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  • April 19th, 2021

BEST BETS

FOURTH ANNUAL BAMA BLITZ SETS RECORD RAISING $3.6 MILLIONThe University of Alabama secured a record number of gifts and raised more funds than ever during its annual week of giving, Bama Blitz. Supporters contributed 2,131 gifts totaling more than $3.6 million during the crowdfunded, social-media-driven campaign, which showcased passion projects from UA colleges and schools. For more information, contact Shane Dorrill, UA Strategic Communications, at shane.dorrill@ua.edu.

NEARLY A THIRD OF MOBILE BAY MARSHES GONE SINCE 1980S, STUDY FINDS About half a football field of marshes on the edges of Mobile Bay vanished annually over the past 35 years, according to a study by researchers at The University of Alabama.The study of satellite and aerial images from 1984 to 2019 showed a loss of about 30 percent of saltwater marshes, critical for the health of oceans. The project is the first to apply analyzation of satellite images through computer modeling to quantify not only the change in marshes, but to show how land along the bay changed through time, providing detailed, annual information that fine-tuned models with the ability to show how future actions should influence marsh and wetland habitat. For more information, contact Adam Jones, UA Strategic Communications, at adam.jones@ua.edu

STATE BUSINESS LEADERS EXPECTING ECONOMIC GROWTHIn the latest quarterly survey by researchers at The University of Alabama, business leaders in the state are feeling more encouraged about the economy than they have since the global pandemic began. The UA Center for Business and Economic Research’s most recent Alabama Business Confidence Index shows that local business leaders have strong expectations for economic growth in the second quarter of 2021.For more information, contact Adam Jones, UA Strategic Communications, at adam.jones@ua.edu

BAMA BUG FEST TO INCLUDE VIRTUAL, IN-PERSON COMPONENTSBama Bug Fest will be crawling your way April 22-24 and will include virtual experiences and in-person exhibits. The online component features four video premieres on the UA Museums’ YouTube Channel. Various bug exhibits will be showcased at the Alabama Museum of Natural History, Mildred Westervelt Warner Transportation Museum and Tuscaloosa Public Library. For more information, contact Rebecca Johnson, UA Museums, at rljohnson8@ua.edu

RISE CENTER TO HOLD GOLF, TENNIS FUNDRAISERS UA’s RISE Center will hold the RISE Tournament of Champions April 22-23 at NorthRiver Yacht Club and a women’s doubles tennis tournament April 22 at the PARA Tuscaloosa Tennis Center, both benefiting therapeutic services provided by RISE. The RISE Tournament of Champions is a four-person scramble, handicaps required, with morning or afternoon tee times both days. Registration for the golf tournament starts at $2,750 for a four-person team. New to RISE’s fundraising efforts is a women’s doubles tennis tournament. The cost per team is $150. For more information, contact Tabby Brown, UA College of Human Environmental Sciences, at tbrown@ches.ua.edu 

CURRENT COMMENT

EVEN WITH RECENT FUNDING CHANGES, ALABAMA HAS INFRASTRUCTURE NEEDS – Legislative foresight by Alabama lawmakers in enacting the Rebuild Alabama Act reformulated the gas tax and addressed both the contribution of the infrastructure serving electric vehicles, and ensured that local governments could expand and participate in improving their road networks. The act helped funding for infrastructure needs weather the pandemic, so far, but needs remain, said Steven Polunsky, director of the Alabama Transportation Policy Research Center. “Even in normal times, taking into account technological advances and shifts in commuting patterns,  the economic and societal needs for resilient transportation infrastructure far exceed the ability to provide, and that’s before considering new pressures from the rapid expansion of e-commerce, supply chain shortages, extreme weather events, and equity issues,” he said. For more information, contact Steve Polunsky at polunsky@ua.edu

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The University of Alabama, part of The University of Alabama System, is the state’s flagship university. UA shapes a better world through its teaching, research and service. With a global reputation for excellence, UA provides an inclusive, forward-thinking environment and nearly 200 degree programs on a beautiful, student-centered campus. A leader in cutting-edge research, UA advances discovery, creative inquiry and knowledge through more than 30 research centers. As the state’s largest higher education institution, UA drives economic growth in Alabama and beyond.