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U of M team wins DOE challenge

“Team OptiMN,” a group of 14 undergraduate and grad students at the University of Minnesota with diverse majors (including building science, sustainable design, construction management and business), was the Grand Award Winner of The Department of Energy’s second annual "Race to Zero" Student Design Competition. The team won for its design of the OptiMN Impact Home in North Minneapolis.

Teams competing in the “Race to Zero” challenge were asked to design cost-effective zero-energy-ready homes for mainstream builders, according to a press release announcing the award, adding that, "The winning design uses high-performance features that sharply reduce energy use, and allow for most of the remaining energy use to be offset with renewable energy." The contest is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). This year, the competition involved 33 teams from 27 universities in the U.S., Canada and China. "Along with energy-efficiency, the designed homes must be comfortable and attractive as well as affordable," the release stated.

Green Homes North, one of team OptiMN's partners, plans on building 100 energy-efficient homes in North Minneapolis in the next five years. Team OptiMN made sure the home followed their guidelines. The team also partnered with Urban Homeworks to design a high performance, affordable, flexible home. Residential Science Resources was the team's energy rater partner.

Team OptiMN’s design goals centered around meeting: the DOE’s challenge to build a zero energy ready home; Urban Homework’s mission to produce equitable, dignified communities; and Green Homes North Initiative to revitalize North Minneapolis neighborhoods with affordable, sustainable and quality homes.


Minneapolis named one of the best cities for recent college grads

Minneapolis landed at the no. 10 spot on Apartments.com's annual list of "Top 10 Best Cities for Recent College Graduates."
Now in its sixth year, the list examines 100 U.S. cities and determines rankings based on apartment availability, affordability, unemployment rates, median income, and the percentage of single people between the ages of 25 and 29.
According to the report, Minneapolis has a high number of people falling within that age range, as well as a low unemployment rate.
The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is just over $1,000, the report noted, which lands within the affordability range for recent college grads.
At the top of the list is Phoenix, with $708 as average rent for a one-bedroom apartment, and coming in at second and third place were Orlando and San Antonio.

Minnesota in top 10 list for well-being

Nonprofit organization Social Science Research Council recently released a list of top states for "well-being," and Minnesota came in at number seven.
Called the American Human Development Index, the list measures three main aspects that contribute to overall well-being: access to education, standard of living, and life expectancy.
The study's authors base their data on responses from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The top three states in the study were Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Jersey, while the bottom three were Mississippi, Arkansas, and West Virginia. 

University of Minnesota's new, free online courses generate buzz

The University of Minnesota's recent decision to begin offering free online courses via development firm Coursera caused a nice amount of stir after the announcement. Local business and news publications highlighted the story, as well as popular technology blog TechCrunch.
A story in the Pioneer Press noted that the university is among a growing number of educational institutions that will be offering free online courses. These types of courses have attracted millions of students, the article states, and five U. of M. professors have already signed on to create the courses.
"This partnership will give people from around the world the opportunity to learn from the U's world-class faculty at a time when we are working harder than ever to increase access to higher education, reach broader audiences, and strengthen our land-grant mission," University Provost Karen Hanson told the Pioneer Press.

Twin Cities named a top place for college students

The American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) released its annual College Destination Index, and Minneapolis-St. Paul was ranked No. 6 for major metro areas, coming in behind cities like Boston, New York, and San Francisco.
The Index includes the top 75 towns and cities in the U.S., and uses factors culled from numerous governmental agencies, such as the Small Business Administration, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the Census Bureau. The amalgamation of data provides a snapshot of each community's overall cultural and academic environment as well as employment landscape and quality of life.
In a press release about the results, AIER's Steven Cunningham noted, "The characteristics that make up a great college destination often make a location ideal for business, retirement, and tourism. A top AIER College Destinations Index ranking should be just as important to the town or city as it is to the schools located there and the families and students attending or considering them."

Twin Cities rank high on Businessweek list of America's Top Cities

Businessweek released a list of "America's 50 Best Cities," and St. Paul and Minneapolis came in at no. 10 and no. 12 respectively.
"St. Paul may be the smaller of the Twin Cities, but the state capital is also cleaner and safer, if slightly behind Minneapolis in median household income," the business publication notes.
Minneapolis, meanwhile, is recognized for its parks and lakes, as well as the University of Minnesota's numerous national championships in ice hockey. The article states, "Downtown Minneapolis beats the cold with a unique network of connected buildings, with the City Center mall at its core."
As for the best cities in the rest of the country, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. took the top three spots.
To get the results, Businessweek teamed up with Bloomberg Rankings to evaluate data on 100 of the country's largest cities, and looked at leisure attributes, educational attributes, economic factors, crime, and air quality.

Indiana newspaper highlights University of Minnesota "meat lab" program

The Republic, a newspaper out of Columbus, Indiana, recently reported on the University of Minnesota's meat lab, which teaches students to harvest, cut, package, and sell locally raised meat.
"It's part animal science, part age-old craft," the article noted. Founded in 1901, the meat lab was the first program of its kind in the nation.
Faculty adviser Dr. Ryan Cox added that the all-around butcher doesn't seem to exist anymore, and the meat lab's intent is to give students that more traditional view of the meat industry.
One student stated that thanks to the program he knows all the steps in the process, from raising a newborn calf all the way to selling the meat in a store. He says, "It just gives you a better idea where that meat is going and how it's used."

Kansas newspaper highlights Minneapolis as spring break destination

Forget sun-drenched beaches and ocean views: for this spring break, college students might want to consider Minneapolis instead.
That's the view of one editor at the Kansas State Collegian, the newspaper for Kansas State University. She posits that students there may not be considering a road trip northward, but that they should.
Highlighted in the story are the Guthrie Theater, the Walker Art Center Sculpture Garden, Hell's Kitchen, and the Mall of America.
"Minneapolis is a city with specific attractions for all sorts of people," she writes in the article. "The city takes pride in its ability to entertain a diverse group of out-of-state travelers."

Minneapolis named as one of the country's most literate cities

Minneapolis is the third most literate city in the United States, according to a survey done annually by Central Connecticut State University.
The university looks at each city's newspaper and magazine circulation as well as library and Internet resources. The study compared data in cities with populations of 250,000 and larger. Minneapolis has ranked in the top three since the study's start in 2005, and came in in first place in 2007.
This year, Washington, D.C. was ranked first on the list, followed by Seattle. Others in the top five were Atlanta and Boston. The bottom five included Fresno, El Paso and Corpus Christi.

Business Journal ranks the brainiest cities in the state

A study by The Business Journals--the city-specific publications that include Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal--looked at education levels in over 14,000 U.S. cities to discover which have the "brainiest" residents.
Topping the list locally was North Oaks, a suburb of St. Paul. Almost 75 percent of North Oaks residents have a bachelor's degree or higher, The Business Journals reported, and more than 39 percent have earned a graduate or professional degree.
North Oaks came in 106th in the nation overall. Chevy Chase Village, Md., was considered the national pinnacle, with almost 93 percent of adult residents possessing bachelor degrees. 

TIME reports on Minnesota nutrition study

Recently, TIME highlighted research done at the University of Minnesota that showed that people may not read nutrition labels as often as they say they do.
In the study, participants were asked to use a computer-based shopping program that presented products and nutritional info, and which also contained an eye-tracking device to record what they viewed on the screen. One finding was that although about a third of participants said they "almost always" looked at calorie content, only about nine percent actually look at that info on a food's label.
TIME noted that the findings add to the evidence that the bewildering array of food labels currently found on grocery store foods isn't doing consumers any good.

New U of M wind energy station recognized

North American Windpower (NAW), a publication geared toward professionals in the windpower industry, recently reported on a new wind energy research station in Rosemont, implemented by the University of Minnesota.
The facility consists of a wind turbine and a 420-foot-tall meteorological research tower, located about 25 miles southeast of the university's Twin Cities campus.
As noted by NAW, the station will host active consortium research as well as education and training of wind industry workers. The facility is equipped with instruments and sensors designed to measure factors like wind-capturing ability. 

UK newspaper reports on University of Minnesota food research

The Telegraph, a newspaper in the United Kingdom, highlighted research done at the University of Minnesota on bisin, a substance that shows promise as a food preservative.
The story noted that microbiologists at the U of M discovered bisin by accident when studying organisms that populate the human gut. Bisin is able to kill bacteria that trigger decomposition in the fresh proteins found in meat, dairy, eggs, and fish—although it doesn’t work on fresh vegetables or fruit.
It can also prevent the growth of dangerous bacteria like E.coli, salmonella, and listeria.
If the substance lives up to its promise, it could be the "Holy Grail” of the food industry, The Telegraph posited, although skeptics--like Rose Prince, the columnist doing the reporting--may need a bit more convincing.
13 higher education Articles | Page:
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