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Abbey Oldham / WKU Public Radio

An all-day speaker series in Bowling Green this week is dedicated to encouraging participants to make their innovative ideas a reality.

IdeaFestival Bowling Green is being held this Friday at the Downing Student Union Auditorium on WKU’s campus.  The school’s Innovate Kentucky Executive Administrator, Josh Raymer, says some of the topics discussed at this year’s event will include cancer research, branding and imaging, and making online content more social.

“And what we love is that these speakers all come from Kentucky, or neighboring states. So it truly is an example for everyone that these big ideas that you see in New York, or Los Angeles, or Chicago—they’re also happening right here in Kentucky.”

Another topic that will be addressed by several speakers is the future of the automotive industry.

“A lot of Corvette tie-ins, which is appropriate, given that it’s IdeaFestival Bowling Green,” said Raymer. “But once again, that’s about how important it is to stay on the cutting edge of innovation, especially in a hyper-competitive field like the automotive industry.”

The Bowling Green event is an off-shoot of the IdeaFestival held in Louisville each fall since 2000.

More information about this year’s IdeaFestival Bowling Green can be found here.

Kevin Willis

WKU is enhancing its commitment to offer fresh, locally-sourced food products at its campus dining facilities.

The school announced Monday that it had been named Kentucky’s tenth member of  the Farm to Campus program. The state Department of Agriculture will assist WKU in locating and procuring products sold under the Kentucky Proud label.

Edmonson County farmer Alan Davis says the effort will allow him to expand sales of his hydroponic lettuces and salad greens to the university.

“We think it will let us increase our new production and hire a few more employees. We’re really excited about having a place to bring our fresh produce to.”

WKU Sustainability Coordinator Christian Ryan says an increasing number of students are interested in having more local, sustainably-grown food choices on campus.

“Each year, I have more and more students make their way to me and say they want to see more local food here. And even more importantly, they want to know what they can do to help get local food on campus, and I love that.”

WKU

What looked like a WKU Lady Hilltopper blowout turned into a nail biter Friday afternoon in Birmingham.

WKU led Old Dominion by 18 points at the half in their Conference USA semifinal, but had to withstand afurious second-half rally by the Monarchs to win by only two.

WKU senior Alexis Govan hit two free throws with six seconds left to give the Lady Toppers a 61-59 win, and send the team into Saturday's Conference USA championship game against Southern Miss, which defeated Middle Tennessee in the other semifinal.

The winner of Saturday's title game gets an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.

WKU Sigma Alpha Epsilon Advisor Randy Shockey says the actions of just a few members have caused harm to the entire organization nationally.

The SAE chapter at the University of Oklahoma was closed and some members left school after a video went viral showing them singing a racist song saying no African-American would ever become a fraternity member.

Shockey said that's not his fraternity is all about, "It's a wonderful organization and it's disappointing something like this has given us a black eye," Shockey said, "I don't think this is indicative of the fraternity as a whole." He added, "That's not what we stand for and not what we try to instill in our young men."

Shockey said there are currently no African-American members of WKU's fraternity but there have been in the past and they're welcome again in the future. Because of spring break, Shockey hasn't had a chance to talk to the chapter members about the incident yet but says he will this Sunday at their regular weekly meeting.

WKU Athletics

Update:

The WKU Lady Hilltoppers will face Old Dominion in the Conference USA semifinals Friday afternoon in Birmingham.

The game begins at 12:30 pm central. The winner goes on to play in the championship game Saturday, with the winner of that contest earning an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

WKU beat Charlotte 70-67 Thursday in the C-USA quarterfinals.  

Original post:

The WKU Lady Hilltoppers enter their first-ever Conference USA basketball tournament this week as the team to beat.

They won the conference regular season crown, and they boast the league’s Player of the Year, Chastity Gooch, as well as Conference USA Coach and Defensive Player of the Year winners.

WKU

WKU is one step closer to offering a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing.

The Council on Postsecondary Education has approved the school’s proposal, which would allow students to pursue degrees in four tracts: fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, and script-writing for film.

WKU is hoping the film component is something that will help the school’s new program stand out.

“We’re an hour away from Nashville, which has a thriving film industry. We’re about five hours away from Atlanta, which has a thriving film industry. And we have many undergraduates already working in film in Nashville, Atlanta, New Orleans,” said Dr. David Bell, English Professor and Director of Creative Writing at WKU.

If WKU receives approval from The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, it will admit its first class of students seeking the MFA in creative writing this fall.

WKU Athletics

The WKU women’s basketball is heading into their postseason conference tournament with some major individual awards to go along with their number-one seeding.

Conference USA announced Monday that WKU senior Chastity Gooch was named Player of the Year, after averaging over 17 points and 7 rebounds a game.

Sophomore Kendall Noble was named conference Defensive Player of the Year after setting a WKU record for steals in a season.

Michelle Clark-Heard was named conference Coach of the Year for leading the Lady Hilltoppers to a 27-4 record.

The awards were voted on by the league’s head coaches, a media member representing each school, and each school’s sports information director.

WKU plays Thursday in the quarterfinals of the Conference USA tournament, against the winner of Wednesday’s game between Charlotte and Marshall.

Rick Toomey, National Park Service

Researchers say the discovery of a deadly fungal disease in a Warren County cave spells more trouble for the region’s bat populations.

A team of National Park Service scientists found evidence of White Nose Syndrome in Crumps Cave in northern Warren County, near the town of Smiths Grove. WKU owns several acres of land around the cave and operates a research and education preserve there.

White Nose Syndrome, for which there is no known cure, is blamed for the deaths of millions of bats in North America since its discovery in 2006.

The team of NPS researchers observed 53 Tri-colored bats inside Crumps Cave on Feb. 10, with a dozen of them displaying signs of White Nose Syndrome. The disease causes bats to prematurely awaken from their hibernation and leave the cave, which exposes them to freezing conditions. Affected bats use up vital energy and nutrients that are necessary for their survival.

The syndrome was discovered in 2013 in Mammoth Cave National Park, and has led to an 80 percent decline in some bat species found there.

Watch a video about efforts to combat White Nose Syndrome in Mammoth Cave National Park.

WKU

WKU is hosting a debate featuring Kentucky’s four Republican gubernatorial candidates.

The event is being sponsored by the Kentucky chapter of the conservative political advocacy group Americans for Prosperity, which was founded by the billionaire businessmen David and Charles Koch.

Other sponsors are the conservative political publication National Review, and the WKU Department of Political Science.

The event is being held at the Downing Student Union auditorium on the school’s campus April 28, and will focus on health care; taxes and spending; and jobs and the economy.

Matt Bevin, James Comer, Hal Heiner, and Will T. Scott have confirmed they will attend the event.

Tickets to the debate are free and will be made available to the public beginning April 3.

WKU is mourning the loss of a man who spent nearly five decades teaching economics at the school.

Dick Cantrell passed away this week after a battle with cancer. He was a WKU Professor Emeritus of Economics and taught 47 years.

Arrangements for Mr. Cantrell are pending.

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