June 25, 2014

News digest: 35,000 to stadium July 4 weekend, transportation-safety research, new poetry, staff awards

Convention could bring 35,000 to Husky Stadium July 4 weekend

University of Washington will be the site of an international convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses that could bring as many as 35,000 people to Husky Stadium during the July 4 weekend.

Artist's rendering of the remodeled Husky Stadium

A majority of campus parking will be allocated for the three-day event, which runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. The sponsoring group is renting  space on campus as do many other large and small organizations not affiliated with the UW throughout the year. The convention will be closely coordinated with Intercollegiate Athletics, Transportation Services and the UW police.

Participants will use charter buses, public transit, car pools and other means to travel to campus. Stadium access will be similar to that for athletic events or commencement.

A similar convention has been held at the Tacoma Dome each year since 1983, but the large number of people expected this year required a larger venue, and organizers have worked with UW to plan the event.

logo with words PacTrans for Pacific Transporation Consortium and images of four states$5.2M award for traffic-safety research
The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded $5.2 million to a multi-university regional transportation center led by the UW for ongoing research in transportation safety and sustainability issues.

The funding, which local and regional agencies matched for a total of $10.4 million, advances the work of the Pacific Northwest Transportation Consortium, or PacTrans. The center, one of 10 in the U.S., represents Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska.

The grant will fund about 10 transportation projects across five participating universities – the UW, Oregon State University, University of Alaska Fairbanks, University of Idaho and Washington State University – as well as research at each university to investigate promising new concepts for safety and sustainability.

“This funding will provide critical support for the university’s transportation research and education programs, and will support important advances in transportation safety for Washington state and the nation,” said Sen. Patty Murray.

Each project will tackle a critical safety or sustainability issue in transportation, such as safe travel for cars, bicyclists and pedestrians on mixed-used roads; an evaluation of regional driver distraction laws; and using technology to counteract distracted driving.

“Considering the transportation challenges facing America, our country needs the innovative research being done by the UW and its partner institutions to build a better legacy for our children,” said Sen. Maria Cantwell.

The grant also will continue to fund PacTrans fellowships for graduate students, an outreach project on texting and driving, and course development for undergraduate transportation classes, said director Yinhai Wang, a UW professor of civil and environmental engineering.

Matching funders include transportation industry and local agencies, particularly the four states’ transportation departments, and the City of Seattle.

English faculty members publish two books of poetry
Two members of the UW English Department have recently published books of poetry. Professor Linda Bierds’ 10th book of poetry, “Roget’s Illusion,” was published in March by Putnam’s. Library Journal called it “an important new book for readers interested in the intersections between science and art,” and poems from the book were selected for the anthology “Best American Poetry, 2014.”

Also, Lost Horse Press has published “Incomplete Strangers,” a book of poems by Robert McNamara, a lecturer in the Interdisciplinary Writing Program.

Professional Staff Organization recognizes colleagues
Four UW staff members have received the Bob Roseth Standing Ovation Award from the Professional Staff Organization.

Honored were Shelby Fritz, human resources manager, psychiatry and behavioral sciences and neurology; Abigail Echo-Hawk, tribal liaison, epidemiology; Crystal Welliver, grants manager, nursing research; and Sabrina Cito, nurse manager.

The awards were presented June 19.