News for employees, April 1, 2009

Education budget moves from House to Senate

The Missouri House of Representatives gave final approval on March 26 to the 13 bills that make up the Fiscal Year 2010 budget. Among them was approval for HB3, the higher education funding bill.

“The good news is that the House’s bill supports funding for higher education at the same level as the last fiscal year and includes no language that would diminish funding for MU Extension,” said Michael Ouart, vice provost and director.

The bill now is in the hands of the Senate where it will be discussed and debated. “It is likely that the Senate will come up with some revisions, and then it will be up to a conference committee to draft a final bill for the governor to sign,” Ouart said. “We will follow the budget’s progress through May 8, the final day for appropriation bills to be passed.”

MU energy center provides opportunity for economic growth

MU researchers worked with the University Power Plant to study the use of corn cobs as an alternative energy source. That work is now part of MU's Center for Sustainable Energy. Cooperative Media Group photo.
MU researchers worked with the University Power Plant to study the use of corncobs as an alternative energy source. That work is now part of MU's Center for Sustainable Energy. Cooperative Media Group photo.

By Kelsey Jackson, MU News Bureau
MU's Center for Sustainable Energy will use the university’s resources to coordinate and develop sustainable, affordable and renewable solutions to help meet the nation’s increasing energy needs and analyze energy policy.

"There is nothing as complex as energy, and 80 percent of energy consumption is a personal choice — driving, eating out, showering, etc.," said Gary Stacey, director of the Center for Sustainable Energy and MSMC Endowed Professor of Soybean Biotechnology in the Christopher S. Bond Life Sciences Center. "The center provides an 'honest-broker' analysis of the issues that underlie the myriad array of complex energy issues."

The Center for Sustainable Energy, a partnership between the MU College of Engineering and the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, focuses on policy, service, research, education and commercialization. More than 70 faculty members are involved in the center, which will encourage collaboration and propose partnerships with Missouri companies.

"For years, MU faculty members have been working on energy-related projects, and now, the center can coordinate these efforts and multiply the effectiveness of the research," said Stacey, who also is the associate director of the National Center for Soybean Biotechnology. "We hope to increase the visibility of energy research at the university and attract federal funding and commercialization."

The center builds on existing programs, including MU Extension, FAPRI, the Economics and Management of Agrobiotechnology Center, CARES and the Truman School of Public Affairs. Some projects of the Center for Sustainable Energy include:

Stacey and Robert Reed, research associate professor of engineering, will speak about the MU Center for Sustainable Energy at the 2009 Missouri Energy Summit April 22-23 in Columbia.

Energy News: Walking the talk on energy conservation

Editor’s note: MU Extension is enhancing its energy education programs through a multidisciplinary effort. Energy News, written by Don Day who coordinates the statewide initiative, will be a monthly feature of MU Extension Insider.

By Don Day, energy extension associate
We are proceeding on our extension energy education program. There are many grant opportunities out there, and we likely will be obtaining some energy programming dollars through them. We have applied for one grant in support of bioenergy workshops throughout the state. We also may receive some support for energy audit programs. We will keep you informed of progress in this area. If you have ideas for programming and need support, please let me know. I would be happy to help find some resources.

Missouri Energy Summit, featuring T. Boone Pickens, April 22-23, Columbia, MO; Click here for details and to register
Walk the Talk

I have always thought that if I am providing educational programs for people and suggesting that they adopt certain practices, then I should be willing to adopt any of those practices that might apply to me. Energy is certainly one of those fields where we can “walk the talk.” I believe that a significant portion of our energy use is a personal decision. We all make those decisions every day.

I hope many of you are looking at your offices and seeing what types of things can be done to save energy and be more environmentally responsible at work. Considerations might be recycling programs, composting food waste, minimizing printing, turning off computers, etc. Ways to save energy might include adjusting the thermostat in your office, minimizing mileage by reducing trips, carpooling, etc.

If you have implemented ways of saving energy either at work or at home and would like to share them with me, I would appreciate it. We could develop some stories of how we are “walking the talk.” That will add strength to our educational programming.

Success Story

Last fall, Barb Buffaloe, human environmental sciences extension associate, made a presentation to a group of low-income people in Columbia. Barb presented simple ideas on saving energy in the home. She particularly mentioned things you can do in an apartment or rental home. The program was only about 30 minutes in length. A few months later, one of the participants told me she went home and did the things Barb had suggested. She turned down her thermostat. She unplugged appliances like VCRs that use electrical power even when they are turned off. She said, “Now if I come into my home and one of those lights is on, I don’t go in because I know someone has been in there.” Most importantly, she said, “I have saved $20 a month on my electric bill.”

This may not seem like a lot of money to some of us, but to low-income people, it amounts to a significant percent of their income. Barb would be glad to share her program outline if you want to present it to groups you work with. If you have similar success stories, please share them with me.

New publication helps families through tough economy

Solutions for Better Living in Tough Economic Times, a publication from University of Missouri Extension

Solutions to Better Living in These Tough Economic Times, published by HES Extension, offers money-saving advice for families. Rural counties will receive 20 copies of the magazine through the Friday packet, urban counties will receive 40 copoes. Additional free copies will be available to MU Extension centers and campus departments while supplies last from Extension Publications.

A limited number also will be available for sale to the public through Extension Publications. The cost to the public will be $4 to cover the cost of mailing.

Clock ticks down for clerical award nominations

Regional faculty and staff members can submit nominations for the county clerical recognition awards through April 16. Awards are presented in four categories ― Rookie of the Year, Junior Clerical, Senior Clerical and Use of Technology. All county-paid office support staff members are eligible for the awards, which include cash prizes. Clerical Awards

Laura Kalambokidis.
Laura Kalambokidis

Sequel to public value ISE set for April 22

University of Missouri Extension has organized an ISE for Legislative Day, April 22. MU Extension faculty encouraged to come to the event and bring council members and program volunteers.

While volunteers visit with legislators and staff, faculty will participate in “Building MU Extension’s Public Value, Part II," from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Truman Building.

Laura Kalambokidis, associate professor of applied economics at the University of Minnesota, will return to Missouri for the seminar, which will build on the February ISE.

Registration for Legislative Day is a two-step process. First, individuals should register for Legislative Day activities and reserve meals through UMEA. Box lunches will be delivered to the Truman Building for ISE participants. The registration deadline is April 10.

Second, faculty and staff must register for the ISE through WebApps. By registering, mileage and meal expenses will be reimbursed, and participation will be recorded as part of your professional development record. Carpooling is encouraged.

Mariesa Crow
Mariesa Crow

Building a power grid for new technologies

Providing the nation’s energy needs of the future will mean solving problems created in the past. The country’s aging energy infrastructure and a power grid that was designed a century ago will have to be resolved before we can move forward. If not corrected, all the new energy technology on the horizon will be all dressed up with no place to go.

In this audio feature, radio producer Debbie Johnson with the Cooperative Media Group talks with Mariesa Crow, Missouri S&T Finley Professor of Electrical Engineering.

Connect with retirees
at spring meetings

University of Missouri Extension retirees meet twice a year at locations around the state. Current employees are invited to join the gatherings this spring. Meetings begin April 15 in Columbia.

The schedule also includes April 17 in Sedalia, April 22 in Troy, April 24 in Jackson, May 7 in Lamar, May 8 in Springfield and May 14 in Gallatin.

For details, contact Barbara Casady, extension development director.


MU Extension Insider is published on the first and 15th of each month for MU Extension faculty and staff. Send comments to Editor, Eileen Yager.