KU News Release


Nov. 18, 2009
Contact: Jeff Severin, Center for Sustainability, (785) 864-5804

KU faculty, staff, students honored for promoting sustainable practices

More Information

LAWRENCE — The Center for Sustainability at the University of Kansas recently presented its annual Sustainability Leadership Awards, recognizing faculty, staff and students for outstanding leadership and creativity in addressing environmental, economic and social responsibility concerns on and off campus.

Awards in five categories honored individuals and campus projects.

Easan Selvan, systems specialist with KU’s Student Success Technology Services, received the staff award. Selvan played a key role in creating and implementing a conservation project that makes duplexing — using both sides of a sheet of paper — the default for printers and sets computers to hibernate after a period of inactivity. If fully implemented, the project could save more than $29,000 in energy costs and reduced carbon dioxide emissions, an amount equivalent to removing more than 51 cars from the road.

Simran Sethi, associate professor of journalism, received the faculty award. Sethi was recognized for her efforts to raise awareness and inspire action in the classroom and the broader community. Her commitment to sustainability and service learning helps students make real-world connections to environmental issues and support the local community. Outside the classroom, Sethi is a member of Lawrence’s Sustainability Advisory Board, is writing a book on contemporary environmentalism and blogs for the Huffington Post and Alternet, stimulating a national dialogue about sustainability.

Students working to restore Potter Lake received the Student Initiative Award. The project began as a report on the lake’s conditions and listed the most cost-effective, sustainable and historically compatible restorative solutions. With funding from KU alumni, volunteers installed aerators to improve oxygen levels and removed several tons of vegetation. A surface skimmer was also purchased to aid restoration. The Potter Lake Project is a student-initiated project that has garnered support from multiple campus departments, including Design and Construction Management, Facilities Operations and the Kansas Biological Survey, as well as volunteer assistance from faculty, staff and students.

A group of student engineers, KU EcoHawks, received the Academic Project Award for their energy-saving project designs. EcoHawks apply engineering principles to solve real-world problems, focusing on the interconnectedness of the environment, energy, economy, education and ethics. In the 2008-09 academic year, their senior design project involved converting a 1974 Volkswagen into a hybrid vehicle that could run on 100 percent biodiesel. Theoretical computations indicated the vehicle could achieve more than 50 miles per gallon, which is an 80 percent increase over the original design. The car also was designed to accept other power-generation units so it could operate using fuels such as ethanol or compressed natural gas. This year, the class is implementing small-scale radio control car testing. EcoHawk teams will design and build 1/8th scale vehicles to explore battery, motor and material technology. This will allow students to test the limits of advanced battery and even superconductor technology to explore new possibilities.

EcoHawks is led by Chris Depcik, assistant professor of mechanical engineering. Since coming to KU in 2008, Depcik has maintained successful research on reducing vehicle emissions and has been involved in a number collaborative projects with faculty from chemical engineering, business and environmental engineering. He also participated in a Center for Sustainability working group that focused on developing concepts for a multidisciplinary course in sustainability.

Margaret Tran, a senior from Derby, received the Student Award. In addition to her involvement in student organizations and efforts to raise awareness about issues of sustainability, Tran is a coordinator for EARTH, a program of the Center for Community Outreach that oversees the campus garden. Over the past few years, she has coordinated a volunteer effort to tend a vegetable garden on campus and donate produce to feed those in need.

Winners and nominees were recognized during Campus Sustainability Day on Oct. 23. The event was co-sponsored by the Commons, the Center for Sustainability and KU Environs and featured presentations from some of the nominees, an overview of the campus greenhouse gas inventory to develop a climate action plan and a round-table discussion about advancing sustainability at KU.

Students and recent graduates participating in award-winning projects are listed below by hometown, level in school, major, parents’ names, high schools and project.

BARTON COUNTY
From Ellinwood 67526
Travis Alan Schneweis, senior in mechanical engineering; son of Alan and Susan Schneweis; Ellinwood High School; KU EcoHawks.

DOUGLAS COUNTY
From Lawrence 66047
Robert Vernon Low, senior in mechanical engineering; Lansing High School; KU EcoHawks

Thomas Henry Prinsen, senior in mechanical engineering; Southwest Minnesota Christian High School, Edgerton, Minn; KU EcoHawks

FRANKLIN COUNTY
From Ottawa 66067
John Paul Cover, senior in mechanical engineering; Ottawa High School; KU EcoHawks

JEFFERSON COUNTY
From Perry 66073
Cody Keene Moore, senior in mechanical engineering; son of Rodge and Linda Moore; Topeka High School; KU EcoHawks

JOHNSON COUNTY
From Leawood 66206
Calvin Gerald Morris, senior in mechanical engineering; son of Guy and Carleen Morris; Shawnee Mission East High School; KU EcoHawks.

From Leawood 66209
Sarah Ruth Gelvin, senior in mechanical engineering; daughter of Timothy and Jane Gelvin; Blue Valley North High School; KU EcoHawks.

From Leawood 66224
Michael Rollins, senior in mechanical engineering; son of Myron Rollins and Leslie Rollins of Overland Park; Blue Valley High School; KU EcoHawks.

From Lenexa 66215
John William Pro, senior in mechanical engineering; son of Marilyn and John Pro; Shawnee Mission Northwest High School; KU EcoHawks.

From Lenexa 66219
Andrew Thomas Bieger, senior in mechanical engineering; son of Jack and Judy Bieger; Shawnee Mission West High School; KU EcoHawks.

From Lenexa 66220
Brandon S. Hursh, senior in mechanical engineering; son of Norman and Robin Hursh; Olathe Northwest High School; KU EcoHawks.

From Olathe 66062
Alfonso Bortone, senior in mechanical engineering; son of Vicente and Adela Bortone; Olathe East High School; KU EcoHawks.

Melanie Nichole Gray, senior in mechanical engineering; daughter of Jeffrey and Rebecca Gray; Olathe East High School; KU EcoHawks.

From Overland Park 66210
Rebecca Lauryn Dellwig, senior in mechanical engineering; daughter of Robert Dellwig and Susanne Dellwig; Blue Valley North High School; KU EcoHawks.

From Overland Park 66221

David Joseph McNally, senior in mechanical engineering; son of Josephine Micheletto and William McNally; Saint Thomas Aquinas High School; KU EcoHawks.

From Overland Park 66223
Kyle Scott Combes, senior in mechanical engineering; son of Bryant and Sheri Combes; Blue Valley High School; KU EcoHawks.

From Prairie Village 66208
Jessica Ann Lamb, senior in mechanical engineering; daughter of Steve and Vicky Lamb; Shawnee Mission East High School; KU EcoHawks.

LEAVENWORTH COUNTY
From Fort Leavenworth 66027
John Dannley Kenny, spring 2009 graduate in civil engineering; son of Kraig and Deborah Kenny; Leavenworth Senior High School; Potter Lake project.

MONTGOMERY COUNTY
From Coffeyville 67337
Frederic “Ric” Carter Brown, summer 2009 graduate in civil engineering; son of Fred and Sarah Brown; Field Kindley Memorial High School; Potter Lake Project.

From Independence 67301
England Porter, spring 2009 graduate in environmental studies; daughter of Paul and Susan Porter; Independence Senior High School; Potter Lake Project.

OSAGE COUNTY
From Lyndon 66451
Christian L Altic, senior in mechanical engineering; son of Michael and Debra Altic; Lyndon High School; KU EcoHawks.

POTTAWATOMIE COUNTY
From Wamego 66547
Amber M. Markey, senior in mechanical engineering; daughter of Kay and Lyle Markey; Wamego High School; KU EcoHawks.

RENO COUNTY
From Buhler 67522
Christopher Davis Jaggers, senior in mechanical engineering; Buhler High School; KU EcoHawks.

RUSSELL COUNTY
From Russell 67665
Miles L. Detrixhe, senior in mechanical engineering; son of Gene and Mary Detrixhe; Russell High School; KU EcoHawks.

SALINE COUNTY
From Salina 67401
Ezra Luke Huscher III, senior in physics; son of Kevin and Peggy Huscher; Salina High School South; Potter Lake Project.

Sara Rae Mallory Thompson, senior in environmental studies and civil engineering; daughter of Bob and Sue Thompson; Salina High School Central; Potter Lake Project.

Timarie Thelma Trarbach: senior in architecture; daughter of Nancy and Terry Trarbach; Salina High School Central; Potter Lake Project.

SEDGWICK COUNTY
From Derby 67037
Michael Ryan Kuchinski, senior in mechanical engineering; son of Ronald and Judith Kuchinski; Kapaun Mount Carmel High School; KU EcoHawks.

Margaret A. Tran, senior in environmental studies; daughter of Chinh and Lan Tran; Derby High School; KU EARTH program coordinator.

From Wichita 67205
Benjamin Joseph Engelbrecht, senior in mechanical engineering; son of Michael and Mary Engelbrecht; Maize High School; KU EcoHawks.

Brian P. Paddock senior in mechanical engineering; son of April and Dave Paddock; Maize High School; KU EcoHawks.

SHAWNEE COUNTY
From Topeka 66604
Michael Joseph Powell, senior in mechanical engineering; son of Michael and Edith Powell; Topeka High School; KU EcoHawks.

Bryan Anthony Strecker, senior in mechanical engineering; son of William and Angie Strecker; Hayden High School; KU EcoHawks.

From Topeka 66609
Joseph Jasper McCracken, senior in mechanical engineering; son of Tim and Virginia McCracken; Shawnee Heights Senior High School; KU EcoHawks.

SEWARD COUNTY
From Liberal 67901
Austin Joseph Hausmann, senior in mechanical engineering; son of Cheryl Daugherty; Liberal High School; KU EcoHawks.

TREGO COUNTY
From Wakeeney 67672
Christopher R. Billinger, senior in mechanical engineering; son of Glennis and Elizabeth Billinger; Trego Community High School; KU EcoHawks.

WYANDOTTE COUNTY
From Bonner Springs 66012
Andrew Michael Beougher, senior in mechanical engineering; KU EcoHawks.

MISSOURI
From Chesterfield 63017
Melissa Ann Allen, senior in architecture; daughter of Robert and Sue Allen; Parkway Central High School; Potter Lake Project.

Lindsay Jean Brisko, senior in architecture; daughter of Theresa and Robert Brisko; Parkway Central High School; Potter Lake Project.

From Lee’s Summit 64082
Luke Eugene Harmon, senior in mechanical engineering; Pleasant Hills High School; KU EcoHawks.

From St. Peters 63376
Matthew Michael Nahrstedt, junior in architectural studies; son of Michael and Candace Nahrstedt; Desmet Jesuit High School, St. Louis, Mo.; Potter Lake Project.

NEBRASKA
From Omaha 68154
Alina E. Harbourne, spring 2009 graduate in environmental studies; daughter of Regina and Brian Harbourne; Harry A. Burke Senior High School; Potter Lake Project.

SAUDI ARABIA
From Jeddah
Saleh Alamoudi, senior in mechanical engineering; KU EcoHawks.


The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

kunews@ku.edu | (785) 864-3256 | 1314 Jayhawk Blvd., Lawrence, KS 66045

KU Today

Subscribe to our daily newsletter covering research, academics, media coverage, campus news, events & more. Subscribe

Connect

Contact

Related


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 status, parental status, gender identity, gender expression, and genetic information in the university’s programs and activities. Retaliation is also prohibited by university policy. The following persons have been designated to handle inquiries regarding the nondiscrimination policies and are the Title IX coordinators for their respective campuses: Executive Director of the Office of Institutional Opportunity & Access, IOA@ku.edu, 1246 West Campus Road, Room 153A, Lawrence, KS 66045, 785-864-6414, 711 TTY (for the Lawrence, Edwards, Parsons, Yoder, and Topeka campuses); Director, Equal Opportunity Office, Mail Stop 7004, 4330 Shawnee Mission Parkway, Fairway, KS 66205, 913-588-8011, 711 TTY (for the Wichita, Salina, and Kansas City, Kansas, medical center campuses).