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AU in the Neighborhood Newsletter

AU in the Neighborhood Community Relations Newsletter September 2013

August 2012

AU’s Arboretum and Gardens Is Now Level II Accredited

View of amphitheater.

Recently, AU’s Arboretum and Gardens was awarded a Level II Accreditation through the ArbNet program. AU’s Arboretum now is recognized among other professional public gardens in the Morton Register of Arboreta, a comprehensive nationwide list of organizations that collect and display trees, shrubs, and other woody plants for the benefit of the public, science, and conservation.

According to AU’s Landscape Architect Mike Mastrota, “This accreditation helps validate the commitment that American University makes towards being a leader and model of sustainable landscape management. Our campus not only is a beautiful setting, but contributes to the academic mission of the university as a teaching tool and a community resource.”

To be recognized and accredited by the Morton Register of Arboreta, AU was required to show that it met certain professional standards of established arboreta. The Register categorizes arboreta on a three-level scale that reflects their development, capacity, professionalism, and ability to participate or collaborate in certain scientific collections or conservation activities.

AU’s Level II Accreditation signifies that the university’s arboretum includes:

• at least 100 kinds of trees or plants that were planted and grown in accordance with an arboretum plan;

• a collections policy that describes the development and professional management of the plants in accordance with field standards;

• one or more employees whose job responsibilities specifically include management or operation of the arboretum;

• an enhanced educational program and events open to the public; and

• participation in ArbNet, an international initiative to support the work of arboreta in saving and planting trees.

Be sure to visit AU’s Arboretum and Gardens. Free guided tours are available upon request or you can take a self-guided tour with the aid of an arboretum brochure and podcast. For more information, visit the arboretum’s website, or contact them directly at (202) 885-1145 or

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How to Contact Us

Office of Community Relations
(202) 885-2167

Public Safety
non-emergency: (202) 885-2527
emergency: (202) 885-3636
Community Incident Reporting Form

Dean of Students
(202) 885-3300

Parking & Traffic Office
(202) 885-3111



Mitchell Berliner: AU Alumnus, “Serial Entrepreneur,” Sustainability Pioneer

Mitchell Berliner

In the four decades since he graduated from American University, “serial entrepreneur” Mitchell Berliner has come to be regarded as a trailblazer in the sustainable seasonal farm markets and freshly made food-to-go movement. While the importance of sustainability has come to greater prominence in recent years – as evidenced by the considerable efforts by AU’s Office of Sustainability – Berliner has been a proponent of environmentally-friendly practices since his first entrepreneurial endeavor in 1971 when, fresh out of college, he pioneered the concept of organic gourmet-to-go foods.

Forty years later, the Central Farm Markets (CFM), one of Berliner’s latest endeavors, is a venue for sustainable and organic farm products grown and produced locally and serves Bethesda and its surrounding areas. According to Berliner, “Living in an urban environment, it’s easy to lose sight of how and where food comes from and how the environment is affected by our own carbon footprint. By providing a place for local farmers to sell their produce directly, we’re doing our part to reduce the carbon footprint of our communities and help our neighbors live greener, healthier lives.”

The CFM sets a green example for the community through its environmentally-friendly practices. For example, to combat the detrimental effects of food waste, such as the release of greenhouse gases during decomposition, CFM donates tens of thousands of pounds of unsold fresh fruits and vegetables at the end of each market day to local food banks.

“By supplying non-profit organizations such as Manna Foods with fresh produce daily, CFM not only is filling a severe need to help feed the hungry in our community, it also is reducing the methane buildup in local landfills,” notes Berliner.

The CFM also educates its patrons about the environmental benefits of local and seasonal shopping, such as the importance of reducing carbon dioxide emission – a byproduct of transporting food long distances, layers of packaging, and large refrigeration vehicles. By providing a viable, economical outlet for local family farms, the CFM helps to preserve “green spaces” that surround the DC-Metro area.

For Berliner, the CFM is just the latest in a long line of environmentally-friendly and forward-thinking business ventures. After his first post-college organic gourmet-to-go foods business, he expanded into natural and organic frozen foods by introducing Haagen Dazs, Ben & Jerry’s, and Dove Bars to the mid-Atlantic region. He also has developed products and consulted for restaurants throughout the Washington, DC area.

Berliner also has long been active in numerous philanthropic organizations. He served on the board of directors of the American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science and was appointed to the Jean-Louis Palladin Foundation Advisory Board for the James Beard Foundation. Berliner also was inducted into the Maryland Food Industry Hall of Fame for his foresight and contribution to the food industry and his longstanding involvement with numerous charitable and civic organizations.

Asked what he plans to venture into next, Berliner joked, “I’m going to go into therapy before I start another business.”

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Fall 2012 Welcome Week Begins August 18

Fall Welcome Week

The AU campus soon will swing into high gear, as the fall semester gets under way. Welcome Week begins on Saturday, August 18, the first day students can move into their residence halls, and comes to a close on Friday, August 24.

During this week before classes begin, most first-year students participate in one of AU’s hallmark welcome programs that range from service to sustainability, civic engagement to athletic engagement all highlighting AU’s connections to Washington, DC as an extension of campus. In one such program, the Freshman Service Experience (FSE), more than 600 incoming students each year work during the week in small groups by joining forces with nonprofit organizations to learn about social justice. To learn more about students’ activities, visit the Welcome Week website.

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Fall for the Arts: A Unique Celebration of the Arts at American University

Fall for the Arts

Fall for the Arts on September 15, a unique celebration that will feature an afternoon of dynamic classes and hands-on workshops. The day will conclude with an elegant reception in the Katzen Arts Center and a live auction of art by renowned artists. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Arts at AU.

Highlights of classes and workshops include:

Stage Combat for Dummies – Experience firsthand the basic techniques of stage combat with visiting professor Robert Hunter Williams.

So Think You Can't (Understand Modern) Dance? –Through learning and creating movement, and discussing and watching live performance, AU dance program Artist in Residence Christopher K. Morgan will help remove the cloud of mystery that sometimes surrounds modern dance.

Discover the Magic of a Hollywood Sound Stage – Audio Technology faculty, Paul Oehlers and Matt Boerum, show you how to create the sounds that make the movie. Learn how celery sticks break bones, how thunderstorms exist in a sheet of metal, and how a gut-wrenching psychopath makes silence the scariest sound of all.

Big Kids@Katzen Studio Art Class – Experience the grown-up version of American University's Kids @ the Katzen, a unique art program for children which distinguishes itself by featuring an artist whose work is currently on display in the Art Museum. No experience is necessary and we will provide you with all supplies and an apron.

Schedule of the Day

12 p.m. Registration (open until end of event)

2 - 5 p.m. Course sessions

  • 2 - 2:45 p.m. Course Session 1
  • 3 - 3:45 p.m. Course Session 2
  • 4 - 4:45 p.m. Course Session 3

5 p.m. Cocktail Reception Begins

6:30 p.m. Art Auction Begins

The event is open to the public. For more information, contact Mimi Fittig at 202-885-2436.

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Osher Lifelong Learning Institute Enters Its Third Decade


Celebrating its 30th year this fall, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at AU offers a unique opportunity for older people to continue learning at the university level. OLLI is part of a national network that includes 119 institutes in all 50 states, and offers 71 study groups based on peer learning and teaching. Guided by the philosophy that “learning is a lifelong process,” OLLI’s fall 2012 catalog offers courses on politics, history, science, art, music, and much more. There also are no tests or grades. OLLI members can use the AU library, computers, parking, shuttle service, campus store, dining facilities, and join the Jacobs Fitness Center at a reduced rate.

To find out more about the OLLI fall semester and how to become a member and register for study groups, visit, or stop by the open house on September 25th from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. at Temple Baptist Church, 3860 Nebraska Ave., NW. Guest lecturer Janet Brown, the executive director of the Commission on Presidential Debates, will provide a preview of the fall debates at 2 p.m.

Fall classes run from September 19 to December 14. OLLI’s weekly Fall Speaker Series (free) begins on October 3 from 12:15 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. and will be posted on their website in August.

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Construction Work in Progress

Construction Camera

Construction work now is well under way on a number of capital projects including the new North Hall adjacent to the President’s Office Building, expansion of Nebraska Hall, renovation of the McKinley Building on the quad, modernization of student housing facilities at Letts North, and installation of chilled water piping to connect the university’s air conditioning system with the planned North Hall. Webcams also have been installed at the North Hall, Nebraska Hall, and McKinley Building work sites. Construction work progress may be viewed at the sites’ Media Gallery pages:


Be sure to visit the “Building AU” website to get all the most up-to-date information about specific projects, timelines, construction phases, architect’s renderings, and construction manager contact information. The website also provides notice to our neighbors of any possible, temporary impact that construction may have on the community.

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Calendar of Events

Tuesday, August 14 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. AU Men’s Soccer vs. Towson University (exhibition) at Reeves Field.

Saturday, August 18 Students will begin to move into their residence halls.

Saturday, August 18 from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. AU Field Hockey vs. University of Delaware (scrimmage) at Jacobs Field.

Friday, August 24 Last day for student move-in.

Friday, August 24 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. AU Field Hockey vs. University of Richmond at Jacobs Field.

Friday, August 24 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. AU Women’s Volleyball vs. Georgetown University at Bender Arena.

Saturday, August 25 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. AU Women’s Volleyball vs. George Mason University at Bender Arena.

Sunday, August 26 from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. AU Field Hockey vs. Old Dominion University at Jacobs Field.

Monday, August 27 Fall classes begin.

Tuesday, August 28 The Office of Alumni Relations and School of Public Affairs invite alumni, parents, and friends to a reception during the Republican National Convention. Hosted by new SPA Dean Barbara S. Romzek, the reception will feature remarks by Anita McBride, executive in residence at AU's Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies, and chief of staff to former first lady Laura Bush, and Michael Cohen, SIS-SOC/BA '94, author of Live from the Campaign Trail. There is no charge to attend.

Thursday, August 30 from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. DC College Cup: George Washington University vs. George Mason University at Reeves Field.

Thursday, August 30 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. DC College Cup: American University vs. Howard University at Reeves Field.

Friday, August 31 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. AU Field Hockey vs. Ohio State University at Jacobs Field.

Friday, August 31 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. AU Women’s Soccer vs. Liberty University at Reeves Field.

Friday, August 31 Celebrate AU at Nationals Park for an evening of Washington Nationals baseball and AU community fun. Join fellow alumni, current students, and friends for a picnic dinner at the ballpark before the game, watch President Kerwin throw out the first pitch before the Nats take on the St. Louis Cardinals. $25 per person includes dinner, a Nationals WONK t-shirt, and a ticket to the game.

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For event details and a full list of all upcoming events, see the University Events Calendar.

For a listing of upcoming events for AU alumni, please visit the Alumni Events Calendar.