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In Focus: 1/15/2010

A weekly newsletter published by the Communications Office

Top News

SOUTHWESTERN SIGNS AGREEMENT WITH CITY OF GEORGETOWN TO RECEIVE 100 PERCENT OF ITS ENERGY FROM WIND POWER

Southwestern has signed an agreement with the City of Georgetown that will enable it to meet all its electric needs for the next 18 years from wind power.

The agreement makes Southwestern the first university in Texas to have all of its electricity supplied by wind power and one of fewer than 20 universities in the country to have a totally “green” source of power, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Officials from Southwestern and the city signed the contract Jan. 12. The initial contract is for five years and is renewable through 2028. The agreement establishes a fixed energy cost for Southwestern that is competitive with the city’s standard electric rates.

Southwestern President Jake B. Schrum said the agreement will help Southwestern toward its long-term goal of being carbon neutral, which it promised to work toward last February when he signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. This document formally commits campuses to eliminate their greenhouse gas emissions over time and educate students about climate neutrality.

“This is an historic moment for Southwestern,” Schrum said. “We hope Southwestern will be an inspiration to other universities to advance sustainability.” He noted that Southwestern students were the ones who initiated the conversation with city officials, and after that, both the city and the university worked to bring the idea to reality.

Read the rest of the story here.

Events

TENOR SCOT CAMERON TO SING EARLY MUSIC JAN. 21

Tenor Scot Cameron and pianist David Utterback will give a performance of early music on Thursday, Jan. 21, at 7 p.m. in the Alma Thomas Theater.

The program will feature pieces from Bach’s “Magnificat,” Handel’s “Judas Maccaebeus,” and Vivaldi’s “Gloria” and “Stabat Mater.” It is free and open to the public.

E.B.O.N.Y SPONSORS PROGRAM FOR BLACK HISTORY MONTH JAN. 21

E.B.O.N.Y. is presenting a talk by Angela Davis on Thursday, Jan. 21, at 5:30 p.m. in the McCombs Ballrooms. The public is invited to attend.

Davis is a political activist, writer, philosopher and currently a tenured professor in the History of Consciousness Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is known internationally for her work to combat all forms of oppression in the United States and abroad.

In 1970, Davis was arrested on false charges and was the subject of a police search that drove her underground. During her imprisonment, a massive international “Free Angela Davis” campaign was organized, leading to her acquittal in 1972.

Today, Davis remains an advocate of prison abolition and has developed a powerful critique of racism in the criminal justice system. She is a member of the Advisory Board of the Prison Activist Resource Center, and currently is working on a comparative study of women’s imprisonment in the United States, the Netherlands and Cuba. During the last 25 years, Davis has lectured in all 50 United States, as well as in Africa, Europe, the Caribbean and the former Soviet Union. Her articles and essays have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, and she is the author of five books.

FOUNTAINWOOD OBSERVATORY TO HOST PUBLIC VIEWING NIGHT JAN. 22

The Fountainwood Observatory will host its first public viewing night for spring 2010 on Friday, Jan. 22, from 8-10:30 p.m. 

The evening will begin with a near first quarter moon high in the Southwestern sky and tiny but bright Mars in the Eastern sky. Between these two will appear the “Winter Hexagon,” a colorful ring of the stars Sirius, Rigel, Aldebaran, Capella, Castor, Pollux and Procyon. Centered in this will be the orange-red supergiant star Betelguese, a star so big that it could fit the orbit of Jupiter in it.

Fountainwood Viewing Nights are always free and open to the public. The observatory is located on the northeast side of campus adjacent to the Rockwell Baseball Field (see #6 on the campus map at http://www.southwestern.edu/map). Faculty members from the Physics Department at Southwestern as well as observers from the Williamson County Astronomy Club will be on hand to guide viewing. 

Upcoming public viewing nights will be held on Feb. 19, March 5 and April 23.  

For weather-related updates about viewing nights, call the Fountainwood Observatory hotline at 512-863-1242.

Media Coverage

The Williamson County Sun ran a story about the Southwestern students and professors who staged “Angels in America” in Macedonia.

KXAN, News8Austin, the Austin American-Statesman, the Williamson County Sun, Community Impact, the Austin Business Journal, University Business and the Abilene Reporter-News covered the announcement that Southwestern will now be getting all of its energy from wind power. Watch the KXAN story here. Watch the News8 story here. Read the Statesman story here. Read the Community Impact story here. Read the Austin Business Journal story here. Read the University Business article here. Read the Reporter-News story here.

The story was picked up by the Associated Press and ran in numerous other media outlets across the country.

Philosophy Professor Phil Hopkins was quoted in a story about the television show “Lost” that appeared in Entertainment Weekly. Read the story here.

The Williamson County Sun ran items on the upcoming Martin Luther King Community Dinner, the Jesse Daniel Ames Lecture, and the visit of trombonist Abbie Conant and composer William Osborne.

Notables

Bill O’Brien, associate professor of physics, and senior physics major Connor Hanrahan, presented a poster titled “Increased Energy Return from Solar Panel with MPPT Charge Controller” at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco last month. The presentation was based on their research undertaken in June 2009 in Juneau, Alaska, with support of a faculty/student research grant. It examined the applicability of a new class of charge controllers to govern circuits in solar-powered research equipment. The new MPPT charge controllers will soon be tested on glaciers in the Juneau Icefield in scientific instrument stations maintained by the Environmental Science Program at the University of Alaska Southeast under the direction of 1994 Southwestern graduate Matt Heavner.