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2022 Project Abstracts

Sustainable Bourbon-Shrooms: A Mutual Partnership for Kentucky Distillers and Mushroom Farmers

Kentucky bourbon distilleries filled over 2.4 million barrels of bourbon last year, generating over $9 billion for the state economy. The major byproduct of bourbon production is stillage, which consists of the spent grains and liquids leftover from distillation. For every gallon of bourbon produced ~10 gallons of stillage is generated resulting in the production of over 1.25 billion gallons of whole stillage last year. The management and disposal of this whole stillage is a current, growing, and costly problem for Kentucky distilleries (Figure 1). In order to keep a distillery operational, producers commonly dispose of whole stillage as livestock feed or invest significant time, energy, and overhead costs to process it into Distillers Dried Spent Grains (DDSG). On average, these practices typically cost an individual producer over $8000/day in transportation costs or energy and storage overheads associated with transformation of whole stillage into DDSG. These costs and challenges are driving a need to identify strategies for the sustainable, scalable, and more profitable management of waste stillage.

Dr. Tyler Barzee (PI) - Assistant Professor of Bioprocess Engineering and Fermentation,
Dr. Seth DeBolt (Co-PI) - Professor of Horticulture and Director of the James B Beam Institute for Kentucky Spirits,
Norbert Bokros M.Sc (PhD Candidate) - Department of Horticulture,
Zachary Byrd (Master’s student) - Department of Horticulture,
Dr. Virginia Verges (Postdoctoral Fellow) - Department of Horticulture, 

Communicating Corporate Social Responsibility Without Leaving the Community Behind

According to the CDC, 35% of adults in Kentucky are living with at least one type of disability, including mobility (18%), cognition or intellectual (17%), independent living (11%), hearing (8%), or vision (7%) impairments.18 Therefore, to create inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable communities (SDG, Goal 11) in Kentucky—PWD must be meaningfully included and supported in sustainability plans. Additionally, many PWD are reliant on a caregiver to navigate daily challenges and/or make choices (e.g., purchase decisions). Organizations that intentionally include these voices and communicate how their sustainability efforts support specific needs, may (a) minimize the risk of exacerbating inequities, (b) improve company perceptions, and (c) contribute to better environmental outcomes.

The goal of this project is to leverage a transdisciplinary approach to answer this call. This project would develop and pilot inclusive best practices for organizations to implement CSR communication, or augment existing efforts in ways that include and support PWD. This work will be informed by the principles of universal design (UD).19,20 This project seeks to better understand the experience of climate-related issues from the perspective of PWD and their caregivers. Then, using UD principles as a guiding framework, the insights gathered from this research will inform the development of best practices for organizations (both the university and Lexington businesses) to implement inclusive CSR communication. Businesses in general, and strategic communication managers in particular, can use these recommendations to improve their CSR efforts in ways that give voice to more people. Importantly, approaching this project from the lens of UD, all individuals—including those representing other marginalized groups—would benefit from the recommendations.

Dr. Erin B. Hester, PhD — - Assistant Professor, Department of Integrated Strategic Communication, College of Communication and Information
Sarah A. Geegan, PhD — - Assistant Professor, Department of Integrated Strategic Communication
Lindsey C. Mullis, MS — - Disability Program Administrator, UK Human Development Institute
Jason Jones — - Disability Specialist, UK Human Development Institute
Laura Butler, RS, MPH — - Disability Program Administrator, UK Human Development Institute
Ketrell McWhorter, PhD, MBA, ACE-CPT, ACE-FNS —
Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health, College of Public Health
Janie Cambron, RS, MPH — - Associate Dean for Practice and Workforce Development, College of Public Health
Ariel Arthur — - Manager, Center for Health Equity Transformation, College of Medicine

Documenting Change: Creating an Educational Experience Documenting the Adaptive Reuse of the Reynolds/Gray Building

Through documentation, education, and interpretation this project, Documenting Change, seeks to capture the educational opportunities that are presented as construction begins on the new College of Design home, The Gray Design Building. This adaptive reuse project will be a textbook example of sustainable practice in construction and by examining the life of the Reynold’s Building, its multiple uses, and its physical evolution into the Gray Design Building, project proponents seek to leverage the ongoing construction project to create an educational experience that illustrates the importance of adaptive reuse as a tool for sustainability.

PI: SK O’Brien, Assistant Professor, Department of Product Design,
Co-PI: Emily Bergeron, Assistant Professor, Department of Historic Preservation,
Co-PI: R. Travis Rose, Lecturer, Department of Historic Preservation,
Co-PI: Daniel Livingston, Principal Graphic Designer + Part-Time Instructor, College of Design,
Co-PI: Joe Brewer, Director of Technology and Facilities, College of Design,


Nature Rx Design Guidelines and Landscape Implementation on the UK Medical Campus

The project described in this proposal will continue a suite of activities that include education and engagement, design, transformation of selected landscapes, and research assessing human and environmental benefits. While the original project focused on a plan for pilot project design and implementation, this grant proposal is for two intertwined activities that will extend the effort begun in the first challenge grant funded project. One group of activities is concentrated on the continued design and implementation of planting to create a more visually and experientially enveloping nature-infused landscape at the Markey Cancer Center. The second group of activities will develop a design guidelines document that can provide metric-based design guidance for infusing nature into future development on UK’s medical campus.

Therese Bocklage, Professor and Vice Chair for Education, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine;
Stacy Borden, UK Grounds Manager,
Gregory Davis, Professor, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Maureen Dreckman, Acting Facilities Planning Manager, Campus Planning Department,
Rick Durham, Extension Professor and Faculty Advisor to the UK Horticulture Club, Department of Horticulture,
Shari Dutton, Staff Horticulturist, Department of Horticulture,
Connie Jennings, MD Medical Director Integrative Medicine and Health,
Jonathan Larson, Assistant Extension Professor, Department of Entomology,
Jordan Phemister, Lecturer, Department of Landscape Architecture,
Christopher Sass, Associate Professor, Department of Landscape Architecture,


Post-Disaster Sustainable Housing Initiative Resilience & Recovery for the Commonwealth

The Sustainable Housing Initiative proposes to assemble campus experts on residential design, sustainable construction methods and materials, community engagement, and family financial literacy to generate new resources for the Cooperative Extension Service specific to sustainable construction and rehabilitation practices in the aftermath of floods, tornados, or other natural disasters, with a specific focus on financial feasibility, energy efficiency, environmental health, and sustainable materials.

Informed by a steering committee of Extension Agents and community members, the project will generate an illustrated pattern-book to educate both professional and DIY homebuilders on best practices regarding sustainable materials, construction methods, energy efficiency, and environmental health. To complement the publication, we will construct demonstration wall sections and mock-ups for public education as well as assemble a sustainable materials library.

Prof. Jeff Fugate (Project Lead) | Associate Professor of Extension, Architecture Housing and Community Design Specialist |
Brenda Cockerham | Family & Consumer Sciences Agent Cooperative Extension, Johnson County |
Dr. Nichole Huff | Assistant Professor of Extension, Family & Consumer Sciences Family Financial Education Specialist |
Dr. Dan Kahl | Associate Director, CEDIK Community Engagement Specialist |
Prof. Brent Sturlaugson | Assistant Professor, Architecture Sustainable Design Advisor |
Prof. Bruce Swetnam | Associate Professor, Architecture Building Science & Construction Advisor |
Prof. Helen Turner | Associate Professor, Interiors Sustainable Materials Advisor |
Dr. Jeff Young | Director of Urban Extension Disaster Recovery Lead for UK Cooperative Extension |


UK Education Abroad & Exchanges Emission Reductions and Education Initiative

UK Education Abroad & Exchanges (EA) is a unit within the International Center that facilitates high-impact, academically-sound study, intern, research, teach and service abroad programs for UK students. EA’s international education and global learning opportunities prepare students to be more intellectually engaged, interculturally competent and contribute meaningfully to the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the world. In fact, research indicates that education abroad experiences, as a high impact practice, leads to greater student success. 

Every year, approximately 1,000 UK students, from across all colleges, participate in an education abroad experience, which furthers their academic, professional and personal goals. However, international airfare travel is a required component of education abroad and equates to approximately 2,076 mtCO2e of unavoidable emissions. EA recognizes the impact international travel has on the environment and aims to make environmental sustainability a key priority. In addition, EA is committed to embedding an educational component into all education abroad programs, to educate students about their environmental footprint and the importance of sustainable travel practices.

Niamh Minion (Lead PI) Associate Director, Education Abroad & Exchanges UK International Center
Miko McFarland (Co-PI) Executive Director, Education Abroad & Exchanges UK International Center
David Nelson Faculty-Directed Program Coordinator, Education Abroad & Exchanges UK International Center
Jon Hibbard EA Advisor and Ongoing Orientation Coordinator, Education Abroad & Exchanges UK International Center
Sandra Broadwill Alternative Transportation Manager Transportation Services
Jon (Tony) Stallins UK Professor - Environmental and Sustainability Studies & Geography Department
Olivia Tussey UK Student Government Association Executive Team – Director of Sustainability UK Student Sustainability Council – Director of Outreach