Context from Campus: July 27-31

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Thinking of installing synthetic grass? Don’t do it.
Dry California is seeing a trend among homeowners who are installing artificial lawns to achieve the quintessential green lawn without using the limited water supply. While this might sound like a sustainable option, U city and metropolitan planning professor Sarah Hinners says it’s a bad idea. Natural grass has a cooling effect and filters water as it makes its way into the subsurface, while artificial turf gets hot and may even put pollutants into the groundwater. With more than three-quarters of Salt Lake City’s water use attributed to residential areas, single-family homes, collectively, are the largest water users. Therefore, it is important to find ways for homeowners to have beautiful landscapes that use less water. Hinners has been studying landscape designs that fulfill this need.
Phone: 801-585-1026 | Email: sarah.hinners@utah.edu

Helping refugees understand a new homeland
What happens when refugees arrive in the U.S.? What sort of education and training do they receive about their new country? Currently, very little scholarly literature exists on the topic, but Caren Frost, director of Global Social Work Research at the College of Social Work, is hoping to change that. With help from colleagues at the Division of Public Health (along with state government and nonprofit agencies), Frost and others are holding monthly discussion and training workshops with primarily Burundi and Congolese refugee women to help familiarize them with their new home. The group participants direct the discussion/training topics, and Frost and her colleagues respond by facilitating discussions with community experts. Frost is available to discuss the project and what its outcomes may offer the community.
Phone: 801-581-5287 | Email: caren.frost@socwk.utah.edu

Kindergarten readiness
As the final days of July wind down, back-to-school planning kicks into full gear as Utah students prepare to return to the classroom in August. For parents of the state’s youngest students, one question can often nag at them: Is my child ready for kindergarten? Cheryl Wright, an associate professor in the Department of Family and Consumer Studies, can offer commentary on signs of kindergarten readiness and can offer advice on when an additional year of preschool might be beneficial for a young student.
Phone: 801-581-7712 | Email: cheryl.wright@fcs.utah.edu

Research spotlight: Assessing soldiers’ suicide risk
There’s no shortage of interesting research going on at the University of Utah every day. Brian Baucom and Craig Bryan, assistant professors in the Department of Psychology, and Eric Garland, associate dean for research in the College of Social Work, were recently awarded a $2.4 million Department of Defense grant for a three-year study on “Technologies for Assessing Behavioral and Cognitive Markers of Suicide Risk.” The primary objectives of the research are to determine behavioral and cognitive markers of suicide risk among National Guard service members and their spouses, to improve the neurocognitive measurement of undetected suicidal tendencies, and to improve the feasibility and practicality of assessing suicide risk by using advanced technology solutions. Baucom and Garland are available to talk about what the team’s research aims to achieve.
Brian Baucom | Phone: 801-581-6425 | Email: brian.baucom@psych.utah.edu
Eric Garland | Phone: 801-581-3826 | Email: eric.garland@socwk.utah.edu

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