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AU in the Neighborhood Newsletter

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January 2016

Major Construction Complete at New Washington College of Law at Tenley

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American University is proud to announce that major construction of the new Washington College of Law on the Tenley Campus is complete. The law school will open for the spring 2016 semester on Monday, Jan. 11, followed by a ribbon-cutting ceremony scheduled for 2 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 12. U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and DC Mayor Muriel Bowser will participate in the official opening ceremony. Additional events also are being planned for alumni and friends as part of the Celebration Weekend.  

The opening follows two years of construction on the Tenley Campus, featuring new structures that define a prominent new identity for the law school, while also honoring the rich historic legacy of the site. The new law college – built on an 8 1/2-acre space one block from the AU-Tenleytown Metro station – accommodates a student population of 2,000 and a faculty and staff of 500 with 312,000 square feet of facilities and parking for 400 vehicles. The new law school campus features:

•  37,000 square feet of teaching space

•  500-seat conference center, Claudio Grossman Hall

•  5 courtrooms – the largest being a state-of-the-art, 60-seat courtroom for class, appellate, and mock courtroom activities

•  60-seat Atrium Café and 223-seat dining hall

•  847-seat, 2 1/2 floor Pence Law Library

•  5,400 square foot outdoor courtyard

All new construction embraced and incorporated the historic Capital Hall and its chapel, as well as Dunblane House. It also retained open and accessible green public spaces, and improved the existing front lawn and perimeter of the site to increase opportunities for public access and enjoyment.

More information about the ribbon-cutting will be provided in the February edition of AU In The Neighborhood.  

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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

Neighbors Invited to Town Hall with President Kerwin & New Year’s Reception

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American University cordially invites its neighbors to the annual Town Hall meeting with President Neil Kerwin, to be followed by a New Year’s reception on Tuesday, Jan. 12.

(Please note: the event was originally schedule for January 13)

The Town Hall will begin at 7 p.m. in Room 201 of the Katzen Arts Center. Parking for the event will be available in the Katzen garage. The New Year’s reception will begin at 8 p.m. on the 2nd floor rotunda of the Katzen Arts Center. Both events are open to the entire community.

The CLC was established to foster positive relations and to maintain regular communication between the university and its neighbors. As specified in the D.C. Zoning Commission Order for AU’s new 10-year Campus Plan, the CLC comprises individuals from neighboring community organizations and representatives from the university.

Additional information on the CLC can be found at


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WAMU Asks, "What's with Washington?"

WAMU Logo | American University Radio

What’s With Washington? is a new audience-generated segment on WAMU about local Washington, DC, its culture, and the people who live here. Members of the WAMU audience can propose a question, mystery, or riddle about their community. The questions are aggregated on WAMU’s public website and put up for a public vote. The “winning” question is assigned to a WAMU reporter, who will go out into the field – often with assistance from the person who asked the question – to find an answer.

For a recent first round of voting, WAMU collected questions from all over the city. The first three questions put up for a vote were:

•  “Why are there so many sirens in Washington? Is DC actually louder than other cities?”

•  “What’s with the guys who drum on plastic buckets in Chinatown?”

•  “Why can’t some Washingtonians resist asking people what they do for a living?”  

The winning question – “Why can’t some Washingtonians resist asking people what they do for a living?” – was assigned to WAMU reporter Martin Austermuhle, who is expected to report on an answer on-air in mid-January.

The segment is part of WAMU’s experiment in collaborative journalism that brings together the station’s reporters with their listeners to turn up fresh new ideas and topics to air, tells interesting stories from different perspectives, and creates programming that people want to hear. The segment also will provide WAMU listeners with a unique view of the news team.

To submit questions that you would like to hear answered on-air, visit, email them to, or tweet them with #whatswith.

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Neighbors Invited to Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service Activities

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American University’s Center for Community Engagement and Service celebrates the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his commitment to service on Monday, Jan. 18, and invites neighbors and community members to join.

The MLK Day of Service offers participants the opportunity to engage directly with the local community to address issues related to education, HIV/AIDS, homelessness, hunger, seniors, women's health, and youth development. Last year, more than 250 volunteers from both AU and the local community served at 12 area non-profit organizations in honor of Dr. King’s commitment to service.

For a complete listing of AU events and activities related to Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, please visit AU is committed to advancing social justice and civic responsibility. The Center for Community Engagement & Service (CCES) leads the AU community into the world to serve. From projects around D.C. to trips abroad, CCES stands with a university dedicated to improving lives in our global community.

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AU Signs Climate Action Pledge & Attends COP21

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Last month, American University was one of more than 200 universities and colleges to sign the White House’s American Campuses Act on Climate Pledge, as a show of support for strong climate action by world leaders at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris, France.  

As a signatory of the pledge, AU redoubles its commitment and efforts to accelerate the transition to low-carbon energy while enhancing sustainable and resilient practices. Prior to signing the pledge, the university already had taken significant action towards the goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2020. Efforts already in practice include:

•  Reduction of energy consumption and transportation emissions, usage of renewable power, and the development of carbon offsets;

•  Promotion of zero waste practices by reducing total waste generation and diverting waste from landfill through composting and recycling;

•  Greening goods and services by following LEED standards, reduction in the sale of bottled water, support of fair trade and local and sustainable businesses and production; and

•  Education of campus and local community about sustainability.

With this latest pledge, AU also builds on past commitments such as the Talloires Declaration and Second Nature’s Carbon Commitment (formerly the ACUPCC).

“Recognizing the need for proactive movement toward a sustainable future, the higher education community has worked together for more than a decade to create goals, and find creative solutions for the challenges created by climate change. Seeing the international community come together to reach an agreement at the global level is inspiring and exciting, and could eliminate some of the barriers we face at individual institutions in creating change,” said Megan Litke, AU Director of Sustainability Programs.

The COP21 delivered a new international agreement on climate change that commits all participants to keeping global warming below 2°C. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), global warming of more than 2°C would have serious consequences, such as an increase in the number of extreme climate events.

Several AU faculty members and students from three different schools attended, conducted research at, and reported from COP21. Attendees include School of International Service professor Paul Wapner who was there to track negotiations about “loss and damage” – how developed countries will respond to the climate change hardships experienced by developing countries – as well as adaptation and climate justice; School of Public Affairs professor Todd Eisenstadt, who has a National Science Foundation grant on climate change in Latin America titled Lawsuits for the Pacha Mama [Mother Earth] in Ecuador: Explaining the Determinants of New Indigenous Movements to Mitigate Environmental Impacts blogged from COP21; and Washington College of Law students with the Sustainable Development Law & Policy Brief blogged from the adjacent Climate Generations area of the COP21 complex.

University President Neil Kerwin commented, “American University’s signing of the American Campuses Act on Climate Pledge and our presence and participation at COP21 yet again demonstrate our goal of being carbon neutral by 2020, reflecting our long standing commitment to effective environmental stewardship and public service. "

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AU's Farmers' Market Returns to Campus

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Beginning January 20, every Wednesday from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., the quad space around the Mary Graydon building will buzz 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 and Mennonite and “English” farm goods to American University’s campus, as well as to D.C.’s historic Eastern Market on Saturdays and Sundays.

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.

In addition to supporting locally-grown food, the convenience of having fresh food right on campus makes it a great benefit not only to the university community but to the surrounding neighborhood as well. For additional information, please visit here.

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Books That Shaped America Community Discussion Series Continues

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Join American University for Books That Shaped America, a continuing series that comprises conversations among the university and metro-D.C. communities about books that have helped shape American society.

Each discussion is based on a focal text, but the conversations stretch far 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. Upcoming events include:

Common Sense by Thomas Paine

Tuesday, Jan. 27, 7 – 8:30 p.m.

Training & Events Room (115), Bender Library

Discussion Leader: Richard Wilson, Professor, Director of the International Human Rights Law Clinic, Washington College of Law

Beloved by Toni Morrison

Tuesday, Feb. 24, 7 – 8:30 p.m.

Training & Events Room (115), Bender Library

Discussion Leader: Keith Leonard, Associate Professor, Department of Literature, College of Arts & Sciences

The Iceman Cometh by Eugene O'Neill

Tuesday, Mar. 17, 7 – 8:30 p.m.

Training & Events Room (115), Bender Library

Discussion Leader: Karl Kippola, Assistant Professor, Department of Performing Arts, College of Arts & Sciences

Family Limitation by Margaret Sanger

Tuesday, Mar. 31, 7 – 8:30 p.m.

Training & Events Room (115), Bender Library

Discussion Leader: Mary Clark, Interim Dean of Academic Affairs and Senior Vice Provost, Professor, Washington College of Law

Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman

Tuesday, Apr. 21, 7 – 8:30 p.m.

Training & Events Room (115), Bender Library

Discussion Leader: Marianne Noble, Associate Professor, Department of Literature, College of Arts & Sciences

For additional information on the Books That Shaped America community discussion series, please visit

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AU Men’s Basketball Hosts NW DC Elementary School Day

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Continuing a longstanding tradition, at their December 20 home game, the AU Men’s Basketball team hosted their 9th Annual NW DC Elementary School Game. Pre-K through 6th grade students from Janney, Eaton, Key, Mann and Murch Elementary Schools, as well from Annunciation Catholic, Bethesda Elementary, Our Lady of Victory, and Washington Episcopal School participated and received a free ticket to the game.  

More than 600 students and their family members cheered on AU’s men’s basketball team during the Eagles’ home game against the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.

If you would like for your child’s school to also get involved with this program in the future, please contact

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AU Hosts D.C. Tree Summit, Commits to "Canopy 3,000" Goal

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American University President Neil Kerwin welcomed D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (SPA/MPP ’00), Robert A. Vogel, Director of the National Park Service, National Capital Region, and other local leaders recently to campus as part of the District of Columbia’s first-ever Tree Summit.

In partnership with the District Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) and the District Department of Transportation (DDOT), more than 120 people gathered in the Abramson Family Founders room to share best practices for planting trees on private, federal, and District-owned properties and to improve coordination and collaboration.

At the Summit, Mayor Bowser announced the launch of Canopy 3,000, a public-private partnership aimed at expanding the number of trees planted on private property and public spaces throughout the District. American University has joined eleven other members of the initiative to develop a plan for planting an additional 3,000 trees in the District in 2016.

“American University always looks for opportunities to partner with the District of Columbia. We look forward to contributing to the goals laid out in Canopy 3000 , and being a resource to the city,” said Director of Community Relations Andrew Huff.

The American University Arboretum and Gardens encompasses the entire 84-acre campus. A hallmark of the arboretum is its diverse collection of more than 2,500 trees of 130-plus different species and varieties.

For more information about Canopy 3000, visit To visit the arboretum or to schedule a tour, contact AU’s landscape architect Michael Mastrota:

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Calendar of Events

Men's Basketball vs. Colgate

January 3, 2 p.m.

Bender Arena

Women's Basketball vs. Bucknell

January 6, 7 p.m.

Bender Arena

Men's Basketball vs. Lehigh

January 9, 2 p.m.

Bender Arena

Men's Basketball vs. Boston University

January 13, 7:30 p.m.

Bender Arena

The You That You Create: Personal Stories of Identity, Difference & Power

January 14, 7 p.m.

Abramson Family Recital Hall

Are you interested in how people experience the effects of race, class, disability, gender, and sexual identities, but are tired of "talking heads?" This discussion will open with AU faculty talking with each other about their journeys through life using the lens of identity, difference, and power. The conversation will then turn from life experiences to audience comments, stories, and questions. The informal conversation includes six AU faculty members: Kyle Dargan (literature), Caleen Jennings (performing arts), Marc Medwin (performing arts), Celine-Marie Pascale (sociology), Theresa Runstedtler (history), and Kathryn Walters-Conte (biology). A reception will follow in Katzen Arts Center. For more information, visit:

Women’s Basketball vs. U.S. Military Academy

January 16, 2 p.m.

Bender Arena

AU Wrestling Hosts Three Home Dates in January

January 16, 17, 31

Bender Arena

Led by NCAA Championship qualifiers and senior captains David Terao and John Boyle, head coach Teague Moore's Eagles gear up for another exciting run to the NCAA National Championships in 2016. To purchase tickets, visit:

Wrestling vs. U.S. Naval Academy

January 16, 7 p.m.

Bender Arena

Wrestling vs. Drexel University

January 17, 12 p.m.

Bender Arena

Farmers’ Market

January 20, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Women’s Basketball vs. Lafayette College

January 20, 7 p.m.

Bender Arena

Renée Stout: Tales of the Conjure Woman

January 23 – March 13

Katzen Museum

The exhibition features recent work by Washington, DC-based Renée Stout, who is best known for her exploration of vestigial retentions of African cultural traditions as manifested in contemporary America. For many years, the artist used the alter ego Fatima Mayfield, a fictitious herbalist/fortuneteller, as a vehicle to role-play and confront issues such as romantic relationships, social ills, or financial woes in a way that is open, creative, and humorous. The exhibition focuses on the artist's assumed role through an array of works in various media.

Circle of Friends

January 23 – March 13

Katzen Museum

In conjunction with Renée Stout: Tales of the Conjure Woman, this inaugural exhibition of the Alper Initiative for Washington Art focuses on the community of support that artists gather around themselves as they make their way towards artistic maturity and relevance.


Impact!: The Legacy of the Women's Caucus for Art

January 23 – March 13

Katzen Museum

The exhibit celebrates the impact of the WCA Lifetime Achievement Awards, presented annually to artists, art historians, and curators since they were first presented at the White House in 1979. The WCA Awards ceremony takes place during the annual conferences of the College Art Association and its affiliate WCA. The exhibition curated by awardee and former CAA president, Leslie King-Hammond, will focus on the impact of, and connections among, the award recipients themselves.

Maggie Michael: A Phrase Hung in Midair as if Frozen

January 23 – March 13

Katzen Museum

Over the past fifteen years, Maggie Michael has become one of Washington, DC's most significant artists, making paintings that are at once intuitive and conceptual. Her work is a direct response to the world around it, serving as a platform for exploring physicality, the workings of language, literature, and the vagaries of experience. This mid-career survey showcases her approach to reckoning with the place of painting in contemporary life. The exhibition is curated by Sarah Newman, Consulting Curator, Modern Art at the National Gallery of Art.

4th Annual Jr. Eagles Cheer and Dance Clinic

January 24

The American University Spirit Program presents this day-long even in conjunction with the men’s basketball game vs. Holy Cross in Bender Arena. School age children through the 7th grade are invited to participate in the clinic hosted by AU cheerleaders and dancers. The day begins at 8:30 a.m. and registration includes a free t-shirt, snacks and lunch, a ticket to the game, and the opportunity to perform in a special routine on the court at halftime with the AU cheerleaders and dancers during the game. Registration is $40. To reserve your spot email Space is limited.

Coach Mike Brennan Bobblehead Day Giveaway

January 24, 1 p.m.

Bender Arena

The first 1,000 fans to enter Bender Arena for the AU Men’s Basketball vs. Holy Cross will receive a free, limited edition Coach Mike Brennan bobblehead doll, courtesy of community partner GEICO. To purchase tickets, visit:

Farmers’ Market

January 27, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Women’s Basketball vs. Colgate University

January 30, 2 p.m.

Bender Arena

Wrestling vs. Duke

January 31, 11 a.m.

Bender Arena

Wrestling vs. Columbia

January 31, 1p.m.

Bender Arena

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