University of Louisville Magazine

WINTER-SPRING 2017

The University of Louisville Alumni Magazine: for alumni, faculty, staff, students and anyone that is a UofL Cardinal fan.

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W I N T E R / S P R I N G 2 0 1 7 U O F L M A G A Z I N E | 4 3 A C R O S S C A M P U S SCHOOL OF INTERDISCIPLINARY AND GRADUATE STUDIES Betsy Ruhe is one of UofL's fi rst students in the master's of sustainability program. Ruhe, who enrolled last fall, is currently on educational leave from JCPS, where she's served as a special education teacher at Indian Trail for the past 16 years. She never wanted to be a teacher, especially since so many members of her family were teachers. But she realized that she was actually teaching as part of her retail job, which spanned 20 years. "I was selling sporting goods, and I realized I was explaining to people how to use this equipment. I thought that I should maybe get paid to teach," she said. She began substituting on the side and received her MAT at Bellarmine in 1999. Sustainability wasn't even on the curriculum map at that point, but she had it in her and liked the idea of teaching the topic. "I've been bicycling to work since high school, well before it was cool. My logic was always that [cars are] going to run out of gas at some point. But I also enjoy it. I feel a whole lot better doing it," she said. Her ultimate goal after receiving her master's in sustainability is to imple- ment sustainability curriculum in the JCPS district. "Right now there is a lot of 'I don't know how to do that' discussion. JCPS has a very good science curriculum, but there is only one science lesson taught in kindergarten or fi rst grade that requires you to go outside," Ruhe said. "If you want people to understand and care about the planet, they have to experience it." For more on UofL's sustainability degree offerings, see p. 17. Schoolyard becomes urban laboratory for UofL research A Louisville school has joined a landmark research project headed by the University of Louisville designed to use nature to tackle the health impact of city streets. St. Margaret Mary School on busy Shelbyville Road is the site of an experiment using trees and shrubs to create a living fi lter for roadway air pol- lution. The Green for Good project is a model for greening projects that use the environ- ment to improve health. The project is a col- laboration among UofL's Diabetes and Obesity Center, Louisville's Institute for Healthy Air, Water and Soil, and the City of Louisville. The current levels of air pollution at the school were measured and then half of the schoolyard was planted with shrubs, deciduous trees and pines. With the help of students at the school, the project team is measuring air pollu- tion levels and collect- ing data on traffi c and weather to test the idea that a greener neigh- borhood is a healthier neighborhood. "This project has the potential to im- prove the health of nearby students and residents for years to come by improving local air quality," said Aruni Bhatnagar, PhD, director of the Diabetes and Obesity Center. "St. Margaret Mary was chosen because it is close to a high-traffi c roadway. The school also includes a spacious lawn that allows for the addition of foliage, which acts as an air-cleansing barrier between the school and the street." SCHOOL OF MEDICINE Sustainability graduate student hopes to instill curriculum at elementary school level Ruhe

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