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Engineering Prof, Student Win KU Sustainability Award

Monday, November 5, 2007

[Associate Professor Susan Williams, left, discusses the biodiesel project at the 2007 KU in the Capitol in Topeka]

A School of Engineering faculty member and a graduate student were recognized for their innovative project by the Center for Sustainability at the University of Kansas. The center on Oct. 24 recognized 14 members of the campus community through its inaugural Sustainability Leadership Awards.

The awards were given as part of Campus Sustainability Day. They recognize outstanding leadership and creativity in addressing issues of environmental, economic and social responsibility on the KU campus and in the broader community. Three categories were created for the awards: student, staff and faculty projects.

The faculty award was presented to

Susan Stagg-Williams,

associate professor of chemical and petroleum engineering, and Ilya Tabakh, a doctoral student in environmental engineering who also earned a bachelors and masters degree in computer engineering from KU, for their involvement in the KU Biodiesel Initiative. The project involves the operation of a reactor that converts used cooking oil collected from a campus dining facility into biodiesel fuel. Through this initiative, Williams and Tabakh are creating research opportunities in alternative fuels, developing fuel-testing methods that will support local industry and generating a useable fuel source out of materials that would otherwise be discarded as waste.

The student award was presented to 11 participants in the KU Hillel Everett Tzedek Social Action Project in spring 2007. The project promoted the values of sustainability throughout Hillel programming.

Wayne Pearse, building engineer for KU Memorial Unions, received the staff Sustainability Leadership Award. Pearse was recognized for playing a key role in projects to reduce waste and promote a healthier indoor environment at the Kansas Union.

One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
5th nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets: Colleges," Military Times