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UGA study: Southern wood pellets boosting European efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions

European power plants that burn wood pellets imported from the Southern United States to generate electricity are emitting less than half the greenhouse gases than when they use traditional fossil fuels, a new University of Georgia study has found.

European power utilities are using imported wood pellets to generate electricity and reduce greenhouse gases in order to meet a legal mandate that by 2020 at least 20 percent of all energy consumed in the European Union comes from renewable sources. A new study by a researcher with UGA's Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources has found that the wood pellets are living up to their promise of releasing fewer greenhouse gases-producing less than half the greenhouse gas emissions than when power plants use fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas. This is good news for the Southern United States, which is a leading exporter of wood pellets to Europe, said Puneet Dwivedi, an assistant professor of sustainability sciences in the Warnell School.

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UGA students dance their way to $500,000 for Childrens Healthcare of Atlanta

During a 24-hour stretch from Feb. 22-23, more than 1,000 participants filled the Tate Student Center Grand Hall at the University of Georgia to dance, play video games, share stories, roll down a bouncy slide and raise $507,203 to benefit Children's Healthcare of Atlanta's Comprehensive Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit.

Dance Marathon has served as the annual culminating fundraising event for the student-run philanthropic organization, UGA Miracle, for 18 years. The event is a symbolic gesture by UGA students who give up one day in honor of children who spend days, weeks or months in the hospital. The 24 hours are filled with concerts, special guests, competitions, food and opportunities for students to interact with current and former Children's Healthcare patients.

For this year's event, student leaders set an ambitious goal to raise $415,000, a 20 percent increase over last year's total that, if reached, would break the organization's previous record.

UGA Miracle, one of the largest student-run philanthropic organizations at UGA, hosts fundraising events throughout the year including concerts, a 5K race, tours of Athens-area homes and smaller dance marathons at local schools. Each member strives to raise more than $300 through letter-writing campaigns, smaller fundraisers and donation solicitation in downtown Athens. Including this year's numbers, UGA Miracle has raised more than $4 million since its inception.

Members of Dance Marathon leadership visit Children's Healthcare of Atlanta throughout the year to meet with the "miracle kids," learn from their experiences and provide companionship and support.

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Salon.com editor is first Willson-Grady Digital Media Fellow

David Daley, editor-in-chief of Salon.com, will visit the University of Georgia as the inaugural Willson Center-Grady College Digital Media Fellow. His visit is co-sponsored by the UGA Jane and Harry Willson Center for Humanities and Arts and the journalism department of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Daley was culture editor and executive editor of Salon, an online journal of news, politics, culture, technology and entertainment, before being named editor-in-chief in 2013. He is the former features editor of Details magazine and the former lifestyles manager of the Louisville Courier-Journal. He is also editor of the online literary journal FiveChapters.

"The Willson Center-Grady College Digital Media Fellowship is a public collaboration between research and teaching at UGA and innovation in the contemporary economy," said Nicholas Allen, Franklin Professor of English and director of the Willson Center. "It is designed to put faculty and students in conversation with a leading practitioner of journalism in digital media. We are honored that our inaugural Fellow is David Daley, who is an international leader in his field and a keen advocate for the arts and humanities."

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Grady College adds Sports Media Certificate to curriculum

The University of Georgia is the first institution in the Southeastern Conference to offer an undergraduate certificate in sports media, following University Council approval on Feb. 19.

The certificate will be offered by the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. Aimed at preparing students for careers in sports writing, sports broadcasting and sports communications, the program will be led by veteran sports journalist Vicki Michaelis, the John Huland Carmical Distinguished Professor in Sports Journalism and Society.

"Sports offers our students an ideal venue for so many career paths," said Charles Davis, dean of the Grady College. "Sport is culture, sport is business and sport is news. This interdisciplinary certificate is an enormous step forward for the sports journalism program, which we see as a real opportunity moving forward."

The certificate program, open to all UGA undergraduates, will train students to report and produce sports stories in the digital age. They will learn on a multitude of platforms, from text to social media to audio and video.

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UGA professor awarded Sloan Foundation grant

Brian Hopkinson, an assistant professor in the University of Georgia Franklin College of Arts and Sciences department of marine sciences, has been awarded a 2014 Sloan Research Fellowship for his research on rising carbon dioxide levels in the ocean.

The fellowship is presented by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation each year to early-career scientists and scholars whose achievements and potential identify them as part of the next generation of scientific leaders. This year, 126 fellowships were awarded to promising young scientists like Hopkinson in eight scientific and technical disciplines.

Hopkinson, an assistant professor at UGA since 2010, was awarded the $50,000 fellowship to continue his work on investigating the physiological changes that occur in marine algae and corals due to rising CO2 concentrations in the ocean.

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UGA among Peace Corps top volunteer-producing universities

The University of Georgia is No. 17 on the Peace Corps' 2014 rankings of the top volunteer-producing colleges and universities in the U.S. UGA has 44 alumni currently volunteering worldwide, and 570 UGA alumni have traveled abroad to serve as volunteers since the Peace Corps began.

Through the Peace Corps Master's International program, the agency partners with UGA's College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources to offer students an opportunity to integrate a master's degree with overseas service.

"The same passion that launched the Peace Corps more than 50 years ago fuels progress in developing countries today thanks to the leadership and creativity that college graduates bring to their Peace Corps service," Peace Corps acting Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet said. "The unique Peace Corps experience helps recent graduates cultivate highly sought-after skills that will launch their careers in today's global economy."

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Academic exchange program allows students to earn UGA credit at campuses nationwide

The University of Georgia's National Student Exchange program is accepting applications for students to participate during the 2014-2015 academic year. A domestic parallel to study abroad programs, the exchange allows students to earn credit at other participating institutions nationwide while paying UGA tuition and fees. The application deadline is Feb. 28.

Students may choose from nearly 200 member colleges and universities in 48 states, three U.S. territories and the District of Columbia. The campuses range in size from some of the largest research universities to smaller liberal arts colleges.

"Many of our returning students describe NSE as a life-changing experience that has made them more independent, self-confident and resourceful," said Joshua Podvin, senior coordinator of the center for student organizations and UGA coordinator of the exchange.

"The program has expanded their risk-taking capabilities and helped them better define their academic and career goals," he said.

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UGA School of Law wins National Moot Court Competition

The University of Georgia School of Law recently won the 64th Annual National Moot Court Competition, which is the oldest and most prestigious moot court competition in the country.

Third-year law students Steven L. Strasberg, Benjamin W. Thorpe and Emily K. Westberry represented UGA in the tournament, and Thorpe was named the competition's best oralist.

The trio was undefeated in the national tier of the tournament, which was held Feb. 10-13 in New York City, N.Y., beating teams from Emory University School of Law (in the final round to become champions), Case Western Reserve University School of Law, Chicago-Kent College of Law, Drake University Law School, Hofstra University School of Law and Seattle University Law School.

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University of Georgia bee expert named honorary member of the Order of the British Empire

Keith Delaplane, professor of entomology in the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, has been inducted into the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in recognition of his research into honeybees and their disappearance.

British Ambassador to the United States Sir Peter Westmacott presented Delaplane with the honor on behalf of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on Feb. 11 at the British Embassy in Washington, D.C.

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UGA researchers receive $727,000 NSF grant to study organism on Georgias coast

Every year around the Fourth of July, populations of a single-celled organism called Thaumarchaeota explode in the coastal waters throughout the Southeastern United States, increasing more than 1,000 times higher than normal. It's a puzzling event that affects nitrogen availability and the fertility of coastal waters and may contribute to excess production of nitrous oxide, an important greenhouse gas.

Now, University of Georgia researchers have received a $727,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to determine why this happens, if it is limited to the Southeast and what impact these mid-summer blooms have on the environment.