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Research, pride take center stage at WMU Day

April 25, 2008

KALAMAZOO--A six-foot robotic horse, an award-winning solar car and a noon flyover are just some of the events set for Western Michigan University's display as a premier research institution on the front lawn of Michigan's Capitol Wednesday, May 28.

Two Cirrus SR-20 planes from WMU's fleet of 28 are scheduled to fly over the capitol in Lansing and a replica of the plane will be on display as part of the daylong WMU Day at the Capitol. The event will showcase the programs and people of the University and highlight its contributions as a valuable research institution in the state.

Robo Bronco, a walking, talking and singing chrome robotic horse also will attend as a showcase for the University's engineering talent. Another engineering success, WMU's solar car, Sunseeker, which competed in eight collegiate solar races since 1990 and twice placed in the top six, will be available to view at WMU Day at the Capitol.

Other displays and events include:

A hydraulic or chainless bicycle that placed first in a 12-mile endurance race last fall and won an award for design safety and reliability

A demonstration of Bronco Biodiesel, a faculty initiative which uses restaurant trap grease to develop biodiesel that is used in Kalamazoo buses instead of petroleum diesel

Environmental research projects such as remote sensing of the Great Lakes and reducing atmospheric greenhouse gasses by storing them in Michigan's unique underground rock formations

Displays of workplace ergonomics for blind or low-vision people

Nursing students, who will take blood pressure and dispense information about hypertension

An interactive analysis of posture and shoe-wear

A map of where WMU graduates are working throughout the state

A poster summary of research and a computer-based alternative communication device for people who cannot speak

Registration is underway at www.wmich.edu/wmuday for students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of WMU who plan to participate in the unique showcase event. More than 300 have already registered.

WMU t-shirts, optional bus transportation from Kalamazoo and box lunches will be available for participants who register by Friday, May 9. Participants are still encouraged to register after May 9 but will not be guaranteed a t-shirt, box lunch or a spot on the bus to Lansing.

Members of the WMU community are planning to meet with lawmakers along with the exhibits and displays. Organizers of WMU Day at the Capitol say the purpose of the event is to engage legislators and policymakers on the importance of WMU and the contributions the University makes in providing an educated workforce and advancing the state's economic development.

"Our intent is to increase our visibility as a research university and to show our support for our curriculum. In my college, for instance, we train not only pilots but maintenance personnel, administrators and managers in the aviation field," says Capt. Steve Jones, interim associate dean of the WMU College of Aviation. "We're very proud of our program and feel we've used our knowledge of industry methods to be efficient, cost effective and safe."

The day's activities are expected to run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. WMU is the first university to have a front-lawn capitol presence for such a broad spectrum of programs and groups, including those from its main Kalamazoo campus and its eight branch campuses across the state.

For more information, contact Donna Marks at donna.marks@wmich.edu or (269) 387-2072.

Media contact: Deanne Molinari, (269) 387-8400, deanne.molinari@wmich.edu

WMU News
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
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Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
(269) 387-8400