UA Statewide Briefs

UAF teams raise $37,000 for healthy hearts

FAIRBANKS – University of Alaska Fairbanks teams, led by Judy Jones and Marianne Freelong, strode past their goal and raised more than $37,000 for the American Heart Association Saturday during the 2008 Fairbanks Heart Walk.

The money, raised by 170 faculty, staff and students, funds research on heart disease and strokes. The 1- or 2.5-mile walk also promotes exercise and physical fitness.

“It was a no-brainer for both Steve and I to get involved,” said Judy Jones, wife of UAF Chancellor Steve Jones. “Heart disease has affected nearly everyone; it’s a real easy cause to get behind. Both of my parents died of heart disease and Steve’s dad also.”

In order to foster competitive fundraising, UAF departments organized smaller teams, including the Center for Health and Counseling, athletics department and Facilities Services, which was the lead fundraiser. Freelong led the Facilities Services team and was the top UAF female fundraiser with $3,000 in donations. She helped organize the teams, which used luncheons, bake sales, raffles and auctions to boost UAF’s total donations. Her participation, like that of Jones and many others, was a result of personal loss.

“I participate,” Freelong said, “because in 2004, weeks before the Heart Walk, my sister passed away from a heart anomaly. The event triggered something in me and I knew I had to do something. I do this to honor my sister; I don’t want her to have died in vain.”

UAF alumna Billie Blanchard and her husband, Randy, led the local Heart Walk, which raised more than $224,000 from about 1,500 participants. Last year UAF teams raised about $42,000, making the university the top Heart Walk fundraiser in Fairbanks. This year, UAF was second to the Fairbanks Memorial Hospital team, which raised nearly $45,000.

Mat-Su holds CERT training

- Advertisement -

MATANUSKA VALLEY – The Mat-Su College had the first and only team trained in Community Emergency Response Team procedues in the entire University of Alaska system. A disaster simulation took place on April 16. All volunteer victims were Matanuska-Susitna College students. Photos can be found at

Steel bridge team takes first at regionals

FAIRBANKS – The UAF steel bridge team took top honors in late April at the 2008 regional Student Steel Bridge competition at the American Society of Civil Engineers Pacific Northwest Conference at Portland State University.

The six-member team was among 16 teams from universities across the Pacific Northwest competing in the annual contest, which requires students to design and build a 20-foot steel bridge capable of supporting 2,500 pounds. They must strictly adhere to a set of complicated rules in the bridge’s design and assembly. The teams are then judged on how quickly they can assemble their bridge, as well as the aesthetics of the structure and its construction economy, lightness, stiffness and structural efficiency.

UAF team members began design on the bridge at the beginning of the spring semester, according to adviser and engineering professor Leroy Hulsey. They did the bulk of construction over spring break. The steel bridge team is a class, Hulsey said, though most team members put in many hours beyond what is required for a three-credit class.

“Some of these young men were working 40 to 50 hours a week on this one class,” he said. “It’s not a trivial task.”

The UAF team took first place overall in the competition, as well as first place in lightness and economy, second place in aesthetics and efficiency, third place in stiffness and fifth place in construction speed. The team competed in the national steel bridge contest in Gainesville, Fla., May 23-24.