The winter buzz in Btown

The start of the spring semester has brought a flurry of activity here at IU Bloomington. From new discoveries, initiatives and student success stories to Hoosier basketball’s early-season dominance at Assembly Hall, here’s just a small sampling of the buzz being heard and felt all around campus.

IU Bloomington is set to debut a new podcast series on Jan. 24, hosted by James Shanahan, front, dean of The Media School.

IU Bloomington is set to debut a new podcast series on Jan. 24, hosted by James Shanahan, pictured in front, dean of The Media School.

All the buzz, on the airwaves. A new IU Bloomington podcast series kicks off Sunday, Jan. 24, with a conversation about IU’s new Grand Challenges Program, featuring IU Vice President for Research Fred Cate and IU Bloomington Vice Provost for Research Rick Van Kooten. The weekly series, titled “Through the Gates: IU This Week,” will be hosted by James Shanahan, dean of The Media School at IU Bloomington, and cover news, events and other activities of interest to the university’s many engaged audiences around the state, nation and world. IU students and staff will also be involved in the production of the podcast series, which is a collaboration of the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President, The Media School and the IU Newsroom.

Biofuel and half of a “holy grail.” A team of IU Bloomington scientists has created a highly efficient biomaterial that catalyzes the formation of hydrogen — one half of the “holy grail” of splitting H2O to make hydrogen and oxygen for fueling cheap and efficient cars that run on water. The news has been widely shared and reported, crisscrossing the globe and appearing in such major media outlets as Science Magazine, the Christian Science Monitor, UPI, Tech Times and the Times of India. In addition, the Department of Energy’s Office of Science Communication prominently featured the story on its website.

Bikes and a new master plan. Good news for Btown’s many cycling enthusiasts: IU Bloomington has finalized a campus bicycle master plan, presented to university trustees last month and designed to build upon IU’s rich bicycling tradition. The finalized plan strives for safe, efficient and convenient bicycle travel on and off campus, greater bicycle parking and increased ridership among students, faculty and staff.

IU President Michael A. McRobbie discussed IU's strong partnerships with the city of Bloomington at the annual meeting of the Bloomington Economic Development Corporation.

IU President Michael A. McRobbie discussed IU’s strong partnerships with the city of Bloomington at the annual meeting of the Bloomington Economic Development Corporation.

Btown economic development. Leaders of the IU Bloomington campus and surrounding community came together Wednesday to hear IU President Michael A. McRobbie deliver the keynote address at the annual meeting of the Bloomington Economic Development Corp. In his address, McRobbie described the progress being made on the priorities of the university’s Bicentennial Strategic Plan, including strengthening the university’s commitment to student success and maximizing its capacity for research, scholarship and creative activity.

A breakfast for a King. On Monday, President McRobbie and other IU administrators attended IU Bloomington’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration Leadership Breakfast. In his remarks, McRobbie sought to honor King’s life and legacy by underscoring and reaffirming the university’s commitment to diversity and free expression. “We must demand a tolerant Indiana University, but we must aspire to an engaged Indiana University,” McRobbie said. Nowhere was that engagement more evident than in the volunteer projects that involved scores of IU students and the dedicated students and staff who were honored at Monday’s breakfast for serving as “champions of change” around campus and in the community.

Business start-ups and the student experience. If you haven’t yet caught on to the new Student Experience blog from our IU Newsroom, there’s still plenty of time. The latest student success story to be showcased on the blog: IU Kelley School of Business freshman Mikaela Gilbert, who’s launched her own start-up business, with assistance and advice from Kelley faculty, that she hopes will grow into a company that helps children gain greater fluency in foreign languages.

Mikaela Gilbert is a student at IU’s Kelley School of Business and the creator of Chatter Eggs.

Mikaela Gilbert is a student at IU’s Kelley School of Business and the creator of Chatter Eggs.

Btown goes Tinseltown again. Our campus’s and city’s credentials when it comes to big silver screen movie productions is well known. (See: “Breaking Away,” “Kinsey,” Angelo Pizzo and “Hoosiers,” and Michael Uslan and “Batman.”) Now a team of IU alumni is set to begin production on a new feature-length romantic comedy featuring a couple of well-known actors. “The Good Catholic,” written and directed by IU MFA graduate Paul Shoulberg, will be filmed late this month in downtown Bloomington and near the surrounding campus.

Basketball and the hurryin’ Hoosiers! It’s still early, of course, but there may be something brewing at Assembly Hall, where both the Hoosiers men’s and women’s basketball teams have been heating up the hardwood. With an impressive win on Tuesday over Illinois, the men’s team moved to 6-0 in the Big Ten and a perfect 11-0 on their home court. Spearheading the men’s effort has been senior Yogi Ferrell, IU’s new all-time assist leader and subject of the latest edition of the popular #ImAHoosier spotlight. Not to be outdone, the Hoosier women have also amassed an undefeated record at home (8-0), with their latest victory a dramatic come-from-behind win against the Illini.

Again, it’s only the start of the semester, but if the early weeks of 2016 are any indication, the buzz may only get louder in Btown in the weeks and months to come. Stay tuned!

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