AU Celebrates Earth Month and Campus Beautification Day
April is Earth Month at American University. As the campus bustles with activities, we invite our neighbors to join us to celebrate. As one of AU’s largest community events, Earth Month provides an opportunity for campus organizations, clubs, departments, programs, and offices to showcase their own active pursuits of sustainability.
Earth Month commemorations run through Earth Day on April 22 and will include a keynote speech by Tommy Wells, former Ward 6 Councilmember and current Director of the District Department of the Environment (DDOE) on April 20 at 1 p.m. in the Woods-Brown Amphitheatre (rain location Kay Chapel).
All events are open to neighbors and friends throughout the community, and we look forward to seeing you on campus.
Campus Beautification Day will be held on Tuesday, April 14 and provide students, faculty, staff, and neighbors an opportunity to pitch in to help beautify the campus by planting new trees, shrubs, and flowers. This event is a university tradition that incorporates both campus beautification and sustainability goals, and strives to build and strengthen the AU community.
If you’d like to join in, please contact Andrew Huff, Director of Community Relations, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 885-2167.
Rain or shine, every Wednesday from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., the quad space around the Mary Graydon building buzzes with activity as students, faculty, staff, and neighbors browse goods ranging from farm-fresh vegetables to homemade breads and desserts at the AU farmers’ market.
The market is a coordinated effort between AU and Pennsylvania-based Agora Farms, an intermediary for bringing Amish, Mennonite, and “English” farm goods to American University’s campus, as well as to D.C.’s historic Eastern Market on Saturdays and Sundays.
In addition, Upper Crust Bakery offers a variety of fresh breads including raisin pecan, harvest grain, pain de campagne, jalapeno cheddar, sourdough, challah, whole wheat, focaccia, black Russian, NY rye, artisan baguettes, and tea breads, as well as chocolate chip cookies, mini pies, and cobblers.
The farmers’ market supports locally-grown food, and offers the convenience of having fresh food right on campus, making it a great benefit to the campus community and the surrounding neighborhood.
Former First Lady Laura Bush Named “Wonk of the Year”
American University’s next Wonk of the Year award will be presented to former First Lady Laura Bush. She'll be the third person to receive this honor, joining former President Bill Clinton and CNN journalist Anderson Cooper. She will accept the award and deliver remarks at AU on Wednesday, April 8 in Bender Arena. The event is hosted by Kennedy Political Union, the student-run lecture series on campus.
KPU Director Tyler Bowders said Bush was selected as Wonk of the Year because of her work to create meaningful change in the world. "Mrs. Bush's impact is felt through her global outreach in addressing issues such as literacy, women's education, combating HIV/AIDS in Africa. Her domestic commitments to women's health span before, during, and after her role as First Lady of the United States," Bowders said.
"Like Clinton and Cooper, Mrs. Bush has been an eyewitness to major events in recent American history and has used her influence to enact both domestic and global change," he added.
Bush has championed education and literacy, co-founding the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C. She has a passion for international human rights issues, a mission she's continued to champion through the work of the George W. Bush Institute.
Bush currently is Chair of the Women's Initiative at the Bush Institute in Dallas. In that role, she oversees the Afghan Women's Project, which highlights the struggles and successes of Afghan women; the First Ladies Initiative, which supports First Ladies in Africa – and beyond – in their efforts to foster change; and the Women's Initiative Fellowship Program for rising female leaders in the Middle East and North Africa.
Recently, Rula Ghani, the First Lady of Afghanistan, visited Dallas and praised Mrs. Bush. "Once committed to a cause, she's relentless, she's resourceful, and she does it so gracefully, and so unobtrusively, that you don't realize her power until faced with her achievements," said Ghani, according to press reports.
Anita McBride, an executive-in-residence at American University's School of Public Affairs, was Mrs. Bush's chief of staff in the White House from 2005-2009. McBride explained how AU devotes resources to examine the legacies of the nation's First Ladies. "It is fitting that we're recognizing one of the most active First Ladies in our history. And she has remained deeply invested, passionate, and committed to issues she was engaged in during public life."
Placing Bush’s position in historical context, McBride explained the multi-faceted role of First Ladies in American democracy. "I think one way that First Ladies are unique is their ability to rise above the political fray, and bring a human side to our politics. And really help remind Americans that our political leaders, no matter who they are, generally get into this because they want to do something good."
“Dream City: Race, Power, and the Decline of Washington, DC” Authors Speak At AU
Recently, DC-based journalists Tom Sherwood and Harry Jaffe spoke at American University about their 20-year old book Dream City: Race, Power, and the Decline of Washington D.C., which was updated with a new afterword last year.
Speaking before Professor Derek Hyra’s Development, Planning and Politics in Washington, DC class, Sherwood and Jaffe discussed the tome’s initial chronicling of DC’s descent amid contradictions and conflicts over race, class, and power. They talked about Congress’ influence over the District’s local affairs, establishment of home rule, and Marion Barry’s influence on the city. Sherwood and Jaffe also discussed the book’s afterword which narrates DC’s subsequent transformation and improvement in the last twenty years. They addressed how new residents have helped bring residential and business developments, the rise and fall of Mayors Adrian Fenty and Vince Gray, and how new corruption charges once again are ending business and political careers. They concluded that while the city remains flawed and polarized, its revival has nevertheless turned it into a distinct world capital – “almost a dream city.”
Sherwood’s and Jaffe’s talk was sponsored by the Metropolitan Policy Center (MPC), for which Professor Hyra serves as director. The MPC is part of AU’s School of Public Affairs and serves to create knowledge and propose solutions to 21st century metropolitan and urban challenges. For more information about the policy center, visit the MPC website. For more information about Sherwood and Jaffe’s book, and to obtain a copy, visit http://www.dreamcitybook.com/.
American University’s new Step Up student group is part of an increased effort to offer additional resources to prevent sexual assault and relationship violence on campus.
The ten-member Step Up student group facilitates on-campus bystander intervention training, and focuses on ways to intervene when an individual witnesses potentially dangerous behavior. Student organizations, fraternities and sororities, Student Government and, residence hall floors can request Step Up training.
Sara Yzaguirre, the coordinator for Victim Advocacy Services who oversees the Step Up group, is impressed and thrilled by students’ enthusiastic response and willingness to participate. She especially was impressed by the number of applicants who vied for the group’s ten unpaid volunteer positions. “It’s great to see how active students are about a variety of topics that are important to them,” she said.
Yzaguirre works alongside Sexual Assault Prevention Coordinator Daniel Rappaport in the university’s Wellness Center. He sees the student-led group as part of a larger, expanding partnership to address the issue.
“It’s been a community effort,” he said. “Collaboration makes it happen, as far as bystander intervention and prevention of gender violence. It has to be everyone, when we’re talking about shifting a climate and a culture. Everyone has to play a role.”
Together in their professional roles, Rappaport and Yzaguirre form what is now called AU’s Office of Advocacy Services for Interpersonal and Sexual Violence (OASIS) – a part of the Wellness Center. Students can reach out to them for confidential conversations about trauma that they or someone they know may experience.
Students in need of help are encouraged to contact OASIS by email, phone call, or office visit. “There is no question too big or too small. There’s no concern that’s unworthy, or something we won’t be able to help them with,” Rappaport said. “It’s our job to provide support, and if we can’t provide it directly, we’ll find someone who can. As a confidential resource, we do that without including anyone else, unless the person wants others included.”
Through Step Up peer educators, OASIS, and resources like the Counseling Center, AU is committed to keeping the campus community safe and well informed. Administrators, students, and faculty in the university’s Sexual Assault Working Group also continue to explore new avenues to address sexual assault and relationship violence.
"Books That Shaped America" Community Discussion Series Continues
Join American University for the Books That Shaped America conversations about literary works that have helped shape American society. Each discussion starts with a focal text, but the conversations stretch beyond the pages of the books themselves. Each discussion is led by a faculty or staff member from AU. Attendees are encouraged – but not required – to have read the featured text. Admission and parking are free for this series, and no RSVP is required to attend.
The Books That Shaped America series is co-sponsored by the American University Library and the Humanities Lab at American University. Please join us for the year’s final discussion:
Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
Tuesday, April 21, 7 – 8:30 p.m.
Training & Events Room (115), Bender Library
The discussion will be led by Marianne Noble, Associate Professor, Department of Literature, College of Arts & Sciences.
Led by certified Kripalu Yoga teacher Eva Blutinger, this yoga class provides mental clarity and relaxation in the peaceful surroundings of art. Participants are required to bring mats. Sessions run every Wednesday through April 29. $5 per class and free for museum members. Cash, credit, or check accepted: http://auyoga.tix.com/Event.aspx?EventCode=700908
Lauren Adams: American Catastrophe Report
Now through April 30, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Katzen Rotunda, Second Floor
Artist Lauren Frances Adams has created American Catastrophe Report, an installation that acts as both homage and critique of the decorative frescoes in the United States Capitol Building, originally painted in the 19th century by Italian-born artist Constantino Brumidi. The site-specific artwork by Adams is installed in both the upper and lower rotunda in the center of the Katzen, less than six miles from where Brumidi's paintings are located. The prints forming American Catastrophe Report have the appearance of paintings due to the unique process Adams uses, where hand-painted originals are scanned digitally, then printed for long-term public display.
Movies That Matter: “Cesar’s Last Fast” (with producer Rick Perez)
April 1, 6:30 – 10 p.m.
Movies That Matter, an ongoing SOC Signature Series of social impact films, includes a wide range of groundbreaking documentary films on the major issues of our time. Movies that Matter events feature appearances by award-winning filmmakers and discussions with content experts and activists. Screening and panel discussion will be open to the public and free of charge. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, visit: http://www.american.edu/soc/partnerships/movies-that-matter.cfm
Visiting Writers Series: Fiction Reading by Jenny Offill
April 1, 8 – 10 p.m.
Abramson Family Founders Room, SIS Building
Jenny Offill writes fiction, nonfiction, and literature for children. She is the author of Last Things and Dept. of Speculation, in addition to being the coeditor (with Elissa Schappell) of The Friend Who Got Away: Twenty Women's True-Life Tales of Friendships That Blew Up, Burned Out, or Faded Away. Of Dept. of Speculation, Elaine Blair writes in the New York Review of Books: "It's short and funny and absorbing, an effortless-seeming downhill ride that picks up astonishing narrative speed as it goes.” A former Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, Offill now teaches in the MFA programs at Brooklyn College, Columbia University, and Queens University of Charlotte. This event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit: http://www.american.edu/cas/literature/mfa/visiting-writers.cfm
Women’s Lacrosse vs. Loyola University
April 8, Jacobs Field
4 – 6 p.m.
Movies That Matter: “Catching A Dream”
April 8, 6:30 – 10 p.m.
Screening and panel discussion will be open to the public and free of charge. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, visit:
International Cinema Series: British Film “Spirit of ‘45”
April 10, 6:30 p.m. Opening Night Reception; 7 p.m. film
This event is presented by National Gallery of Art, American University's School of Communication, School of International Service, and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies. For more information, visit:
American University Chamber Singers: A Blast of Brass
April 11, 8 p.m.; April 12, 3 p.m.
Abramson Family Recital Hall
The American University Chamber Singers are joined by guest artists The Rockville Brass Band (Nigel Horne, director) in a spirited concert to feature John Rutter’s Gloria for chorus and brass and other Renaissance works. The Rockville Brass Band is a traditional British-style brass band and will provide a brief introduction to this specialized genre and its different instruments during the program. Tickets: $10; $5 AU community and seniors. RSVP required:
The annual Campus Beautification Day will take place all over campus. Students, faculty, staff, and the AU community are invited to help plant trees and flowers, spread mulch, and participate in a variety of green activities. Sign-up is from 8 to 11 a.m. in front of the steps of Mary Graydon where free gloves, water, and T-shirts can be picked up. Barbeque and raffle will follow in the Woods-Brown Amphitheater at noon. For more information, visit:
American University Workshop: Living Composers Series: The Music of Steve Antosca
April 17, 8 – 11 p.m.
Abramson Family Recital Hall
The AU Workshop will explore the music and influences of local composer Steve Antosca whose works focus on integrating acoustic instruments with computers for audio technology and spatialization. Antosca’s work has been described as "spectacular and wonderfully provocative" by the The Washington Post. Tickets: $10; $5 AU community and seniors. RSVP Required:
Books That Shaped America is a series of conversations about literary works that have helped shape American society. Each discussion starts with a focal text, but the conversations stretch beyond the pages of the books themselves. Each discussion is led by a faculty or staff member from AU. Attendees are encouraged – but not required – to have read the featured text. Admission and parking are free for this series, and no RSVP is required to attend. For more information, visit: http://www.american.edu/library/events/BTSA.cfm.
American University Symphony Orchestra and American University Chorus: War and Peace
April 24 – 25, 8 p.m.
Abramson Family Recital Hall
American University’s Symphony Orchestra and Chorus join forces to present musical reflections on war and peace. The orchestra will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War by performing Aaron Copland’s Lincoln Portrait, with a narrator reading from Lincoln's own words. The chorus will join the orchestra for a concert opener and Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem, an epic and somber work written as a call for peace in 1936 amidst growing fears of the Second World War. Tickets: $10; $5 AU community and seniors. RSVP required: http://american.tix.com/Schedule.aspx?OrgNum=629