MUM’s Innovative Sustainable Living Center @MaharishiU Featured in Solar Tribune

November 13, 2014

Small College Makes Solar a Big Priority

Nestled among the cornfields of Southeastern Iowa, Maharishi University of Management is not your typical small college. More than 40 years after its founding, this unique campus has become a showcase of sustainability and solar technology.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, best known as man who taught meditation to The Beatles, bought the defunct Parsons College campus in Fairfield, Iowa in 1971 and set up an accredited university to teach his philosophy of world peace and enlightenment through meditation. Along with computer science, accounting and BA, MA and PhD programs, the curriculum stresses healthy lifestyles and a healthy environment.

Biology Professor David Fisher launched the nation’s first four-year BA program in Sustainable Living at MUM in 2003. The Sustainable Living Department offers courses in solar, wind and other alternative energy systems, water management, permaculture, alternative building techniques, and performance design for the built environment, and their building serves as a hands-on showcase for the technologies they teach. On an annual basis, the building is not only a “net zero” building, but actually produces as much as 40% more energy than it consumes. The excess energy offsets electricity used elsewhere on campus.

South wall of MUM Sustainable Living Center

Opened in 2012, the Schwartz-Guich Sustainable Living Center at MUM is a showpiece of green building technology. The 6,900 square foot building features sustainable infrastructure including daylighting, a greenhouse and edible landscaping, gardens, rain catchment, earth block and “whole tree” construction and both solar thermal and solar photovoltaic (PV), as well as a wind turbine. The architectural style, known as “Vedic” architecture, marries eastern and western styles and reflects the philosophy of the university, while exceeding LEED platinum standards.

Daniel Chiras PhD is currently a visiting professor at the Sustainable Living Center. Dan serves as the Director of the Evergreen Institute and is author of over 30 books on solar and sustainability topics, including The Natural House, The Solar House, The Homeowner’s Guide to Renewable Energy and many more. Chiras said of the MUM building: “The Sustainable Living Center is one of the greenest—if not the greenest—classroom buildings on a college campus in the world! It’s an extraordinary model of ecological sustainability and an inspiration to those seeking to build a sustainable human future. The building is a pleasure to teach in and a great learning tool for students.”

Solar Features At The SLC:

The Sustainable Living Center sports 12.5 kW of PV panels to provide electricity. The PV panels are grid-tied by two 2.5 kW and one 5 kW SMA Sunny Boy inverters. An Outback 3.6 kW battery based inverter also stores energy in an off-grid battery bank. The solar PV at the Center puts out an average of 16,250 kWh per year.

A drain-back solar water heating system with 750 square feet of evacuated tube solar thermal collectors capture solar energy that is then stored in a 5,000 gallon tank, where it is then pumped through the in-floor heating system. The collectors provide about 30% of the heating for the building. Additional heat comes from a ground source heat pump, which uses electricity from the solar and wind systems to provide 75,000 BTUs per hour.

In addition to the solar arrays, The Sustainable Living Center features a Bergey XL 10 wind turbine on a 100 foot latticed tower. The estimated annual output is 17,000 kWh, with power production peaking in the winter and spring. This compliments the solar PV, which produces most of its power during the summer months, when wind speeds are typically much lower.

The SLC has an annual energy use of about 30,000 kWh, including lighting, heating and cooling, fresh air circulation office equipment and classrooms, which is already amazingly low for a building of its size.

Not only at the Sustainable Living Center, but across the entire MUM campus, sustainability initiatives are in full effect. In fact, the school achieved a perfect score for sustainable food sourcing and is the first college in the United States to offer an organic, 100% vegetarian menu. The college encourages bicycling and energy efficiency and is currently in the planning stages of a large-scale solar array to offset more of their electrical use with solar energy.

Read more about the MUM Sustainable Living Center at: https://www.mum.edu/academic-departments/sustainable-living/buildings/sl-bldg

Article reprinted with permission from the author. Solar Tribune is a solar news, education, and advocacy website. Article is published under: .

See more news about MUM’s SLC in this Des Moines Register article: Fairfield defines community action. There was a lot of news coverage on the official opening of MUM’s SLC, April 20, 2012. Here are two TV News reports, with links to other reports: KTVO News: Groundbreaking Sustainable Living Center a source of pride in Fairfield and WHO News: BEYOND GREEN: Building Produces Extra Energy. Also see The Fairfield Ledger: M.U.M.’s newest building sets new green standards.

Fairfield’s Solar-Powered KRUU-LP 100.1 FM Radio Featured on the Cover of Cityscape

November 11, 2014

Cityscape

Fairfield’s KRUU 100.1 FM Featured on the Cover of Cityscape, Nov 2014

FAIRFIELD – KRUU host Talia Winningham and her Tea Time Camaraderie team grace the cover of this month’s Cityscape, a glossy publication put out by the Iowa League of Cities. Cityscape is a leading source of information for city officials in Iowa delivered to some 870 member cities.

Written by KRUU station manager James Moore on request, “What Local Radio Has Meant to Fairfield” gives a brief history of the station, now in its 8th year of broadcasting. There are pictures of President Barack Obama and former Governor Chet Culver holding up KRUU t-shirts (then governor Tom Vilsack received the first t-shirt but was not photographed). Other shots include Fairfield Mayor Ed Malloy presenting a KRUU Listener Appreciation Mayoral Proclamation and Great Taste host Steve Boss interviewing Eldon Pie Lady Beth Howard.

KRUU became the Midwest’s only solar-powered radio station, designed, donated and delivered by the community, on September 9th, 2009 at 9am. The piece also highlights the station’s role in spearheading the successful three-day free annual music and more festival known as FAIRfest, held the third weekend in June; the production of a 20-part radio series in 2011 on statewide sustainability and energy efficiency done in conjunction with the Iowa Power Fund and MUM Media & Communications Department; and some of the scores of programs offered by the 100% locally-produced, nonprofit station who lives up to its mission of giving voice to the community.

As a solar station KRUU helps brand the community’s creative, cultural, entrepreneurial and sustainable elements and has inspired tens of thousands of volunteer hours with people from every age group and walk of life, according to Moore.

“It’s been more work than any of us imagined and more fun, too,” station co-founder Roland Wells is quoted in the piece. “It’s amazing what people can do, given the chance. Especially in these days of conglomeration, consolidation and syndication. A local radio station is a rare opportunity for a community’s unique flavors to be celebrated and shared.

“KRUU also streams online at KRUUfm.com, attracting over 100,000 visitors a month to its website. Just today, Moore said, someone called the station, asking for a cheesecake recipe she heard on the Great Taste program. Where are you calling from, he asked? East LA, she said, and we listen every week. I just wish I was in Fairfield for the show. Did you say East LA? Moore asked. Did you know Los Lobos headlined our summer festival this year? She said, No kidding, I went to school with Conrad (Lozano, the bass player)! We both laughed and said, what a small world.

To see Cityscape magazine’s two-page spread on Fairfield with photos, click forward to pages 8-9 in the November 2014 issue: http://www.bluetoad.com/publication/?m=26842&l=1.

Media contact: James Moore, KRUU-FM, at 641 233-1617. Here is the text of the article:

Read the rest of this entry »

3 beautiful and profound short poems by Hafiz about the nature of God within us

October 23, 2014

Hafiz reveals the brilliant, compassionate nature of God within us

Here are 3 beautiful and profound short poems by Hafiz that reveal the hidden compassionate nature of God within us, and in a God-realized person. Published in “A Year With Hafiz: Daily Contemplations,” and translated by Daniel Ladinsky, each poem is for a specific day of the year.

Hidden

Even the shadow of God is brilliant, so brilliant,
so much so even God has trouble looking at
Himself as that . . . unless He is more disguised,
hidden in illusion, hidden as He can be, in us.

May 19, page 155

* * * * *

It Is My Nature

It is the nature of this world to share
its burden with you.

And it is my nature to remove it from
your back.

August 19, page 255

* * * * *

Once A Young Woman Said To Me

Once a young woman said to me, “Hafiz, what
is the sign of someone who knows God?”

I became very quiet, and looked deep into her
eyes, then replied,

“My dear, they have dropped the knife. Someone
who knows God has dropped the cruel knife

that most so often use upon their tender self
and others.”

January 31, page 33

Other beautiful poems by Hafiz are also posted here: Hafiz via Ladinsky describes the spiritual transformation of loving deeply within himself | For Hafiz the role of an enlightened poet is to connect humanity with the joy of the divine | Hafiz said to leave something in the marketplace, and Jesse Winchester sure did before he left us.

 

The Value of Service, a poem inspired by my son

October 19, 2014

The Value of Service
(Inspired by a conversation with my son)

Service is a good thing
It frees you from yourself
And that brings happiness
It all comes back to you

All love flows to the Self
It all depends on you

© Ken Chawkin
October 18, 2014
Fairfield, Iowa

And in the end the love you take
Is equal to the love you make
The End, Abbey Road, The Beatles

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi talks about the true nature of love in this 1970 video at Humboldt, California: All Love is Directed Toward the Self

See what self-love looks like in the digital age in this selfie post

Two innovative creative videos remind us how social media can destroy not build relationships

October 16, 2014

Love in the Digital Age

Love in the Digital Age

Our current obsession with social media and mobile devices seems to have improved our connectivity with each other, but it is also changing it for the worse. Here are two innovative creative videos that remind us how social media can destroy, not build, relationships.

Lee Ross’s creatively produced vignette brilliantly demonstrates the breakdown in human interaction; while Prince Ea intelligently raps about the problem, ironically pointing out what we’re missing. They both beg the question: Are we really living life, communicating and developing meaningful relationships?

1. From a comedic perspective, 4G Love, by LEE ROSS, is a funny but sadly true depiction of cellphone addiction destroying relationships. The full 5-minute film is available on Vimeo and posted on YouTube. The shorter (3 & 1/2 minute) viral version embedded here is now updated with the original music score. Share customized links to both short: bit.ly/4gLOVE and full: bit.ly/4G-Love versions, as you like.

2. We are so consumed by our phones and social networks, we sometimes forget how to live. Prince Ea says the obvious in this video: Why I Refuse to Let Technology Control Me: You need not delete your social networks or destroy your cell phones, the message is simple, be balanced, be mindful, be present, be here. :) If you like his message you can download the digital audio Can We Auto-Correct Humanity?

Rick Hotton’s Holy Mole´ cartoon amusingly makes the same point. There are other videos out there on this topic. Here are two poems about the problem, Look Up by Gary Turk, and a counter argument, Look Down (‘Look Up’ Parody) by Spencer & Alex. Clever, both of them, with charming British accents.

I cropped and titled the top image by British photographer Adam Gray.

@David_Lynch’s MA in Film program @MaharishiU encourages creativity cultivated by consciousness

October 12, 2014

Des Moines Register’s Kyle Munson profiles the David Lynch MA in Film at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield and Vedic City, Iowa.

On Thursday, October 9, 2014, I hosted The Register’s Iowa journalist Kyle Munson and photographer Mary Willie. Kyle had contacted me during the week because of David Lynch’s announcement to produce 9 new episodes of Twin Peaks for Showtime. This seemed to be the tipping point to finally visit our Masters Program in Film in David Lynch’s name. For information on the David Lynch MA in Film at MUM, visit http://filmschool.mum.edu.

Kyle said his report would appear this weekend. I checked online Saturday night to find Kyle’s video and Mary’s photos about MUM’s DLMA, both in an article: Vedic City film school program enters 2nd year. This is how it appears in the Sunday Register.

The title may appear to be a bit confusing since the David Lynch MA in Film is part of Maharishi University of Management, based in Fairfield, Iowa. But the graduate film department classrooms and offices are located in Headley Hall in neighboring Maharishi Vedic City.

As a result they’ve now retitled the article to read: Munson: David Lynch and the ‘Twin Peaks’ of Iowa. The article starts out referencing one of the most famous lines from David Lynch’s iconic TV series, Twin Peaks.

It’s easier to find a “damn fine cup of coffee” here than in other Iowa towns two or three times the size.

At least a few top-notch coffee shops surround the town square — not to mention a vast array of vegetarian and organic cuisine far beyond the staple pork tenderloin or rural fixture of “Taco Tuesday.”

It’s all part of the familiar plotline about how Fairfield, pop. 9,447, has evolved in the last 40 years into a surprising cosmopolitan oasis on the prairie thanks to the global influx of followers of the late Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. They practice Transcendental Meditation (TM) — at least 20 minutes twice a day — as a means to promote peace and unlock their creativity. They have trekked here since the Maharishi University of Management (MUM) was founded on the former Parsons College campus as a center of “consciousness-based education.”

Kyle interviews Joanna Plafsky, the one who created the program; John Raatz, the new executive director who also brought Jim Carrey to give this year’s commencement address; as well as some of the students who came from far and wide for the graduate film program, including the international scholarship winner, Agnes Baginska, whose film was selected by David Lynch himself. Agnes posted a scan of the full article on her website and her Facebook Timeline Photos. Read the rest of the article here. Click on these titles to see the video and photos.

Kyle Munson’s Iowa: David Lynch starts film school in Iowa

David Lynch starts film school in Iowa

The David Lynch MA in Film at the Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield and Vedic City began a year ago. The second year of the “Twin Peaks” filmmaker-focused curriculum is underway. Kyle Munson/The Register

16 photos: David Lynch film school in Vedic City, Iowa

16 photos - David Lynch film school in Vedic City, Iowa

Fairfield Iowa is the home of David Lynch’s MA film program which encourages creativity cultivated by consciousness at Maharishi University of Management Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014. Mary Willie/The Register

I already put some of the photos up on my Pinterest account, which go on Twitter. Also posted the links to the photos and the video on Google+ and Twitter. Even though I officially retired, I could not pass up this PR OP! :-)

Related news: Fairfield Creatives Get Started.

I learned #TMmeditation 47 years ago today

September 30, 2014

On September 30, 1967, I started Transcendental Meditation, 47 years ago today in Montreal, Canada. I would meet TM founder Maharishi Mahesh Yogi nine months later on a course at Chateau Lake Louise. The CBC were there making a documentary film, The Guru, for their TV series, Telescope, the first show to broadcast in color the year before. Watch the 1968 film of Maharishi at Lake Louise

Richard Day, a friend I would later meet, said he had been working on the hotel staff of Chateau Lake Louise at the time we were there and the film was being made. The staff was given an introductory lecture on Transcendental Meditation and a number of them learned, my friend-to-be included. He said “Maharishi met with those of us who had been instructed. What a great time that was.” He said he remembered bringing his parents downstairs in Toronto that September to watch Telescope’s first program of the new season: The Guru. Same with me and my family in Montreal.

Richard shared a story he had heard many years later about the director of the film who told Maharishi that he wanted to film him saying something that would encapsulate all his teachings. Maharishi said, “I’ll walk by the lake, you walk with me, and I’ll tell you everything about spiritual development!” He did it in one take. That’s the part I had transcribed and posted in Maharishi describes the nature of inner life: bondage and liberation, and gaining bliss consciousness through Transcendental Meditation.

Most of you may not know it but I’ve retired from MUM since the summer and have been enjoying the freedom of not having to work. It’s been a very fulfilling career for me, especially being a part of the Media Team with Bob Roth. We accomplished amazing publicity together, and I continued on my own, globally publicizing our MUM researchers and their TM studies, among other things. Will continue to keep you posted on TM news and other things as they become available. There are some exciting new projects coming up!

Scheherazade Incarnate, poem for Valerie

September 17, 2014

Scheherazade Incarnate
(For Valerie)

Beautiful, Passionate, Sexy,
You want to love her.
But don’t do what Shahryar did,
And most men do — kill the gift —
Eat the fruit and throw away the core,
The essence — and be done with her.

But instead, she’ll go to your head
And heart, with her wondrous stories
Of transformation, keeping you
Transfixed, wanting more —

You’ll never want to leave her
Nor want her to leave
Scheherazade Incarnate
Forever

© Ken Chawkin
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Fairfield, Iowa

Read some of Valerie’s articles at Rebelle Society
And this interview at TMhome.com

See the List of One Thousand and One Nights characters
Listen to Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade / Gergiev · Vienna Philharmonic · Salzburg Festival 2005

Remembering 9–11, The Merciful Nature of Time

September 11, 2014

Remembering 9–11

When it comes to dealing with adversity, accepting it is not always easy, especially when it involves a devastating sudden loss, like what happened on 9-11, (September 11, 2001), 13 years ago today. Many had to accept it, live with it, and over time, hopefully distance themselves from the painful memories of the loss of their loved ones.

Same thing if it’s an ongoing situation, where you see someone you love disappearing before your eyes due to some incurable disease. Maybe it’s not as devastating. I don’t know. Grief is grief; it’s not easy. But our perspective could change over time. And that can be the merciful nature of time. Here is a haiku about it.

The Merciful Nature of Time

Time is kind to us
It lets us get used to change
Then we can move on

© Ken Chawkin
September 11, 2014

Does Time Heal All Wounds?

They say, Time heals all wounds. But does it? Not according to , a counselor who specializes in end-of-life and bereavement matters. He says it’s what you do with the time that heals. Read his article published  in Psychology Today’s The Journey Ahead.

The David Lynch Foundation

One organization helping people deal with adversity and various forms of traumatic stress and grief is the David Lynch Foundation. Visit their website and see how they are Healing Traumatic Stress and Raising Performance in At-Risk Populations http://davidlynchfoundation.org. See DLF executive director Bob Roth speak at Google Zeitgeist 2014.

 

The Enlightened Heart, a poem by Ken Chawkin

September 7, 2014

I wrote this poem, The Enlightened Heart, in the late 1980s, over 25 years ago. I had begun writing a lot of poetry back then. A few years later, in the early 90’s, I recited it at a World Peace Assembly in Maharishi University’s Golden Dome. I was asked to read two poems that day; the first one was Seeing Is Being. It took a lot of courage to ask to read my poems in front of a few hundred people, but I wanted it to be a birthday present to myself. I was glad to have been invited. The poetry reading produced a wonderful effect within me and the audience.

The Enlightened Heart

There is a sea of love
flowing within my heart;
each drop contains a world,
a wave of feeling,
rolling out to a not-too-distant shore.

You are dwelling there
upon that shore,
warming under the sun above.

When you dive deep inside this sea,
you stir the me,
that’s becoming the we,
and melt the three
into a unity,
that remembers its own eternity;

in the eternally-flowing sea
of love.

Some poems you might like from that earlier era are: Ode To The Artist, and its companion piece Sometimes Poetry Happens. Also see As Above, So Below and a complementary poem, Pine Cone Trees, written several years later while living in Houston, Texas. This poem, Being in Nature, was written after I had returned to Canada to live in Vancouver, British Columbia. After returning to the US, I wrote this poem, Poetry – The Art of the Voice, while living in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Boone, North Carolina. It beautifully expresses the feeling that was created in the dome. You can see more of My poems on The Uncarved Blog.


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