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University of Iowa News Release


Aug. 4, 2008

Sustainability, flood recovery featured at UI's Iowa State Fair exhibit

The University of Iowa will demonstrate its remarkable efforts in energy sustainability and flood recovery at its 2008 Iowa State Fair exhibit Thursday, Aug. 7 through Sunday, Aug. 17 in the Varied Industries Building on the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines.

The theme of the UI State Fair exhibit is "Be remarkable," highlighting the university's remarkable research, athletics and educational programs. In the exhibitor area, the UI will present some remarkable work from its faculty and staff.

"This year's fair is different because of the catastrophic event we recently had that is still very fresh in peoples' minds," said Scott Ketelsen, associate director for marketing communications in the UI Office of University Relations and chair of the university's state fair efforts. "We hope to give some visuals of the flooding for people who aren't from Eastern Iowa as well as imagery and information to help people understand the university's efforts to become less energy dependent and more effective in generating energy internally."

Fair-goers will also have the chance to meet former standout Hawkeye athletes, along with Herky and the UI cheer and dance teams. Floyd of Rosedale, the wrestling national championship and other trophies will be on display. Daily drawings will be held for Hawkeye football tickets and other UI athletics events. The Hawk Shop will sell a wide range of merchandise for fans of all ages, and there will be plenty of giveaways such as the Hawkeye temporary tattoos and football posters.

At its display on Tuesday, Aug. 12, the University Hygienic Laboratory will discuss regions affected by the flood, areas where the water has been tested and public health issues that arose in the wake of the flood. A children's game where participants "fish" in a well will demonstrate what is in Iowans' water.

The UI College of Engineering and UI Power Plant will show current and future sustainability opportunities for Iowa and the university at a display Wednesday, Aug. 12. In 2002, the UI Power Plant and Quaker Oats cereal manufacturing plant in Cedar Rapids partnered to create the UI's Biomass Fuel project as a way to cut energy costs and reduce harmful emissions by burning oat hulls.

Their exhibit will explain how oat hulls are burned for fuel and highlight research being done to improve the process and establish guidelines so municipalities can switch to renewable energy, according to UI Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Albert Ratner.

"Our long-term goal is to help the university and supply power in a sustainable way," Ratner said. "It also is to show everyone else in the state how to take their local natural resources and use them to generate power as well."

On the first day of the fair, Thursday, Aug. 7, the Iowa Center for Assistive Technology Education and Research in the College of Education will show how people with disabilities can partake in everyday activities in both academic and nonacademic environments using such devices as a head-controlled mouse, scan-and-read programs and a screen enlarger.

The "Iowa Archaeology on the Road" exhibit Saturday, Aug. 16 will reveal Iowa's history through 650 generations of artifacts. This year, UI archaeologists took Iowa archeology on the road to communities along the route of the Des Moines Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI). The exhibit will display some of Iowa's historic artifacts, provide opportunities to use prehistoric technology and view video scenes from an award-winning documentary and ride the route across Iowa with Team Archaeology on a virtual field trip to archaeology sites. Visitors are also encourage to bring along their own local artifacts for examination and identification by an expert.

"We are hoping to educate people on Iowa archeology and what it has to offer," said John Hall, a technician in the Geographic Information Systems Program at the UI Office of the State Archaeologist and co-chair of Team Archeology. "A lot of cultural information is lost due to progress. We want to make people aware of it and help us preserve our past."

A full listing of UI events and special appearances scheduled for the run of the fair, Aug. 7-17, is available online at

For more information on the Iowa State Fair, visit

SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Scott Ketelsen, 319-384-0018,; George McCrory 319-384-0012,; Writer: Aly Dolan