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June 2013

Oread Project Integrates Sustainability into the Classroom By Jeff Severin, Director, KU Center for Sustainability The University of Kansas has launched The Oread Project, a new program to help faculty from across campus redesign an existing course – or create a new course – to incorporate sustainability content. Fourteen faculty representing 4 different Schools participated in the project’s inaugural 2day workshop in May. The workshop was sponsored by the Office of the Provost, and led by Stacey White, Chair of the Urban Planning Department and Director of Academic Programs for the Center for Sustainability. The workshop allowed participants to explore sustainability concepts and pedagogical approaches through presentations, activities, and group discussions. Activities included: presentations from campus and community resources on using the Campus Sustainability Plan, Building Sustainable Traditions, as a starting point for course projects;






community integrating

‚flipped learning,‛ a practice that involves putting lecture materials online to allow more time in the classroom for hand-on learning, problem solving and discussion. Participants also spent time exploring outdoor spaces on campus, including a walk to the Prairie Acre led by Professor and Kansas Biological Services Senior Scientist Kelly Kindscher. Oread Project participants will use the summer to revise an existing syllabus or create a syllabus for a new course offering.

KU Center for Sustainability

Oread Project participants visit the Prairie Acre with guide Kelly Kindscher.

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June 2013 Upon completion, they will receive a $1000 stipend that can be used for academic purposes, including conference travel, books, and other resources that support development of the course. One such course will be taught this summer. Associate Professor Bonnie Johnson is applying her experience with the Oread Project to developing the Infrastructure Management course in Public Administration. The course will examine city infrastructure through the lens of sustainability. Students will tours examples of sustainable infrastructure on campus and in the community, and discuss possible improvements on campus. Participating in the workshop helped Johnson expand her thinking about how to evaluate whether something was ‚sustainable,‛ and how different disciplines and professions view sustainability. ‚Anyone who has thought about teaching sustainability is pretty quickly confronted by the different meanings and interpretations of the topic,‛ Johnson said. ‚The Oread Project brought together professors from all over campus and I was able to hear them talk about and explain what ‘sustainability’ means in their disciplines, from petroleum engineering to anthropology to design to business to sociology.‛ Johnson plans to build on that experience when discussing the range of professionals city managers work with, including engineers, public administrators, city planners, accountants, contract managers, architects, landscape architects, elected officials, and citizens. ‚I can use what I learned to help students think about sorting through how all these different experts and laymen might imagine sustainability differently and how we can bring those ideas together collaboratively – just like we did at the Oread Project workshop.‛ Similarly, the Oread Project aims to create new opportunities for faculty to work collaboratively on sustainability-related courses and research.

Paul Stock, Assistant Professor of Sociology, was

excited by the opportunity to meet faculty engaged with sustainability in their teaching through the workshop. ‚I look forward to working with colleagues around campus in new ways,‛ he said. ‚I'm hopeful that the course on food I'm proposing can include assignments and contributions from people around campus excited about the same themes.‛ In addition to encouraging interdisciplinary collaboration on campus, the Oread Project is designed to contribute to the goals of Bold Aspirations and the resulting strategic initiatives. Sustainability is a common thread running through the KU Strategic Initiative areas, which set priorities for research investment. The project also addresses Goal #6 of the new KU Core, which states that KU students will ‚Gain the ability to integrate knowledge and think creatively,‛ skills inherent to sustainability education. ‚No matter their major, graduates of the University of Kansas will pursue careers in KU Center for Sustainability

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June 2013 which sustainability is a key element,‛ said White. The Oread Project is therefore a way to provide students with the knowledge and skills they will need for their future careers, and faculty with a way to develop new teaching approaches and possible research activity. The Oread Project is modeled after the Ponderosa Project at Northern Arizona University and the Piedmont Project at Emory University. White attended a training workshop at Emory in January of this year to learn how to apply this model at KU.

Lot 54 to Get a Green Renovation By Jeff Severin, Director, KU Center for Sustainability It seems that about anywhere you travel in Lawrence this summer, you will run into road construction. This is especially true on campus, as the first phase of rehabilitation of Jayhawk Boulevard is under way, along with the reconstruction of Parking Lot 54 at 15th Street and Naismith Drive. And while parking lots are not the epitome of sustainability, Lot 54 will be a showcase of sustainable strategies when it is completed this fall. The new Lot 54 will feature a slate of stormwater management practices including pervious pavement to allow rainwater to percolate into soil below, and bioswales and underground storage to slow, treat, and infiltrate runoff. The landscaping on the south end of the lot will also include a raingarden that will be planted by student volunteers in the fall. In addition to enhanced stormwater management features, the design includes elements to reduce the heat island effect, an increase in ambient air temperatures that results from heat absorbed by streets, parking lots, and rooftops. Instead of black asphalt, the lot will be constructed with longer-life concrete, which will have a high albedo, or reflectivity. Shade trees will also be planted in densely landscaped islands in the parking lot, which will not only address the heat island effect but aid in storm water management.

KU Center for Sustainability

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June 2013 Even the lighting in the parking lot will be upgraded from conventional metal halide lights to energy-efficient LEDs. The new fixtures are expected to reduce electricity consumption by 50%. Although the construction has already contributed to the loss of trees in and around the lot, KU Facilities Services will process removed timber for firewood at the Chamney kiln and wood chips for landscaping. And asphalt millings, a construction sign, light poles, and an emergency call station will be reused in reconstructing the lot. Funding for the project is being provided by KU Parking & Transit and a Kansas Department of Health and Environment loan with ‚principle forgiveness‛, essentially a grant with a small amount of interest payment. Additional support for the project is being provided by The City of Lawrence to assist with replacement of sanitary sewer lines under the parking lot that have to be upgraded. The Revolving Green Loan Fund Committee has committed funding toward the cost of upgrading lighting.

Staff Fellows Deadline Approaching By Sara Vancil, Assistant Director, Financial Aid & Scholarships As a fellow Sustainability Ambassador, I wanted to give you a special heads up that the application process for the Staff Fellows Program has gone live. If you’re considering applying for the program, I encourage you to start thinking about it now. I participated during the 2011-2012 cohort and would be happy to answer any questions about it. Please note that both University Support Staff and Unclassified Professional Staff are encouraged to apply. Information about the program can be found here: This is a fabulous professional development opportunity and while it does take a time and energy commitment, I think it is worth it! In addition, when you participate, there is an opportunity to get involved in projects with your cohort. I don’t believe any projects have been taken on yet that have any sort of sustainability focus but this could be that year! You may preview the application by clicking on the Blue ‚Apply Now‛ box and logging in. In addition to the online application and resume, a letter of support from your supervisor is also required. I am serving this year as an alumna on the Recruiting & Application Review subcommittee, so please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about the program. The application deadline will be Wednesday, July 10.

KU Center for Sustainability

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June 2013

KU Bookstore and Socially Aware Company “Alta Gracia” Form Partnership By Blaine Bengtson, Intern, KU Center for Sustainability The University of Kansas Bookstore now carries apparel made by the socially aware textile company Alta Gracia. According to the organization’s director of marketing Ripp Scott, Alta Gracia provides jobs for citizens in the Dominican Republic where the unemployment rate is nearly 90%. More importantly the company pays its employees a ‚living wage.‛ In the Dominican Republic, the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC) defines a ‚living wage‛ as three times that of the Dominican Republic minimum wage. The company is certified by the WRC which is an organization with standards for encouraging and monitoring company policies that fall in line with the definition of a ‚living wage‛ and a safe and healthy workplace. Factory workers’ lives change with their ability to sufficiently feed their families, build homes, and even send their children to school for an education. The KU student organization known as United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS), which recently received a Social Justice Sustainability Leadership Award, was important in spurring the necessary change in KU Bookstore apparel. The group of students worked with KU Bookstores and other University entities to make sure the Bookstore provided consumers with some viable, socially equitable products. So the next time you find yourself needing a new sweatshirt for football games or a new t-shirt to wear in Allen Fieldhouse, support Alta Gracia and its efforts to create a more equitable world. Don’t forget to thank the KU Bookstore for carrying their products. For more information about Alta Gracia, visit the organization’s website:

Interested in Becoming a Sustainability Ambassador? Serve as a Sustainability Ambassadors for your departments, administrative units, or student organizations. The ambassador network strives to create a more sustainable KU through generating new ideas, establishing partnerships, and sharing information about sustainable research and practices with the campus community. For more information visit ambassadors or email

KU Center for Sustainability

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June 2013

The University of Kansas prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, age, ancestry, disability, status as a veteran, sexual orientation, marital







expression and genetic information in the University’s programs and activities. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Executive Director of the Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access,, 1246 West Campus Road, Room 153A, Lawrence, KS 66045, (785) 864-6414, 711 TTY.

Join Us For more information about sustainability at KU, visit like us on Facebook at, or follow us on Twitter @SustainKU.

KU Center for Sustainability

Campus Rain Garden Work Day It’s that time of year again. The Center for Sustainability and the Campus Garden Advisory Board are holding a summer maintenance work day in the Campus Rain Garden on Friday, June 21st from 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM. Continuing the efforts of the spring maintenance day, activities will include trimming old growth and digging out invasive species. We would like to complete as much maintenance as possible before the summer’s hottest months of July and August. Please email if you are interested in helping.

Contribute Is your department or organization contributing to a more sustainable KU? We’d love to hear about it and include your efforts in our next issue of the Spotlight! Send submissions to

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June 2013 KU Recycling collects the following materials at most locations.



Includes: White Paper Pastel Colored Paper Brochures Stapled Books Envelopes Manila File Folders Junk Mail Greeting Cards Heavy Weight Paper

Does Not Include: Newsprint Cardboard or Chipboard Paper or Styrofoam Cups Napkins of Tissues Food Contaminated Paper Magazines or Glossy Paper Books with Glued Binding Paper Bags

Includes: Aluminum cans ONLY

Steel or Tin Cans

STEEL CANS Includes: Steel (tin) cans ONLY

NEWSPAPER Includes: All Newsprint

Does Not Include: Magazines or Glossy Paper Phone Books or Catalogs

CORRUGATED CARDBOARD Includes: Corrugated Cardboard Boxes Corrugated Packaging

Does Not Include: Soiled Pizza Boxes Waxy Cardboard Any boxes that have food contamination

CHIPBOARD Includes: Other Paperboard Packaging

Does Not Include: Corrugated Cardboard

MAGAZINES Includes: Magazines Glossy Paper

Does Not Include: Aluminum Cans Bottles of any kind Sheet or Scrap Metal

TELEPHONE DIRECTORIES & CATALOGS Includes campus and municipal phone books and catalogs with similar construction (heavy-weight cover with newspaper-like pages)

Mixed Paper Grades of paper not listed above, including journals, hard-back books and glue-bound books should be recycled separately from other materials.

Shredded Paper Does Not Include: Junk Mail Phone Directories

#1— #7 PLASTICS Any #1-#7 plastic (salad bar take-out, plastic packaging etc)

KU Center for Sustainability

Does Not Include: Foil Food Wrappers

Bags of shredded paper should be tied shut to close bag completely. Do not put shredded overheads or any other type of plastics in with the shredded office pak. DO NOT put shredded paper in, or stack on top of or next to the regular recycling bins. Instead, contact KU Recycling for a special collection.

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Sustainability Spotlight - June 2013  
Sustainability Spotlight - June 2013  

The newsletter of the University of Kansas Center for Sustainability. This issue focuses on the Oread Project, Lot 54 reconstruction, Staff...