Jeff Severin, Director of the Center for Sustainability at Kansas University, got a lot of questions from Lawrence Central Rotarians this week about the new parking lot on campus that has pavement developed to reduce heat and to allow rain water to flow through it. Not only is the lot an experiment to test the permeable pavement, it also features trees and other landscaping, LED lighting, and accessibility enhancements that are cutting edge, according to Severin.
Jeff sees KU’s campus as a “living lab” for sustainability. At its core, sustainability is respect for all relationships that build community. His small staff works to foster sustainability awareness in all aspects of campus living including administration, buildings and grounds, curriculum and research, student life, energy, waste management, transportation, and procurement. They encourage innovative projects like the parking lot as well as the research that will determine the success of its features.
Other sustainability initiatives at KU include implementing a method of quantifying sustainability factors using the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS). Jeff leads a Tree Advisory Board that develops policy, plans work priorities, and raises funds to replace trees on campus. He chairs Bike KU, a group encourages student biking by providing information about bike maintenance, parking, safety, and theft prevention as well as by coordinating with the City of Lawrence rideability initiatives. Another project this fall was to oversee the collection of waste at the football games on campus in order to recycle and compost in an effort to reduce the amount of garbage brought to the landfill.
Cummings, who said he was an army brat who grew up near an army base in Missouri, came to Lawrence in 1974 to start a retail business. He has dealt with differences in his store’s location (now at 833 Massachusetts ), ups and downs in the economy, the dot.com bubble and a downtown that is constantly changing.
Positives include the great labor pool of students in Lawrence who have worked for him before going on to careers of their own, having a good banker and joining the Small Business Administration. He said he has always been involved in community activities and believes in running a hands-on business. “When you’re in business you’re constantly learning,” he said. “You never quit going to school.”
The learning has involved adopting enormous changes in technology. Blaine Allmond, an artist and designer, who has worked with Cummings for the last 10 years, demonstrated a computer technique using a T-Spline Timelapse Matrix 7 computer which creates three dimensional models of his jewelry designs. These computers create wax models, although, Allmond said, some of the newer computers use plastic.
“I find these changes positive,” Cummings said. “They make being in business exciting.”
Lawrence Central Rotary Club spent a chilly Dec 7th Saturday ringing bells for The Lawrence Salvation Armyon Mass Street in Lawrence.
Club Members pulled double duty that morning as they also passed out programs to those who braved the cold to watch the Lawrence Old-Fashioned Christmas Parade.
Thanks to everyone who came out and helped!
Wednesday December 4th Lawrence Central Rotarian and their guests held our annual tradition of a holiday lunch in the Eldridge Hotel’s Crystal Ballroom for an hour of holiday cheer and fellowship.
We were lucky enough to be provided a short concert by the Lawrence High School Chorale with some acapella music. As always a wonderful time was had by everyone.
During the Lawrence City Commission meeting on Tuesday, December 3, commissioners will receive a presentation of the Roadmap to a Healthier Douglas County: 2013-2018 Douglas County Community Health Plan.
LiveWell was involved in the development and implementation of two of the five priority areas of the plan: access to healthy foods and improving rates of physical activity. The Roadmap also addresses mental health, access to health services and addressing poverty and lack of jobs.
The following members of the Community Health Plan Steering Committee will make the presentation:
- David Ambler, Lawrence-Douglas County Health Board
- Erika Dvorske, United Way of Douglas County
- Dan Partridge, Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department
The plan has been adopted by the Douglas County Commission and Eudora City Commission. The plan will also be considered by the Baldwin City Council tonight. Lecompton council members are expected to consider the plan at their meeting on December 16.
Please consider attending the Lawrence City Commission meeting tomorrow evening, December 3, to show your support. The meeting begins at 6:35 p.m. and will be held at Lawrence City Commission Meeting Room, First Floor, City Hall, 6 East 6th Street, Lawrence.