Buff Briefs | Environmental Center marks 40th


Environmental Center marks 40th

Among the Earth Day events at the University of Colorado at Boulder, the campus will celebrate the 40th anniversary of its Environmental Center, founded by students as the “Eco-Center” on the inaugural Earth Day in 1970.

An art installation at the southwest corner of the University Memorial Center fountain area commemorating CU-Boulder’s commitment to the environment and sustainability will be dedicated at noon on Earth Day, April 22. The work, commissioned by the CU-Boulder student government and created by local artist Bruce Campbell, uses material salvaged from the 2008 demolition of the Sibell Wolle Fine Arts Building.

The CU Environmental Center was the first of its kind in the nation and helped shape CU-Boulder as a “green” leader among U.S. colleges and universities. For four decades it has provided education on environmental issues, leadership opportunities for students and the development of many sustainable campus operations, such as the nation’s first student-led recycling program, started in 1976.

With the support of the Environmental Center, in 1991 CU-Boulder students became the nation’s first to negotiate prepaid bus passes for all students. In 2000, students also were the nation’s first to vote for the purchase of wind energy credits. Students have been key in planning and staffing a number of environmental events and programs such as the annual Bioneers conference, the Bike Station and Ralphie’s Green Stampede zero-waste program at Folsom Field.

CU lands smart grid funds

The University of Colorado at Boulder has received $2.4 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding from the U.S. Department of Energy to build a smart grid work force training program.

CU plans to use the funds to build a sustainable graduate engineering program with a focus on networking, wireless communications and cybersecurity within electric power systems.

The academic program is designed for students seeking a full master of science degree or a shorter certificate and can be flexibly completed on campus or from any other location online. The award was among nearly $100 million announced for 54 smart grid work force training programs that will help prepare the next generation of workers in the utility and electrical manufacturing industries. The projects will leverage more than $95 million in funding from community colleges, universities, utilities and manufacturers to develop and implement training programs. The programs will train an estimated 30,000 Americans to help modernize the nation’s electrical grid and implement smart grid technologies in communities across the country.

At least $6.7 billion in ARRA funds is expected to come to Colorado through more than 100 different programs. For more information about the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in Colorado, visit www.colorado.gov/recovery.

CU involved in big smash

A group of 17 University of Colorado at Boulder faculty and students involved in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) project in Europe recently helped carry out the most powerful smashing of subatomic particles ever, in the quest to discover the physical conditions immediately following the Big Bang.

In the experiments conducted on March 30 at the 17-mile underground loop facility in Geneva, scientists crashed proton beams together at three and a half times the highest energy levels previously recorded, said CU Professor William Ford, one of the physics department faculty involved in the project. The combined energy level of the collisions was 7 trillion electron volts, Ford said.

Recreating conditions following the Big Bang using the LHC is expected to provide new information about mysterious dark matter, dark energy, gravity and the fundamental laws of physics. The experiments may even shed light on the possibility that other dimensions exist, physicists say.

Sixteen years in the making, the $3.8 billion LHC project involves an estimated 10,000 people and staff from 60 countries. The United States is providing about $530 million, primarily for the LHC detectors, and CU researchers have been involved in the LHC project for the past five years, Ford said.

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