Another step in the evolution of the Central District at the University of Kansas is now complete. On the site of the old Burge Union, which opened in 1979, sits a brand-new building: a new Burge that can host events of any size and adds accommodations that make KU a more welcoming, inclusive campus.
“The big goal was to have a flexible conference space,” said JJ O’Toole-Curran, senior associate director at KU Memorial Union. “Student Senate wanted to have offices for student services, and the union wanted a flexible conference space with a large kitchen downstairs to serve as the catering hub for this side of campus.”
The focus on inclusivity continued with the additions of a lactation room and a Wudu/Ablution room. Reflection rooms for meditation or prayer by students of all faiths are also available.
“These facilities were important to Student Senate to make our campus more accessible for our students,” said Sharon Leatherman, assistant director of building and event services. “Very few unions have everything we have here.”
The Forum, with a Skyfold wall down.
The Burge Union’s central room is the Forum, the largest single-function room in Lawrence with over 10,800 square feet. For comparison, the Kansas Union ballroom is 7,000 square feet.
The room can be divided into four separate rooms with Skyfold soundproof walls that unfold from the ceiling. Student groups can reserve facilities for free, with reduced rates available for staff and faculty.
A Roasterie Coffee and Hawk Shop convenience store sells grab-and-go food for students.
A seating area in the main entrance offers a view of Allen Fieldhouse.
A “Quiet Zone,” where students can study in total silence.
Study pods, recently added in the Kansas Union as well, line the windows in a hallway.
Slawson Hall hosted a formal dedication ceremony for the two buildings on April 25, where Chancellor Girod shared remarks. Other speakers included with Robert Goldstein, provost’s special adviser for campus development; Dale Seuferling, president of KU Endowment, and Bryan Rodriguez-Colon, a graduate student in geology.
“The University of Kansas aspires to make discoveries that change the world — and the Earth, Energy & Environment Center positions KU researchers to do exactly that in areas related to energy, natural resources and the environment,” Girod said. “Thanks to these new facilities, the university will continue to be at the forefront of efforts to address challenges and create opportunities that shape our society for years to come.”
Members of the Lawrence community are invited to come see the building themselves at an opening celebration from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, May 5. The event is free and includes activities for children and adults:
A rock pile where children can search for stones and fossils to keep, with geologists on hand to identify them
An augmented reality sandbox for participants to create models of geologic events and features like floods, landslides and lakes
Demonstrations of the new state-of-the-art lab equpiment
An exhibit of core samples, a cola-fueled volcano, showings of “Jurassic Park” and more
Maps will be available for self-guided tours. Guided tours will also take place to show the inner workings of the facility.
KU Parking & Transit has partnered with VeoRide to launch KU Bike Share, a new program that allows the KU and Lawrence community to rent a bicycle using a smartphone.
Renting is simple: Find the nearest available bike using the VeoRide app, and scan the bike’s QR code to unlock it. After your ride, park at any bike rack on campus and push a slider down on the bike to lock it. Rides are only 50 cents per 15 minutes, with daily, monthly and yearly rates available.
The Bike Share program comes as a result of the KU Bicycle Advisory Committee, a campus group that had input from KU Parking and Transit, Student Housing, the Center for Sustainability, and the city of Lawrence.
“The committee is a group of stakeholders across campus that have been working on bikeability and bike infrastructure on campus since we released a campus bike plan in 2016,” said Kim Criner, education and outreach coordinator at the KU Center for Sustainability. “We really tried to have all the voices at the table that are interested in what we’re doing.”
And don’t worry: The people in charge have thought all about the hills. The committee made sure to get bikes with seven gears. VeoRide can designate bikes in-app as free-to-ride “lucky bikes,” which provides a free ride in exchange for getting the bike back to a central location. VeoRide also hired local staff to maintain the bikes and move them back up the Hill as needed.
Currently, all bike rides must conclude on campus. However, discussions with the city of Lawrence are in the works to allow riders to leave bikes downtown.
Each VeoRide bike includes instructions in the front basket
Hear Candice Xie, co-founder of VeoRide, explain how the bike sharing program works.
The Jayhawk Bookstore closed for good in 2016, leaving a prominent corner in Lawrence unoccupied. (Jayhawks everywhere surely remember the bookstore’s jingle: “At the top of the Hill.) With renovations complete, the building just west of the Chi Omega fountain and across the street from the EEEC is now open for business.
Textbooks, paper, and Jayhawk sweatshirts have given way to coffee, pastries, salads, sandwiches, and beers at McLain’s Market. The Kansas City-based small business also has a store in Overland Park, and the original McLain’s Bakery has operated in Kansas City since 1945.
The market opened April 9 and already is a popular hangout for KU students as they prepare for finals. A variety of seating options in different nooks and crannies of the two floors gives a welcoming coffee shop vibe. Plenty of outdoor seating offers views down Naismith Drive. Construction isn’t done yet, with a side room under renovation for Kansas City-based clothing company Charlie Hustle to move in.
The rapid growth and expansion of KU’s Lawrence campus continues with the new Earth, Energy and Environment Center, which opened earlier this semester. The EEEC features modern labs, classrooms and study spaces for the next generations of Jayhawk students.
The new construction also brings the campus closer together, as students can now walk from the engineering buildings to Jayhawk Boulevard without going outside, thanks to a skybridge over Naismith Drive. From the entrance to Learned Engineering Expansion Phase 2 to Lindley Hall, we took a walk through the path to see for ourselves.
And if you haven’t been on campus recently and are completely turned around, here’s where our path took us:
The new Earth, Energy and Environment Center opened for the 2018 spring semester. Find more coverage of the building here.
As students make their way around the Kansas Union this semester, those who stop by The Market for lunch are in for a fresh surprise.
“Union Square,” the third-floor seating area outside The Market, underwent a major renovation over winter break. It offers students a new space to study, relax, or meet while grabbing a bite to eat.
“We had 6,000 square feet of space, with a beautiful campus view, that was only utilized over the lunch hour,” said Lisa Kring, director of building & event services. “We entered design with the goal of providing a student space that offered an experience, not just a place to inhale a quick lunch.”
New tables and chairs in a variety of shapes and sizes fill the area, including lounge seating, rocking chairs and eight study pods in a quiet corner.
Televisions line the walls of the space, with some available for students to connect their own devices. A 24-by 6-feet video wall of TV panels shows the latest in news, sports and entertainment.
For more news and updates about KU Dining, click here.
It’s time for our annual look back at the top stories of the year from the KU Alumni Association’s website. These were the most viewed, clicked and shared stories of 2017, according to the Jayhawks who flocked to our site. Our coverage included news of a new chancellor, timeless traditions and more than a few surprises. So, as we wave the wheat to 2017, here’s to another great year for Jayhawks everywhere. Rock Chalk!
Carrying on traditions that date back to the days when the Jayhawks played in Hoch Auditorium, the men’s basketball band fills Allen Field House with an energizing mix of musicianship, enthusiasm, school spirit and just plain fun. Hear director Sharon Toulouse, f’97, g’05, and many of her talented musicians explain the stories behind their rites and rituals, and read more about it in “Fortissimo Fan Fare,” in issue No. 2, 2017, of Kansas Alumni magazine.
Jenni Carlson returned to her alma mater for J-School Generations, an annual reunion during Homecoming weekend. The event invites alumni back to the William Allen White School of Journalism to reconnect with students and faculty. Carlson, j’97, was a speaker for J-Talk, a TED-style lecture event where she and other alumni shared their stories.
After launching the Lawrence Police Department’s Twitter page Dec. 31, 2015, with the usual dry reminders for revelers to designate sober drivers, Officer Drew Fennelly yearned to “find the voice for the Twitter account.”
Loral O’Hara, a 2006 graduate of the KU School of Engineering’s aerospace engineering program, was introduced as one of 12 members of NASA’s 2017 astronaut candidate class. After her KU graduation, O’Hara earned a master’s degree at Purdue University. Until joining NASA for the arduous astronaut selection process, O’Hara most recently worked as a research engineer at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts.
On October 27th, 1951, downed pilot James J. McCabe ran “like an injured gazelle” past enemy lines to an approaching rescue copter in North Korea. After three failed pickup attempts, he grabbed the helicopter’s landing skiff and hung on for dear life as the chopper took off under a hailstorm of explosions. Alumnus Tim McCabe recreated his grandfather’s experience in the style of a graphic novel.
An old rivalry was renewed as Jayhawks made the “Great Journey through Europe.” Participants on the Flying Jayhawks tour found themselves traveling with some Nebraska Cornhuskers, who pranked the KU crew by holding Jayhawk decorations hostage.
Ashlyn Driskill, a graduate student in the KU School of Business’ MBA program and a member of KU volleyball’s 2015 Final Four team, made her television debut when House Hunters documented her and her husband’s search for a Kansas City home. She sat down with us in February for a Q&A about the experience, and after the episode premiered we asked a couple more questions about the show and got an update on the house (pictures included!).
One of the most treasured traditions at the University of Kansas takes place every spring, when thousands of graduating students walk through the Campanile and down the Hill for Commencement. Brian Palermo, a KU Admissions representative based in St. Louis, never got to experience that moment—until this year.
Jayhawks in the Kansas City area have likely heard the name or seen Charlie Hustle’s vintage-style T-shirts around town—especially its signature KC heart shirt. Our video allowed alumni to learn more about the Kansas City-based company and its staff of Jayhawks, including what inspired its founder and CEO, Chase McAnulty, to create the company and where the name came from.
Ten finalists were selected for the 27th-annual Excellence in Community, Education and Leadership Awards at the University of Kansas. The finalists participated in the Homecoming parade, and two winners were announced during halftime of the KU-Texas Tech Homecoming football game Oct. 7 at Memorial Stadium.
Before Ben Brodsky walked down the Hill last May, he could sense it was coming. That feeling of nostalgia that all alumni understand was becoming all too real, and Brodsky, c’17, wanted to hit save and preserve his time at KU. Fortunately, the talented film and media studies major had shot hours of footage during his time on campus; timeless scenes that also captured a place in time. His memories. His journey. But one with which we could all relate.
For 40 years, the Marching Jayhawks have used one song to pump them up before running onto the field at Memorial Stadium to play the songs that get everyone else ready for the game. If it sounds bizarre and unofficial, that’s because it is. Unlike other KU traditions that date back to the late 19th century, “Hog Calling” began 40 years ago when a group of Marching Jayhawks were bored.
Former KU volleyball player Ashlyn Driskill started the year having just helped the Jayhawks reach their first Final Four in program history. She followed that up by getting engaged and buying her first house with fiance Foster Vielock. To top it off, the happy couple was selected to appear on HGTV’s House Hunters, set to air later this year. Ashlyn agreed to share her story with KU alumni.
Harold “Hal” Sandy, j’47, who created the famous Happy Jayhawk logo as a KU student in 1946, died Dec. 9, 2017. Sandy is fondly remembered by alumni and Jayhawk fans, and his creation remains one of the most recognized and beloved collegiate symbols in the country. David Johnston, KU Alumni Association vice president for marketing and digital media, met with Sandy while leading the KU visual identity project in 2005 as KU director of marketing. He reflects on meeting Sandy for the first time in this personal tribute to a KU icon.
Learn more about the historical house in Lawrence that hosted professors, chancellors, and the last months of the life of James Naismith. Our special online feature highlighted the farm house’s hallowed history just in time for Halloween.
Every year on April 1, the KU Alumni Association plays a playful prank on unsuspecting alumni, sending a special April Fool’s Day edition of our alumni e-newsletter. Although alumni swore they wouldn’t be fooled again, these “fake news” stories made some of them do a double take. Proceed at your own risk.
The Kansas Board of Regents announced the appointment of Dr. Douglas A. Girod as the 18th Chancellor of the University of Kansas.
“I am honored to be here today to make this important announcement. Naming the next Chancellor is one of the most important jobs we undertake as the Board of Regents,” stated Zoe Newton, Chair of the Board of Regents. “Dr. Girod is the right person for this time of transition. His 23 years of service are a testament to Dr. Girod’s love and commitment to KU. He will honor KU’s traditions and history while leading this great university into the future.”
Triebold Paleontology recently cast and installed a replica of a mosasaur fossil known as Tylosaurus proriger. C.D. Bunker, curator at KU’s Natural History Museum, and his associates collected the fossil in Wallace County in 1911.
An intimidating predator, the mosasaur will take your breath away. The size and length are imposing enough. But its teeth seal the deal—or in this case, the fate of an 84-million-year-old sea turtle the Tylosaurus is chasing in the display
“This is the Earth Energy and Environment Center; it’s all about the earth sciences,” said Bob Goldstein, Haas Distinguished professor of geology and special advisor for campus development in the provost’s office. “What better specimen to bring the public in than a spectacular 45-foot-long sea monster from the cretaceous of Kansas.”
Ancient fossils and KU connections
Sea turtles were likely prey for mosasaurs, and this particular fossil shows nearly 100 bite marks from a mosasaur similar in size to Tylosaurus proriger. Anthony Maltese, c’04, was part of the team that collected the sea turtle fossil south of Quinter in October, 2011.
Bunker’s original Tylosaurus specimen resides at the KU Natural History Museum in Dyche Hall. It is believed to be the largest complete mosasaur fossil in existence.
About the Earth, Energy & Environment Center
The Earth, Energy & Environment Center (EEEC) sits next to Lindley Hall and will open for classes in spring 2018. The two buildings of the EEEC—Ritchie Hall and Slawson Hall— will feature bridges to Lindley Hall and Learned Hall.
The multidisciplinary center is a collaboration between the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and the School of Engineering. It will bring together faculty, students and researchers from geology and engineering to tackle energy and environmental research.
Watch the slideshow below to see more pictures of the installation, or view the photos on Flickr. Read more about the installation from the Lawrence Journal-World.
The following messages was sent to University of Kansas faculty, staff, and affiliates on Monday, Oct. 16.
Last month, we were delighted to announce that enrollment at the University of Kansas has grown for the fourth straight year to its highest level since 2011. Additionally, this year’s freshmen have the highest average high school GPA and are the most diverse of any class in KU history. Retention and graduation rates are also higher than ever.
This is terrific news and a clear indication that we are progressing on key institutional goals. Moreover, this progress is the result of strategic choices we’ve made and the efforts of faculty and staff like you. So today, I want to thank you for your part in bringing talented Jayhawks to KU and helping them succeed here. In addition to providing these students a life-changing opportunity, your efforts elevate the university as a whole.
It’s worth reflecting on the improvements we’ve made in how we identify and attract new Jayhawks. In recent years, this has included new renewable scholarships, new admissions standards and an evolution in our recruitment focus from a regional model to a national/international model.
Of course, we can only recruit new students if we have an outstanding product to offer — and because of you, we do! We have nationally ranked academic programs and transformative opportunities across our departments. We have beautiful and well-run campuses. And we have talented marketing practitioners who present KU in a smart and friendly way.
This year’s record-setting retention and graduation rates speak to the ways you support students once they arrive here. This support happens in the classroom when instructors go the extra mile for their students. It includes programs that help Jayhawks in times of crisis. And it includes the work being done to improve the student experience by redesigning courses, using predictive analytics, strengthening academic advising and streamlining processes.
I also want to highlight the vital role of private giving in recruiting and retaining top scholars, as well as our incredible alumni, who are the best Jayhawk ambassadors you can find anywhere.
The truth is, each of you plays a crucial role in recruiting new Jayhawks and ensuring they earn their degree. Again, thank you for the work you do.
If you know any prospective students who want to become Jayhawks, encourage them to apply by November 1 to be eligible for scholarships.
Sarah Heitmeyer, vice president of legacy recruitment for the Student Alumni Network, sent the following message to all Student Alumni Network members about Crimson & Blue Day. The event for prospective students and their family members will be held Friday, Oct. 13.
As we prepare for our fall break on Friday, something big is happening on campus. This Friday is Crimson & Blue Day, which is our chance to show prospective students all the incredible things the University of Kansas has to offer. I want to echo Provost Neeli’s statements about the opportunity to host prospective Jayhawks and their families from across the state, nation, and world.
On Friday, a thousand prospective students will be on the Hill with their family members, and I am sure we’ll see them exploring campus as we go to our classes. We were all prospective students once. Whether you toured many universities or only a few, you remember the overwhelming feeling of making a college decision. Let’s make this decision easy for these prospective students by showing them our caring and compassionate Jayhawk community.
I hope that you will join me in being a welcoming face for these future Jayhawks on Friday. Stop and take a moment to talk with students and their families as you walk around campus. Share with them your KU story and the opportunities and experiences you’ve had here as a student. Ask them if they have questions about campus and KU. They may need help navigating campus or may want to hear about some of your favorite things about KU or Lawrence.
If you are especially interested in connecting with prospective Jayhawks, join me at the Adams Alumni Center from 9-11 a.m. to mingle with students and families. We’ll have breakfast burritos from Salty Iguana as well as Hot Box Cookies available. This will be a great opportunity to share your KU experiences with these future students.
Please join me in welcoming future Jayhawks and their families to campus on Friday. I know together we can show them the best of KU!