Research Identifies Communities at Risk of Adverse Clean Energy Effects

Researchers at Indiana University have developed a new method for identifying communities that may be negatively affected by clean energy policies designed to hasten the move from fossil fuels to more environmentally friendly solutions.

Read the original article from News at IU.

Renewable and sustainable sources can lead to reduced greenhouse gas emissions, cleaner air and opportunities for economic growth. But the change from fossil fuel to new energy is not always easy to make and does not impact all communities – or individuals – equally.

“The energy transition will bring many benefits to society,” said Sanya Carley, an associate professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IU Bloomington. “But the benefits, as well as the costs, will not be dispersed proportionately across society. My co-authors and I embarked on this study because we believe that it is important to study the distribution of benefits and burdens and to help the policy- and decision-maker community identify those populations that are most vulnerable.”

Carley is one of the authors of “A framework for evaluating geographic disparities in energy transition vulnerability,” which was published online today by the journal Nature Energy.

She and her co-authors set out to find a way to determine which populations in which areas of the country are at the highest risk for negative consequences from environmentally beneficial policies. By adapting a tool known as the Vulnerability Scoping Diagram, they were able to identify the geographic areas and individuals that can be defined as being vulnerable.

Often these vulnerable communities are places where fossil fuels represent a large portion of the local economy or where many individuals are not capable of paying for the increased cost of new, cleaner energy. Pinpointing the populations at the highest risk for negative socioeconomic consequences will allow them to be targeted for programs and assistance to help limit or eliminate those unintended effects, the researchers say.

Previously, the Vulnerability Scoping Diagram has been used to determine the vulnerability of communities in the context of natural hazards, disaster management and climate change. The IU research represents the first time it has been applied to a social science setting.

“It is important to document adverse effects of policies, not in an attempt to undermine their credibility or efficacy, but to better understand their limitations and unintended consequences,” said David Konisky, also an author of the paper and an associate professor in the IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

In one example of using the tool, the researchers examine county-by-county vulnerability to renewable portfolio standards, in which states require utilities to generate a certain percentage of electricity from renewable sources. While not all states have adopted such standards, the analysis finds the highest vulnerability in some counties in Texas, California, Hawaii and New York.

Additional authors of the study include SPEA doctoral student Michelle Graff and Tom Evans, former professor of geography in the IU College of Arts and Sciences and now a professor in the School of Geography and Development at the University of Arizona.

Reflecting on Religion and Philanthropy

Giving to religion makes up a third of all giving in America, and over half of all Americans say their religious or spiritual values motivate their philanthropic giving. If this is the case, why do religion and money remain such taboo topics in our society?

The full philanthropic impact of religious communities goes far beyond finances. The story of religious philanthropy speaks to when, why, and how religious institutions engage their broader communities in volunteering, advocacy, and cultivating a civil society.

Is philanthropy primarily meant to take care of those within one’s own community or the larger society? Does philanthropy provide for basic needs or promote institutional change? Should religious giving develop an individual’s character or shape the morality of society, or are such purposes off limits in a pluralist society?

Two leading historians will share their reflections on what we can learn from the intersections of religion and philanthropy in the past and what issues might define the topic into the future: Jim Hudnut Buemler, Anne Potter Wilson Distinguished Professor of American Religious History at Vanderbilt University, and David Hammack, Hiram C. Haydn Professor of History at Case Western University. The event will be moderated by David P. King and Philip Goff.

This public talk will be held on Thursday, May 17, at 5:30pm, at the Damenvervein Room of the Athenaeum, 410 E. Michigan Street.

IUPUI Welcoming Campus Initiative Project and Hospital Habits

Godwin Charles Ogbeide

Hundreds of IUPUI faculty, staff, administrators and students learned about the value of a smile, an expression of gratitude and kindness, at seminar luncheons that were part of a project funded by the Welcoming Campus Initiative.

Read the original article from News at IU‘s Rich Schneider.

The last of the luncheons this academic year took place April 25 at the Campus Center. The luncheons were free and open to faculty, staff, administrators, and students.

The Welcoming Campus Initiative provides internal grants of up to $25,000, with a match by the proposing unit, to support implementation of projects related to the overarching themes of communicating who we are, creating a vibrant and inclusive student experience, designing an accessible, inspiring urban campus, engaging and integrating with the community, and investing in faculty and staff.

Titled “The Habits of Hospitable People,” the luncheon seminars were led by Godwin Charles Ogbeide, an associate professor in the Department of Tourism, Conventions, and Event Management in the School of Physical Education and Tourism Management and director of the Events and Tourism Institute.

With his research focus on leadership strategy and the science of hospitality, he explores physiological changes that occur in people as the result of hospitable actions. Ogbeide is particularly aware of the importance of actions that make the campus welcoming. During the luncheon, Ogbeide shared scientific findings about the physiological impact of hospitable actions and discussed verbal and nonverbal hospitality communications.

Those hospitable habits include acknowledgement, friendliness, gratitude, empathy, and kindness, Ogbeide said. Acknowledgement can occur in several ways, including with a smile and eye contact, he said: “When you see me smile, don’t you already feel comfortable and welcomed?” When acknowledgement occurs, the reaction is, “I can talk to this person,” Ogbeide said.

“How often do we show gratitude to one another, to our guests, to visitors and students?” he said. “If you thank a student or visitor for coming to IUPUI, the culture changes. Word of mouth will be good. People will say, ‘They’re nice at that university, and I want my son or daughter to go there.'”

Designed to help make IUPUI a welcoming campus, the luncheon seminars themselves were welcomed. The other part of the project that was approved by the Welcoming Campus Initiative was to develop IUPUI Welcome-365, a user-friendly mobile app to enhance orientation at IUPUI and navigation of campus as well as generate a welcoming feeling.

With the app, students have the campus in the palm of their hand, Ogbeide said. Its features include an interactive campus map that can guide students to buildings and parking; a university calendar and personal calendar; and access to IUPUI academic, financial, and health resources.

The app removes challenges of not knowing where buildings are located or how or who to ask for help, Ogbeide said. “IUPUI is a large campus, but we can make this big place the size of their phone.”

Author to Speak on Family Challenges at Commencement

A’Lelia Bundles

Fresh from practically defeating the Indiana Pacers by himself in the playoffs, Lebron James will ease some of the pain by helping pay tribute to one of Indianapolis’ most renowned women.

Read the original article from News at IU‘s Tim Brouk.

The star forward for the Cleveland Cavaliers has been attached as an executive producer, along with Oscar-winning actress Octavia Spencer, on a future Netflix series focusing on Madam C. J. Walker, the namesake for the Madam Walker Theatre Center near IUPUI and the nation’s first African-American female self-made millionaire. James and Spencer are connected through the William Morris talent agency.

“What I can say is that the writing process is tentatively scheduled to start during the summer,” said Walker’s great-great-granddaughter A’Lelia Bundles via telephone from Washington, D.C. “Once the writers are assembled, they’ll map out the arc of the story. I’m a consultant on the series. If all goes well and the planets align properly, I will be involved periodically while they are developing the storyline.”

The series is based on Bundles’ best-selling 2001 book, “On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C. J. Walker,” which follows Walker’s life from a Southern cotton fields worker to a poor washer-woman in St. Louis to the employer of thousands of African-American women in her own hair care and cosmetics firm, Madam C. J. Walker Manufacturing Company, based in downtown Indianapolis. The book was optioned by Zero Gravity Management in 2016.

Bundles is finishing up another book, “The Joy Goddess of Harlem: A’Lelia Walker and the Harlem Renaissance,” based on her great-grandmother and namesake, who was the daughter of Madam Walker. A’Lelia Walker was a major cultural influencer in New York while representing the family business in the Big Apple.

As guest speaker at IUPUI’s commencement on May 12 at Lucas Oil Stadium, Bundles will talk about those women and her own career as a former ABC and NBC news producer and journalist. Several thousand students and their families will be in attendance.

A North Central High School graduate raised in Indianapolis on Grandview Drive, Bundles received degrees from Harvard College and Columbia University before settling in Washington, D.C. Her father, S. Henry Bundles, was president of the Center for Leadership Development in Indianapolis and now lives in Florida. Her late mother, A’Lelia Mae Perry Bundles, was vice president of the Walker Company while being involved in Indianapolis politics.

From Humanities: Environmental Prophet Rachel Carson Cultivated a Culture of Wonder

More than a half century after the publication of Silent Spring, Rachel Carson’s book about the ecological dangers of pesticides, she endures as a writer few Americans recall with a smile.

Silent Spring, which drew its name from the prospect of a poisoned world in which no birds sing, sparked the modern environmental movement and the banning of DDT. It was a profound and important book, although not, because of its subject matter, a fun read. In spite of what it asked of readers—or perhaps because of it—Silent Spring became a runaway best-seller, cementing Carson’s place in literary history. She’s fixed in the public mind as a kind of hair-shirted prophet, full of dire but compelling predictions about the fate of the earth if humanity doesn’t change its ways.

But Carson (1907–1964) had a lighter, lyrical side, as Library of America has reminded readers with Silent Spring & Other Writings on the Environment, a new selection of her prose.

About Silent Spring, many already know. But the other writings in this LOA project, including letters, speeches, and articles, reveal a writer who could be hopeful, happy, even funny.

[read more]

The Human Library at IUPUI: Educational & Thought-provoking

The Human Library at IUPUI, a campus-funded Welcoming Campus Initiative, was designed to provide a safe place for conversations around difficult subjects and help advance understanding among a community of diverse people.

Read the original article from News at IUPUI.

Responses to the event, which took place April 2 in the Campus Center, captured the positive reactions of both “books” and “readers,” said Andrea Copeland, associate professor and chair, Department of Library and Information Science at the Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI, and lead organizer of the event.

Among responses from participants: “This was a wonderful experience! Loved it!” “It’s wonderful to take the time to slow down, connect and learn from one another.” “A great experience and opportunity to learn, to listen, and to be introspective.” “Unexpected, educational, thought-provoking, great experience overall!” “Excellent opportunity to engage in dialog and to learn about people’s lives. I learned so much, thank you!”

The IUPUI Human Library featured people as “books” who could be checked out by readers. “Usually, the knowledge vessel is a book. In this case, the knowledge vessel was a human,” Copeland said.

About 30 people volunteered to be books, including a recovering addict, an individual who was a survivor of the 1994 Rwanda genocide, a person who was overweight and chose to have bariatric surgery, a rape survivor, a person who became deaf at age 30 as a result of a neurological disorder, a transgender individual, and a Palestinian immigrant who is Muslim.

“Conversations people get to have around difficult topics is what’s so valuable about a human library. It really creates a safe place for that,” Copeland said.

The event drew people from Columbus, Muncie, Franklin College, and Eli Lilly and Company who want to have human libraries in their community and came to IUPUI to witness the one here, Copeland said.

As the number of human libraries in Central Indiana grows, Copeland said, it would be possible to build a book depot, a sort of shared library, making it easier to facilitate hosting human library events and enable really good books to reach more people.

‘Hash It Out’ Podcast Explores & Debates Social Issues

Social Justice Education scholars Judith Atibil, left, and C. Elizabeth Duff, right. Photo by Tim Brouk, IU Communications.

IUPUI’s newest podcast tackles serious social issues while showcasing its hosts’ passion for debating topics like reproductive rights, incarceration, and abortion.

Read the original article from News at IUPUI‘s Tim Brouk.

Judith Atibil and C. Elizabeth Duff show good chemistry on “Hash It Out,” which debuted in October on The Social Justice Education scholars create an outline for each episode. Some portions are scripted, but there is also room for spontaneous debate.

Last summer, the students did not foresee themselves as podcast hosts, let alone gaining hundreds of listeners after the program got bumped up to iTunes status. Duff and Atibil only met a couple times before recording their first full episode, “Discrimination in the Doctor’s Office.”

“We were both so nervous and trying not to show it,” Duff said. “It was nerve-wracking. But now we love it.”

The final “Hash It Out” episode for the academic year dropped Friday, April 20, with a focus on labor unions to commemorate the Ludlow massacre of April 20, 1914. The podcast is expected to return for 2018-19, but the students aren’t sure if they will return as hosts. No matter who is at the mic, “Hash It Out” has brought a new element to the varied programs Social Justice Education promotes.

“It brings the work of Social Justice to the virtual realm, especially since the rest of our programming is all physical,” said Atibil, a junior studying public safety management. “It gives people more access to us.”

Atibil and Duff’s studio is anywhere they can meet on campus due to heavy spring semester class schedules, multiple part-time jobs, and the numerous hours dedicated to various other Social Justice Education initiatives. Duff utilizes a voice-recording application on her iPhone to capture each episode. The file syncs up with Google Drive. The content is then downloaded to Duff’s laptop computer, where she edits each episode on Audacity. The episodes are posted about twice a month and clock in between 30-45 minutes, on average.

Moving the podcast outside of a campus communications studio lab to different parts of campus made the student hosts more relaxed, they said. “We are both flexible and not linear. We needed the mobility,” Duff said.

While both students share a passion for social issues, their viewpoints aren’t identical. The “Are Prisons Obsolete?” post in February offered lively discussion. “We’re pretty liberal, but Elizabeth is an abolitionist whereas I’m a reformist,” Atibil explained.

The topics are brainstormed at the beginning of each semester, concentrating on hot issues in the news as well as subjects of personal interest. The students attach reference material and articles of inspiration to each episode for their listeners. “It’s really fun to sit down and just blurt it out to each other,” Duff said.

Although she is graduating in May, Duff will be returning to IUPUI as a graduate student in museum studies, and she sees the podcast continuing and growing in audience and accessibility. Transcripts for the hearing-impaired are a goal. She also hopes “Hash It Out” will receive more audience interaction and feedback.

Both students are proud of what they’ve established. Passion for the issues made up for the lack of podcasting experience.

“I think it’s one of the coolest experiences I’ve had,” Duff said. “I just showed up with no knowledge. I get sappy about it, but we’ve built this program from the ground up. We started from not knowing how to record, where to record, how to edit, how to do anything. Now we’re on iTunes and have hundreds of listeners. I love it, and I had no idea I’d enjoy it as much as I do. It’s my baby now.”

Massive Work of Sentient Art Unveiled

Philip Beesley reaches up to activate sensors in “Amatria.” Photo by Amelia Herrick and Chris Meyer, IU Communications.

A living, protected space of vales, canopies, and membranes composed of hundreds of thousands of microprocessors, prototype cells, and gently swaying Mylar fronds.

This is the language used by Canadian artist and architect Philip Beesley to describe the enormous, seemingly living sculpture, “Amatria,” recently installed under the sunlit glass atrium on the fourth floor of Luddy Hall, the new home to most of the departments and programs in the IU School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering.

View the original article by News at IU‘s Kevin Fryling.

The school officially unveiled the work of “sentient art” before a crowded audience at sunset April 11. The reveal, which featured flashing lights, dramatic music and comments from the artist and school leaders, took place during LuddyFest, a weeklong celebration that culminated in the building’s dedication ceremony April 13.

“Just like the Sample Gates are iconic of IU Bloomington, we expect ‘Amatria’ — with its unique combination of art, computing, architecture and technology — to become a symbol of our school and ‘renaissance engineering’ at IU,” said IU Distinguished Professor Katy Börner, who played the key role in bringing Beesley’s work to campus after meeting him at a conference in 2015.

It’s that vision of engineering — as a field that blends scientific and technical skill with creative thought and a foundation in the arts and humanities — that attracted Beesley to IU. An internationally known architect whose work has been featured at the prestigious Venice Biennale, as well as many other sites across the globe, Beesley is renowned for the use of cutting-edge technologies and materials — sensor arrays, 3-D printed materials and Internet-connected objects — to create enormous works of art that gently move or react as people pass near or through them.

“When people walk into the environment of this kind of sculpture, some reactions are quite anxious,” Beesley said. “But then the work starts to respond back — with small ripples of vibration and movement or gentle rustling sounds and billowing light — and those reactions quickly turn into a kind of curious and wondering conversation. People are invited to simply explore [the art] and discover their own relationships with it.”

During the past few years, Beesley has paid several visits to IU Bloomington to participate in behind-the-scenes preparations related to suspending a high-tech work of art composed of hundreds of thousands of custom parts from the glass atrium atop a four-story building. Most recently, he and colleagues from his Toronto-based studio were on-site to oversee the work of IU students and community volunteers, who played a key role in the sculpture’s creation and installation. IU students helped assemble the sculpture’s many highly intricate physical parts, wire electrical components and code systems that control how the work interacts with its environment.

Among the volunteers was Clara Fridman, a junior in the School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering who participated in several sessions assembling various small pieces of the sculpture. A fan of Beesley’s work, she also took the opportunity to hear him and members of his studio speak at previous several visiting lectures at IU.

“I was thrilled to contribute to this amazing piece for our school,” she said. “Each small part of ‘Amatria’ is so complex that it takes the work of many people. Everyone was very helpful, and there were so many different tasks we could always switch things up. The whole experience was a great exercise in teamwork.”

Katherine Shanahan, a graduate student in the IU School of Education, also volunteered on “Amatria,” assembling the plastic “whiskers” with fluid-filled glass bulbs that hang in the work’s “grotto” area.

“I was excited to volunteer because I’m very interested in the intersection of art and technology in my graduate studies,” she said. “The notion of sentient and responsive architecture that mimics natural, biological and chemical systems is fascinating.”

By playing a role in the sculpture’s creation, Beesley said, IU students gained experience in wireless technologies, robotics, artificial intelligence, sensors and other cutting-edge subjects. His studio has also designed software developer kits so students can create external components that interact with the art or visualize its activity.

Börner added that “Amatria” will convert the fourth floor of Luddy Hall into an “Internet of Things laboratory” as students learn to program devices that wirelessly communicate with the sculpture’s light, motion and sound sensors and the loudspeaker and motor actuators. By working on these projects, students will gain hands-on experience writing code that utilizes data from wireless-enabled devices — a highly applicable skill in today’s internet-connected world.

In addition to creating an artistic focal point for the building, the position of “Amatria” at the top of the central staircase in Luddy Hall is significant since the fourth floor houses the school’s intelligent systems engineering program. A hub of technology and creatively, the floor is also home to a large “maker space” with 3-D printers, circuit board soldering stations and other advanced fabrication tools. The sculpture’s presence in the center of the action will serve as a continual reminder of program’s guiding mission to create the “engineers of tomorrow,” fluent in art, science and technology.

“IU Bloomington is a leader in arts and humanities education, and the IU School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering is inventing, implementing and optimizing the next generation of intelligent systems, such as smart cars, health devices and brain interfaces,” Börner said. “We hope the magnificent architecture of Luddy Hall, in combination with ‘Amatria,’ will inspire arts and humanities scholars from campus and beyond to visit our school, and fully engage with its faculty, staff and students.”

Breaking It Down: What Can I Recycle at IUPUI?

Jessica Davis, Director of IUPUI’s Office of Sustainability. Photo by Tim Brouk, IU Communications.

In support of Earth Month and Earth Day, Jessica Davis, Director of IUPUI’s Office of Sustainability, has been extremely busy.

But she wasn’t too busy to perform a “mini dumpster dive” in the Campus Center. After the April 13 lunch rush, Davis chose a few bags of trash to monitor IUPUI’s recycling prowess. Efforts are trending positively, but there is still much work to be done.

Read the original article from News at IUPUI‘s Tim Brouk.

“Our campus recycling has gone up, and the total waste generation has gone down. That’s a good thing,” Davis reported. “That being said, we’re still far under the national average.”

In 2016-17, IUPUI’s recycle rate was about 20 percent, while leading peer institutions check in at 40 to 50 percent. The national average is about 30 percent, according to Davis.

The Campus Center serves as a hub for the Office of Sustainability’s several programs. Displays on the first floor show what can and cannot be deposited in the several blue bins near dining areas. Still, as Davis’ inspection proved, students, staff, and faculty members are still unsure about what to recycle.

IUPUI and Marion County have unique recycling do’s and don’ts. Items that couldn’t be recycled 10 years ago are now fair game, but then there are items that seem recyclable but aren’t. Like a cardboard box or a compost heap, Davis breaks it down for you.

Pizza boxes are recyclable, even if Papa John’s got a little overzealous on the toppings. Having remnants of cheese, grease, and crumbs does not disqualify a box from being recycled at IUPUI.

Discarded plastics are a persistent problem on both land and sea. They are also the bane of recycling efforts at IUPUI. Plastic straws and utensils are too small for machines in Marion County, while plastic bags are known to clog up the systems.

“All of our recyclables that go into a single bin get sent to a material recovery facility,” Davis explained. “All of the materials are separated, but those soft plastics — like plastic bags and plastic wrap — can shut down operations and have to be pulled out. The bins for just plastic bags from grocery stores are processed separately and bailed up for reuse. So, we don’t want plastic bags in our bins.”

Davis recommends employing reusable bags and dropping off any plastic bags in those bins at area supermarkets.

IUPUI and Marion County recycle more plastics than other Indiana municipalities, Davis said. Look on the bottle or container for the piece’s digits. “As long as it’s a number 1 through 7, it’s recyclable here on campus,” she said. “Plastics number 1 through 7 are usually rigid plastics like beverage bottles and containers.”

However, there are still products that are unable to be recycled. Most crinkly snack bags and wrappers are made with a blend of plastics that defy current recycling means.

Concerning coffee, from the lids to the to-go cups to the little sleeves that keep your fingers unburned, your entire caffeinating experience can be recycled.

Davis said “information deficit” is the No. 1 problem with the low recycling rate, followed by Indianapolis’ notoriety as a poor curbside recycling city. Bins are everywhere at IUPUI, but education is still needed.

One initiative spreading across campus, known as “deskside recycling,” could significantly increase rates. The bins that fit under desks and cubicles of faculty and staff offer a larger space for recyclables and a smaller space for trash. These receptacles are in 20 IUPUI buildings and will be in all of them by 2019.

“When you’re in an office, 90 percent of what you throw away is recyclable,” Davis said. “This bin setup matches the waste stream you create – larger recycle bin for more recyclables.”

From Chronicle: Is This the Hardest Course in the Humanities?

For most of my professional life, the future of the humanities was a conceptual matter. That’s no longer the case. When enrollments are down, majors are down, funding and jobs are down, adjuncts are up, and departments are being closed, abstract debates over which new theory or interdisciplinary vision is on the rise don’t much count. When a formation as renowned as the Humanities Center at the Johns Hopkins University is proposed for shutdown (it later was saved in modified form), we know that the prosperity of the humanities doesn’t rest with people at the top.

No, it depends on the people at the bottom, undergraduates who vote with their feet. If an English department’s chairman tells the dean, “We’ve got to hire someone in this new area of ____,” the dean replies, “But you can’t even get your existing courses half-filled.” If, however, a parent calls and grumbles, “I’m paying lots of money, and my daughter can’t get into any of the English classes she wants,” well, that calls for action.

It’s a situation that few humanities professors are equipped to overcome. Graduate school and assistant professorships don’t impel you to attract freshmen and sophomores. Instead you learn how to impress senior professors. But right now, nothing is more crucial than the preferences of 19-year-olds.

[read more]