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  • August 2nd, 2021

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2ND AVENUE OVERPASS TO OPEN THIS WEEK – The University of Alabama will open the 2nd Avenue Overpass connecting 15th Street with Paul W. Bryant Drive at 5 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 4. Currently, more than 70,000 vehicles cross the train tracks running along the south edge of campus every day. The new three-lane overpass will not only help traffic flow to and from campus but also will be especially helpful for emergency response. The overpass features a 10-foot-wide bike/walking path, 4-foot-wide protective space with a concrete barrier and plenty of lighting. Tim Leopard, senior associate vice president for campus development, will meet with the media at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 3, to answer questions about the overpass. For more information, contact Bryant Welbourne, UA Communications, at bryant.welbourne@ua.edu.

UA RECOGNIZED AGAIN FOR COMMITMENT TO SAFETY – The University of Alabama has once again been recognized by the Emergency Management Accreditation Program, or EMAP, for its emergency preparedness and response activities. EMAP is the only accreditation process for emergency management programs and is sought by federal and state agencies, counties, cities and universities. Originally accredited by EMAP in 2015, UA is one of only eight institutions of higher education in the nation, and the only one in Alabama and the Southeastern Conference, to receive the distinction. UA is also the only university to ever receive a consecutive accreditation. For more information, contact Shane Dorrill, UA Communications, at shane.dorrill@ua.edu.

TRANSFORMATIVE UA, ALABAMA POWER, MERCEDES INITIATIVE MOVING FORWARD WITH STATE SUPPORT – The University of Alabama will construct the Smart Communities and Innovation Building on campus, subject to trustee approval, to house the Alabama Mobility and Power (AMP) initiative, a partnership between UA, Alabama Power and Mercedes-Benz U.S. International, designed to meet the needs of the booming electric vehicle market and support Alabama’s transportation network. Funding for the project comes from $16.5 million of bonds issued by the Alabama Public School and College Authority. For more information, contact Adam Jones, UA Communications, at adam.jones@ua.edu.

SOFT, CUTE, COLORFUL NIGHTMARES: VENOMOUS CATERPILLARS OF ALABAMA – Caterpillars can be cute, are generally soft to the touch, and sometimes even beautiful to behold. However, in Alabama, some caterpillars, if touched, can cause people so much pain that they may end up hospitalized. “The vast majority of caterpillars are totally harmless, but about a dozen or so in Alabama have some sort of stinging capability,” said Dr. John Abbott, an entomologist and chief curator and director of the Department of Museum Research and Collections. Abbott said these venomous caterpillars are most active in late spring through summer and early fall. For more information, contact Dr. John Abbott at jabbott1@ua.edu or Jamon Smith, UA Communications, at jamon.smith@ua.edu.

MOUNDVILLE’S SATURDAY IN THE PARK RETURNS – UA’s Moundville Archaeological Park’s Saturday in the Park returns this summer to provide a series of demonstrations and presentations related to Native American culture, archaeology, natural history, sustainable gardening and more. The Aug. 7 event will feature flute and whistle making with Charlie Mato-Toyela. Saturday in the Park takes place each Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, visit the Moundville Archaeological Park website. 

CURRENT COMMENT

WITH RENEWED MASK GUIDELINES, DIFFERENT INFORMATION NEEDED TO CUT THROUGH POLITICIZED PANDEMIC – Renewed mask guidelines and mandates alone will likely only have discernible effects on those who are concerned about COVID-19 in the first place and have probably already been vaccinated, according to Dr. Wanyun Shao, UA assistant professor of geography, part of four studies on risk perception and risk mitigation during the pandemic. In a highly polarized environment, various facets of COVID-19 are framed differently among people with different political orientation. “Providing timely information about rising number of cases and death rates, however, is likely to motivate Americans to adopt risk mitigation behaviors such as wearing masks and getting vaccines, as indicated by our research,” she said. For more information, contact Shao at wshao1@ua.edu or Adam Jones, UA Communications, at adam.jones@ua.edu

SIMONE BILES BRINGS AWARENESS TO MENTAL HEALTH – A dominant story from the Tokyo 2020 Olympics has been of U.S. gymnast Simone Biles’ decision to leave the competition for her mental health. “Our mental health has always been important but not always prioritized,” said Dr. John Burkhardt, associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine in UA’s College of Community Health Sciences and a practicing clinical psychologist at University Medical Center. “With her recent withdrawal from Olympic competition, Ms. Simone Biles has demonstrated that focusing on well-being not only improves mental health but also can help prevent serious injury if one is not in the right mindset. Given the magnitude and immediacy of the situation, what she did was courageous and not something everyone completely understands.” For more information, contact Burkhardt at jeburkhardt@ua.edu or Shane Dorrill, UA Communications, at shane.dorrill@ua.edu.

U.S. WOMEN DOMINATE MEDALS AND NBC PRIMETIME COVERAGE Women athletes have received the majority of the coverage in the first week of the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games. Clock-time results indicate through the first seven nights of NBC’s primetime coverage, women’s sports were shown 56 percent of the time, according to analysis that involves Dr. Andrew Billings, the Ronald Reagan Chair of Broadcasting at The University of Alabama, and co-author of a book on Olympic television coverage. Billings and co-authors of the book will post regular updates about NBC’s coverage of men and women athletes throughout the summer games on the website FiveRingTV.com and on Twitter. For more information, contact Billings at acbillings@ua.edu or Adam Jones, UA Communications, at adam.jones@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.