Winter break trickled into spring and I spent my time over at The Sun Star. Scroll through the website to read about a possible tuition increase, campus safety alerts, the institution formerly known as TVC (now: UAF Community and Technical College), the University of Alaska’s new president, and more.
Curious about how the bookstore situation resolved itself? Almost everything at the bookstore was on sale the week before last, and it shut down for one day last week to transition. Follet, the company that runs the online arm, took over brick and mortar operations. The biggest change so far is new bags. Nanook colors have been replaced by white and black, with a line about college sweatshirts being fashionable. According to the e-mail sent to students, a bigger change is on its way: books! Keep your eye on The Sun Star’s website for more details – Tom Hewitt will have the full story.
Some other news in the last few months?
Merit scholarships are still in the works. ADN had an update on where they stand earlier this week.
This fall, a bond for mostly education-related projects will be in front of voters. UAF’s coveted Life Sciences Building is on the docket. More on that, here. (The link takes you to a story I wrote for The Sun Star.)
And in more frivolous news, Lisa Murkowski is now following The Sun Star on Twitter and UAF’s disc golf course is getting daily use.
I’ll be back with more updates before another six months pass.
Things are winding down for winter break at UAF.
The ASUAF senate has its last meeting today. The Sun Star’s final issue of the semester comes out on Tuesday. The Board of Regents won’t meet again until February. Chancellor Brian Rogers has recommended a “soft-closure” for the early part of next week, encouraging employees to take time off rather than working until the Fairbanks campus’ Christmas closure.
So I’m going to follow suit. I’ll be back in January with more news on policy, but until then I’ll be finishing up my finals, hanging out with family and friends and enjoying a break from blogging. See you next year!
So here’s the deal with the election: it’s online. Advertising has indeed been sparse, but there will be an ad in The Sun Star on Tuesday. Voting ends December 11.
In other ASUAF news, according to the most recent minutes (they say November 22, but they’re actually from yesterday) there is no monorail in the works! People have been joking for quite a while about a possible monorail on campus (it’s part of the pedestrian-campus plan), but it turns out that it’s just a joke.
Bummer. I really thought UAF might spend money on a monorail when funding for maintenance, and research/teaching facilities, is hard to come by.
That’s pretty much the highlight of the minutes though. There are various other ideas floated around, reports of people going to meetings and planning unspecified events, a few appointments were discussed, but nothing too earth-shattering.
I haven’t seen a flyer advertising it in the Wood Center (or anywhere else), but apparently it’s ASUAF election time. Nominations were due Tuesday, and ballots are available online. After the original election snafu (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, the story is on page seven of the Nov. 17 issue) , it might have been prudent to advertise the election, but it seems like it was still done in a hurry. There are eleven seats up for election (only six candidates running, and no challenges) and a referendum question about money – the ballot doesn’t take long. Nothing is published on when voting ends.
ASUAF isn’t the only policy-making body trying to finish things up before the end of the year. The Board of Regents discussed the budget again last week, and adopted a version for the 2011 fiscal year, although state-funding is obviously still unknown (they’ve just made their request). More on that meeting in The Sun Star on Tuesday, or you can read the full details of the budget online.
Ok, ok, I know you’re probably tired of hearing about the bookstore. But I have actual news to share!
In response to a recent question on UAF’s grapevine, Robert Holden said that books will be returning to the brick-and-mortar store on campus! The change is for spring semester, so this must be one of the changes that Chancellor Brian Rogers alluded to at his open forum a few weeks ago. In response to a question about the bookstore’s retail offerings, Holden wrote, “In January Follett will bring a portion of the core textbooks on campus, providing additional opportunities for students purchasing textbooks.”
Holden is the Associate Director of Auxiliary and Business Services, so he’s a pretty reputable source on this. If he says books are coming back, I’ll believe him. What’s left to be seen is what books are considered “core” and how the change will pan out.
Former politicians weren’t the only notable visitors this week. Consultants from Perkins+Will (the firm helping develop UAF’s new master plan) visited UAF to get input on the the plan. They hosted a couple of sessions to show off possible plans, and met with quite a few different groups about various aspects of planning.
The plans address a wide-variety of issues: housing, classrooms, research space and even little purple boxes meant for meeting space and areas to foster collaboration. One plan tries to create more of a spine along Yukon Drive, while another focuses on emphasizing the area around the Wood Center and centralizing things in that region. Although the plan won’t affect UAF immediately, it will guide decisions as to where buildings are built in the future and how people can access them.
I attended one info session (as a participant, not a reporter), and spent some time looking at the various plans in the Wood Center. They’ll be set up in the Wood Center for the rest of the day, and you can use sticky notes to comment on each panel, but I’d recommend setting aside quite a bit of time to look at them – they take a while to digest. Or you can go to the blog where they’ve posted information about the plans and comment with your suggestions.
UAF was packed with newsworthy events this week. In addition to an edition of The Sun Star on Tuesday that included quite a bit of news (they’re still on the stands if you want to read about what happened at ASUAF last week), two former politicians came to visit! Unfortunately, I didn’t make it to any of their appearances. But plenty of other journalists did, so I’ll point you to their take on the events.
Frank Murkowski gave a lecture on energy (mostly gas and oil, from what I understand). It’ll take a little scrolling, but Andrew Sheeler provides a nice recap via twitter, or you can wait and read his story in The Sun Star next week.