UA in the News: March 20, 2014

  • March 20th, 2014

University of Alabama students to assist tornado recovery
Tuscaloosa News – March 18
A group of University of Alabama students and leaders from the Capstone’s Community Service Center will spend spring break helping build new homes in Moore, Okla., a suburb of Oklahoma City struck by a devastating EF5 tornado in 2013. About 16 students will make the trip for the 2014 Alternative Spring Break from Sunday to March 28. The trip is the outgrowth of the original response on campus by the Community Service Center and the UA Student Government Association to the May 2013 tornado, said Kimberly Montgomery, assistant director of the center. There were 24 deaths related to the system, according to National Weather Service Weather records. UA students organized a gift card drive after the storm to help survivors. Montgomery said students felt strongly about offering assistance following the aid and influx of volunteers that came to Tuscaloosa in the aftermath of the deadly April 2011 tornado.  Many of the UA upperclassmen who volunteered were freshman or sophomores and saw firsthand the recovery efforts by volunteers from outside the state. – March 19
Montgomery Advertiser – March 19
Florence Times Daily – March 19
ABC 33/40 (Birmingham) – March 19
WVUA (Tuscaloosa) – March 19
CBS 42 (Birmingham) – March 19

UA students help people sign up for health care
Fox 6 (Birmingham) – March 19

March 31 is the enrollment deadline for signing up for health coverage under the new healthcare law, and several local groups are helping folks sign up in time. Bama Covered is one of those groups. It has no political affiliation and those involved – they say they just want to make a difference. There are chapters of Bama Covered at colleges and universities all over the state, including the University of Alabama. They’re going out in the community, to different events and locations, wanting to make sure people know they’re there to help.

UA students to take part in concrete canoe competition

WVUA (Tuscaloosa) – March 19

A team from UA’s school of engineering will return to a regional concrete canoe competition next week. A team of 18 civil engineering students have been constructing a concrete canoe since the beginning of the school year. The American Society of Civil Engineers Southeast Conference Concrete Canoe Competition will take place March 27-29 in Tampa, Florida. The competition involves five different races, a written paper explaining their construction process, an oral presentation, and a visual display, all while promoting a unique theme.

Is the University of Alabama more influential than Auburn? ‘TIME’ says so – March 19

Fans of the University of Alabama and Auburn University are once again pitted against each other, but this time it’s not over sports — in a new “TIME” online algorithm, UA measures 1.27 times more influential than Auburn according to the influence of their alumni. Instead of ranking schools according to the strength of their basketball team, as is the custom during March Madness, TIME built a program based on the “107,408 living people whose Wikipedia profiles list at least one alma mater in the U.S.” According to TIME’s methodology, the length and breadth of an individual’s Wikipedia page “generally corresponds” to a person’s prominence. The individual alumnus scores were then added to give a complete school total — an 88.6 for UA and a 69.5 for Auburn.

State parks give Alabama $375 million boost, support 5,340 jobs, study finds

Cherokee County Herald – March 19

Alabama’s 22 state parks aren’t just nice places to visit. They are also big contributors to the state’s economy, a new study finds. Visitors to Alabama’s 22 state parks in 2011 spent an estimated $152.4 million, according to the analysis by professors at the University of Alabama. Visitors’ spending along with expenditures by the parks system had a total economic impact of $375 million and supported 5,340 jobs, say Samuel Addy and Ahmad Ijaz of the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Alabama’s Culverhouse College of Commerce. The State Parks Division of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources commissioned the study. This year marks the 75th anniversary of Alabama’s parks system. In 2012, state parks recorded more than 4.6 million visits.

WLTZ-NBC (Columbus, Ga.) – March 19

WAFF-NBC (Huntsville) – March 19

Giant pythons have ‘homing instinct’

BBC – March 19

Pythons captured and relocated in Florida’s Everglades – where they are an invasive species – returned 23 miles (36km) to their original start point. It is the first evidence that snakes may share a similar magnetic compass to other reptiles, such as sea turtles. The findings are published in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters … Some previous studies found that smaller snakes – sea kraits and garter snakes – can home over short distances, but not large constrictors. “I’m impressed, but I’m not surprised – this verifies what many of us in the field have been seeing for years,” said Dr Stephen Secor of the University of Alabama, who researches Burmese python physiology. “Reptiles know where they’re going – it’s not just random. They’re familiar with their home range. “And I suspect that, if pythons can do this, all snakes can do it – rattlesnakes, vipers, the lot.” … But Dr Secor said the threat to the Everglades had been overstated: “Some people want to sell it as an ecological disaster. It’s really not. “Burmese pythons can’t ever move beyond the Everglades. It’s too cold. The minute it freezes, it kills them,” he told BBC News. “They’re actually very docile, gentle snakes. People who don’t like them don’t know a lot about them. They’re pretty amazing animals and we can learn a lot from them.”

Mr President, lead the era of attitudinal change

Graphic Online (Ghana) – March 19

Written by T. P. Manus Ulzen

I couldn’t bring myself to write anything celebratory on Independence Day because I honestly did not find much to be happy about.The President’s message, though, was right on target. Our economy is at a breaking point partly because it is so import-dependent. The global economic space is fiercely competitive and our laissez – faire attitude simply will not cut it. Mr Mahama is right again in his diagnosis that the biggest challenge to bringing about transformative change in Ghana is attitudinal. Without going into a long historical journey on how attitudes changed for the worse in Ghana, we can agree on some of the identifiable symptoms of the disease of protracted underdevelopment, which will be our undoing as a nation. President Mahama has the disadvantage of having been part of an administration which oversaw the largest budget deficit in recent times, so if he, indeed, is taking a different path, he must provide vigorous treatment for the patients. He must break the NDC orthodoxy, not in content but in application of his interventions across the board. (The writer is a Professor of Psychiatric and Behavioural Medicine at the University of Alabama  and the author of ” Java Hill: An African Journey” – A historiography of Ghana.)

History of education conference presents speakers, research

Crimson White – March 20

Academics throughout the Southeast will converge at the University of Alabama College of Education’s Southern History of Education Society Annual Conference this weekend to discuss various topics in the field. “The event is important because it allows faculty members and students to share ideas and conclusions about the hundreds of years of education and schooling in the United States,” said Philo Hutcheson, head of the department of educational leadership, policy and technology studies. Also known as the SHOES conference, the event will include presentations from several professors and students on historical topics in education. Established in the early 1970s, the conference usually attracts graduate students who can explore ideas for paper topics, theses and dissertations.

Project Health devotes week to spring break safety

Crimson White – March 20

Project Health, a student organization dedicated to educating students on different health topics each week, is dedicating an entire week to promoting its spring break campaign to students at The University of Alabama. “Project Health is really pushing for a fun, safe spring break,” said Kenya Donovan, director of health advocates for Project Health. “We know that students go on spring break and drink, but we want them to really watch what they are doing and know their limits.” Donovan and the Health Advocates have a table set up for students to sign the safe spring break pledge in the Ferguson Center and the Health Hut around campus.

Program promotes research

Crimson White – March 20

The Emerging Scholars Program, a two-semester research program geared towards educating freshmen on research processes, has been around for six years. The program seeks to give freshmen a taste of how research is done. Professor Ann Webb, director of the Emerging Scholars Program, has been onboard since day one. “I was on the planning committee for Emerging Scholars in 2008 when it began, and it has growing since then,” Webb said. “We actually got the idea for the program from the University of Michigan. They have a similar program that has been working for over 25 years now.” Webb said the Emerging Scholars Program not only helps the freshmen students, but it helps the faculty as well. Webb also said the program lets faculty members and the students build a relationship so that the student always has someone to turn to in the future. “Interest is rising in undergraduate research all over campus, and it is good for students to get involved early,” Webb said. “If students start getting into research junior and senior year, it is too late by then. Getting these students into research early is key.”

Travel course sends TCF students to Colorado

Crimson White – March 20

Since 1974, the Telluride Film Festival has brought filmmakers and moviegoers to the Colorado Mountains to screen new films and pay tribute to Hollywood superstars and unknowns alike. Kristen Warner, assistant professor of the telecommunication and film department, is jump-starting a new travel course to take students to the festival. Warner, along with Rachel Raimist, a professor in the TCF department and co-director of Creative Campus, have run a number of film festival courses over the past few years. Warner said she plans to take some students to the Atlanta Film Festival, which lasts from March 28 to April 16. Warner helped start TCF 444, Film Festivals and Independent Cinema, in 2013. The class takes a trip to the Sundance Film Festival to network and learn about how the film industry operates.



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