on at UofL.

Helping Kentucky schools reduce energy use

UofL engineers who specialize in energy conservation are helping school districts throughout Kentucky cut their energy costs to the tune of millions of dollars.

The Kentucky Pollution Prevention Center (KPPC), located in the J.B. Speed School of Engineering, is working with all of the state’s school districts to help reduce energy costs through the Kentucky Energy Efficiency Program for Schools (KEEPS). State law mandates school district participation by next January.

Kentucky schools spent $160 million on energy in fiscal year 2006-07, but by doing some simple things, such as changing to energy-efficient light bulbs, they could trim several million off that bill.

In a two-year pilot, KEEPS helped five school districts and three colleges and universities save more than $1 million in energy costs during fiscal years 2006-07 and 2007-08. Energy savings approached a 10 percent reduction, says Cam Metcalf, KPPC executive director.

Of the pilot participants, Kenton County schools saw the most savings with a combined total of $496,000 for the two years.

Low-cost/no-cost energy efficiency measures accounted for much of the initial savings, says Beth Bell, KEEPS coordinator. Besides switching to low-energy light bulbs, such measures include changing heating and air conditioning systems settings, replacing Exit sign bulbs with LEDs, installing occupancy sensors, shutting down electronic equipment during long breaks, putting timers on fans and training faculty, staff and students to be more thoughtful about turning off lights and dressing more comfortably for changing temperatures.

Freedom Park

In the latest move to enhance and encourage pedestrian and bicycle traffic on campus, UofL recently received $1.6 million from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to build a pedestrian crosswalk intersecting Second and Third streets and crossing through Freedom Park.

Freedom Park The UofL Foundation has provided a 20 percent match for the project. That $403,000 brings to $2 million the total cost of the one-year project, which also includes landscaping, lighting, expanded bike pathways, pedestrian cardiopaths and traffic-calming measures at Stansbury Park, a short distance south of Freedom Park on Third Street.

But there’s more to the project than these improvements, according to Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear. "This is an investment in our educational environment that also helps preserve a piece of our heritage," Beshear says.

UofL dedicated Freedom Park in January 2003. The triangular patch of grass is the site of The Playhouse, a UofL theater, and a city-owned late-19th-century monument to fallen Confederate soldiers. The university’s original plan was to develop an educational component at the park to highlight Kentucky’s role in the evolution of civil rights. The new funding will support inclusion of an interpretive center with signs and public art to do that.

Ramsey receives Hope Award

UofL President James Ramsey received the West Louisville Performing Arts Academy (WLPAA) Hope Award at the annual Hope Award Dinner Concert in December.

WLPAA is the umbrella organization for the West Louisville Boys and Girls Choirs. The Hope Award honors Ramsey’s commitment to West Louisville and the university’s Signature Partnership.

Hope award It also recognizes UofL’s longstanding relationship with WLPAA. Since 2001 the university has provided scholarships to choir members who remain in good standing with the choir, graduate from high school and meet UofL’s admission criteria. Several students have attended UofL under this arrangement. One has graduated. The university also provides housing and rehearsal space for the choirs’ annual summer institutes.

WLPAA is a member of the university’s Signature Partnership program, which promotes improved living standards and economic opportunities in Louisville’s urban core and focuses on education, economic development, health and social and human services. More than 1,700 UofL faculty, staff and students have participated in the partnership.

Participants’ activities have included mentoring, tutoring, working with small and minority businesses, neighborhood clean-ups and dental screenings. UofL and its partner groups have received more than $1 million in grants and contracts to support their work through the Signature Partnership Initiative.

Eight for eight!

A recent statewide diversity assessment of universities had great things to say about UofL.

The latest Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education report on the Kentucky Plan for Equal Opportunities measured universities’ effectiveness in categories such as enrolling, retaining and graduating African American students, and in hiring African American faculty and staff.

Once again, UofL achieved all eight of its goals—the only state university to do so. "This is an important distinction for us, and we will continue to make this a priority," says UofL President James Ramsey. "We are more committed than ever to creating a diverse campus and all the benefits such a community provides."

Building peace with Islam

Building Pease with Islam Ten Islamic scholars from Pakistan, Bangladesh and India visited Louisville and other U.S. cities this past fall through a UofL exchange program promoting peace building among Muslims and Americans. The program, "Religion and Society: A Dialogue," was funded by the U.S. State Department. Grant director Riffat Hassan, a UofL humanities professor internationally known for Islamic studies and women rights work, led the exchanges and worked with U.S. embassy officials and local partners to choose the participants. The scholars’ backgrounds ranged from journalism to psychology to history to philosophy to political science to community activism. A U.S. group will travel to the South Asian countries this year.

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