UW News

April 4, 2012

News Digest: U-PASS 20th celebration, Honor: KUOW, home improvement fair April 11, Honor: Guntis Smidchens

News and Information

U-PASS turns 20 with website, trivia contest
The UW’s transportation program, U-PASS, turns 20 this year and is throwing itself a party. The folks in Transportation Services, a division of Facilities Services, have created a new website with a timeline where U-PASS users can share their thoughts about the pass.

Transportation Services also started a trivia contest on its Facebook page, with eight U-PASS related questions in all. Answer correctly (all answers can be found within the U-PASS timeline) and you could win a massage or a haircut, Pike Place Chowder or even a $50 Zipcar certificate. The questions kicked off April 2 – with the first winner being Lucas Dressel – and continue through April 20.

According to Transportation Services, about 55,000 people — almost 81 percent of the UW campus population — use the U-PASS or other transportation that’s greener than driving alone. Here in the 20th year of the U-PASS program, they say only 19 percent of UW commuters drive to campus alone.

KUOW trio wins national broadcast award
KUOW editor Phyllis Fletcher, senior editor Jim Gates and news director Guy Nelson received a first place in broadcast reporting from the Education Writers Association, a national organization, for Fletcher’s ongoing coverage of local and regional education issues.

15th annual home improvement fair April 11
This years home fair focuses on how to integrate technology and green resources to transform your home. The event, which is free, will be 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Wednesday, April 11, Mary Gates Hall Commons.

Exhibitors include non-profits like Habitat for Humanity as well as companies such as Metropolitan Appliances, See3D digital design, Garden Hotline and Salmon Bay Woodworks. There will be demonstrations, refreshments, and a chance to win door prizes.

The event is sponsored by HomeStreet Bank, a partner of the UW Benefits Hometown Home Loan Program. All expenses are paid by HomeStreet Bank and participating exhibitors.

For more information: Kathleen Dwyer, 206-543-2812, kdwyer@uw.edu or Mary Parker-Hale, 206-616-4932, mphale@uw.edu.

Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves and Guntis Smidchens.

Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves and Guntis Smidchens.

Baltic Studies co-founder honored by Estonia
Guntis Smidchens
, assistant professor of Baltic studies and co-founder of the UW Baltic Studies Program, has been awarded the Order of the Cross of Terra Tariana, 4th class, by the Republic of Estonia.

The honor is for non-Estonians who have provided special services to the country. Smidchens received the award from Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves in Tartu, Estonia, Feb. 23, which is Estonias independence day.

“Estonia fascinates our students,” said Smidchens. “The country has a very rich cultural heritage, and it’s at the cutting edge of high tech — Skype, for example, was created by Estonian programmers.”

He said the School of Engineering began the first regular student exchanges with Estonia in the 1990s, when the UW expanded its Scandinavian exchanges program to the Baltic. UW students have since gone to Estonia, Latvia or Lithuania on Fulbright grants or undergraduate exchanges, studying biorobotics and computer science as well as history, society and culture.

For the past 18 years, the UW has been one of two American universities to teach Estonian language, teaching about half of the American students learning Estonian.