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AU in the Neighborhood Newsletter

May 2015 Hero

May 2015

AU Commencement Ceremonies Slated for May 9, 10, and 17

Commencement 2015

AU schools and colleges will hold their 2015 graduation ceremonies in Bender Arena on Saturday, May 9 and Sunday, May 10. The Washington College of Law commencement will take place on Sunday, May 17, also in Bender Arena. The university anticipates increased activity around campus, as families and friends visit for the occasion.

All parking areas on campus will be open for commencement with extra shuttle buses added from the Tenleytown Metro and Washington College of Law. All participants have been encouraged to use public transportation and reminded of AU’s Good Neighbor parking policy.

Officers from the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) will be on hand to assist AU Public Safety with traffic control at several key locations, including the Katzen Arts Center garage, the intersection of Nebraska and New Mexico Avenues, NW, and Ward Circle.

American University awarded its first degrees (two doctorates and one master’s degree) in 1916 at a commencement ceremony held in the university’s amphitheater. AU commencements have grown over the years, as the university has become larger and more diverse. More than two thousand students from AU’s six schools and colleges participate in commencement ceremonies each year.

For additional information on AU’s 2015 commencement, please visit: http://www.american.edu/commencement/.

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How to Contact Us

Office of Community Relations
(202) 885-2167
communityrelations@american.edu

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

Dean of Students
(202) 885-3300
www.american.edu/ocl/dos

Parking & Traffic Office
(202) 885-3111

DDOE Director Addresses AU Community

DDOE Director

Director of the District Department of the Environment (DDOE) and former Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells visited the campus of American University recently to tour the campus’ arboretum and learn about the university's sustainability efforts, both of which have received national recognition.

Wells also addressed students, faculty, staff, and neighbors and provided an in-depth perspective on the District’s unique ecology and the critical role it plays in his vision for a truly sustainable city. He also credited American University for being “an extraordinary example of a sustainably developed urban environment."

Unique from other campus arboretums, AU’s arboretum encompasses the entire 84-acre campus. The arboretum displays more than 150 species of trees and thousands of species of shrubs, perennials, ornamental grasses all arranged creatively and maintained by the university’s Facilities Operations staff. It also is accredited as a Level 2 arboretum by the Morton Register, a compendium of global tree-focused public gardens, and is one of only a handful of university arboretums to be given this distinction.

The arboretum and gardens reflect the university’s environmentally-focused values and is an integral part of the unique AU experience.

For more information or to schedule a group tour, contact Landscape Architect Michael Mastrota at (202) 885-1145 or Grounds Operations Coordinator Stephanie DeStefano at (202) 885-2544.

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AU Designated a Tree Campus USA University

Tree Campus USA

American University has again been designated a Tree Campus USA University by the Arbor Day Foundation for its dedication to campus forestry management and environmental stewardship. This marks the seventh year in a row AU has received this designation, making it the only university in the District of Columbia to receive this distinction as many times. AU also hosts the only university arboretum in Washington, D.C.

The 2015 designation was announced by Earl Eutsler from the District’s Urban Forestry Administration during the AU’s 22nd annual Campus Beautification Day on April 15. Campus Beautification Day provides students, faculty, and staff an opportunity to pitch in to help beautify the campus by planting new trees, shrubs, and flowers. The event is a university tradition that incorporates campus beautification and sustainability goals and strives to build and strengthen the AU community by bringing together staff, faculty, students, and neighbors.

To earn the Tree Campus USA distinction, the university met five core standards of tree care and community engagement. They include the creation of a campus tree advisory committee, evidence of a campus tree-care plan, verification of dedicated annual expenditures on the campus tree-care plan, involvement in an Arbor Day observance, and the institution of a service-learning project to engage the student body.

AU Landscape Architect Michael Mastrota said, “We’re proud to be recognized as a Tree Campus USA University by the Arbor Day Foundation. To be named seven years in a row makes it special. Trees are a very important part of our campus and our community. The Tree Campus USA program helps us celebrate our love of trees, but more importantly, it helps us educate the community about the many values that trees provide to our environment.”


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Neighbors Invited to Annual Project Move-Out Sale

Project Move Out

As part of its Zero Waste Policy, American University hosts its annual Project Move Out to collect waste produced from student move-outs at the end of the academic year. A campus-wide collection of lightly used, unwanted items (clothes, accessories, shoes, and small household goods) will be collected and sold, with proceeds benefitting local charities. Unopened toiletries and nonperishable foods also will be donated to area non-profits.

Neighbors are invited to donate unwanted items as well on Friday, May 8 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the parking lot area behind Letts Hall, where a Project Move-Out volunteer will accept items. Neighbors who wish to donate outside of these times can contact auprojectmoveout@gmail.com to schedule a time for drop-off.

This year’s sale will take place on Saturday, August 22 and August 29 from 2 to 6 p.m. and Sunday, August 23 and August 30 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the university Quad. Neighbors are invited to attend. At the end of the sale, remaining items will be donated to:

Capital Area Food Bank

The largest nonprofit hunger and nutrition education resource in the Washington Metropolitan area, they work to educate, empower, and enlighten the community about the issues of hunger and nutrition. Their community-building initiatives educate the community about the importance of healthy diets and advocate for public policies that serve the interests of various constituencies.

A Wider Circle

This organization provides basic-needs items to families transitioning out of shelters or simply living without life’s necessities. They furnish the homes of more than 1,000 children and adults every single month, free of charge. They also lead educational workshops at low-income schools and shelters on topics ranging from healthy self-esteem and stress management to resume writing and financial planning.

The Clothing Recycling Company (CRC)

The CRC provides clothing drop boxes throughout Montgomery County, MD, and provides the Interfaith Clothing Center with needed inventory free of charge. They serve the clothing needs for more 6,000 families in Montgomery County each year.

Project Move-Out is a student-led initiative partnered with AU’s Facilities Management, Zero Waste, and Housing & Dining programs.

Questions can be sent to auprojectmoveout@gmail.com and additional information found at www.american.edu/projectmoveout.

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Spring Exhibits at the AU Museum: Collage, International Art, Installations and More

Katzen Museum Evening

This spring, American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center offers visitors an eclectic mix, from surrealist collage to drawings that depict sound. The Museum is open to all of AU’s neighbors.

Exhibits through May 24:

Collage comes to AU Museum with YES! Glue: A Half-Century of Collage by Bruce and Jean Conner. The Conners’ works show separate but related explorations within the tradition of surrealist collage. Jean began to create wry combinations of images from popular magazines in the mid-1950s. Bruce embraced and then abandoned complex expressionist assemblages in the early 1960s in favor of witty, often grotesque, and sometimes spiritual compositions built from 19th-century engravings. Collage found fertile ground in the San Francisco Beat scene of the late 1950s. It was into this milieu that Bruce and Jean Conner moved from Lincoln, Nebraska, after their marriage in 1957, and it is here their art flourished.

AU Museum Curator and Director Jack Rasmussen said: "Bruce Conner is one of the most important artists of the 20th century. We are so fortunate to have this show at American University Museum before his retrospective next year at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the New York Museum of Modern Art. Our title YES! Glue: A Half-Century of Collage refers to the brand of glue favored by the Conners for their collages. Obsessive about every detail of his art, Bruce Conner advanced the medium of collage, long favored by the Avant-Garde from Synthetic Cubism, Dadaism, and Surrealism right up through the San Francisco Beat Generation to today. The mostly unknown collage work by Jean Conner appears in this exhibition as a revelation."

Transcription of Blue: Guy Goldstein is a mixed-media exhibit in which Goldstein, both a visual artist and musician, investigated "colors of noise" by converting graphite drawings into sounds and then converting them back into printed images. To convert from drawing to sound and vice versa, Goldstein utilizes software based on an old cumbersome machine from 1940s Russia, which made it possible to obtain a visible image of a sound wave, and the reverse (the sound of a visual image). The exhibition is sponsored by the Outset Contemporary Art Fund and the Embassy of Israel.

Remembrances of Voices Past features paintings by Indian artist V. Ramesh, for whom an act of devotion, or Bhakti, seems not only an apt social response to existential tragedies, but also a quest for freedom. Painting primarily with oils on large-scale canvas, his oeuvre reveals a preoccupation with meditative terrain, incorporating voices from medieval poetry and images culled from mythology to explore the relationship between states of transcendence and the realities of culture and personal experience. The exhibition is sponsored by the Institute by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations and Threshold Gallery.

Drawings: Walter Kravitz features a large installation and smaller works by Chicago-bred artist Walter Kravitz. His work has evolved into an exploration of the way events happen in the natural world. His lines become edges, continuously organizing and shaping the air into solids, then dissolving them again into unpredictability.

Exhibits through May 25:

Lost and Found: Young Art from Lithuania is the product of an educational and artistic exchange between American University and the Vilnius Academy of Arts. Curatorial practice students from both universities are developing their skills in the management of art as well as promotion of the artistic ambitions of their fellow students through this international exchange of exhibitions. The young Lithuanian artists exhibiting their pieces work in a wide range of media ranging from traditional craftsmanship to unique technological solutions, and demonstrate the varied influence of the Vilnius Academy of Arts on the creativity of its students. In return, AU Museum Director Jack Rasmussen’s curatorial practice students will curate a show of AU students and recent alumni at the Vilnius Academy of Arts in October 2015.

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American University Wins Recognition for Leadership in Energy Management  

American University’s stature as a leader in sustainability continues to grow. The university earned the number-two spot in the Sierra Club’s latest Coolest Schools rankings, and the seventh spot in The Princeton Review’sTop 50 Green Colleges list. A big part of these rankings are driven by the University’s leadership in energy management.

AU’s Energy & Engineering (E&E) staff has been hard at work on building-in intensive energy data collection and analysis capabilities into its energy program. The effort includes the installation of utility submeter equipment that allows E&E’s energy analysts to get a closer look at how the campus uses energy and establish benchmarks at the building level for each utility.

AU’s Chief Engineer, Juan Allen, explains, “We’re now in our third year and final phase of installing submeters which are a vital part of our energy management program. Submeters allow us to make better decisions about energy conservation priorities and enable us to predict, measure, and verify outcomes with much greater accuracy.”

For AU buildings with complicated systems and high energy use intensity, the E&E team has commissioned ASHRAE Level II Energy Audits to provide a comprehensive understanding of what’s going on “under the hood” to uncover not-so-obvious energy conservation opportunities. The technologies, reduction strategies, and operational efficiencies used in improving the most complicated buildings can be modified to implement in other buildings across campus. Some ECMs even lead to discoveries about opportunities that can be applied to campus systems as a whole.

E&E’s energy conservation measures are recognized frequently by various energy-industry arbiters, including the DC Sustainable Energy Utility. In 2014, the DCSEU awarded more than $68,000 in financial incentives to AU for mechanical and lighting efficiency projects. For 2015, AU has at least six projects in development that are eligible for financial incentives from the DCSEU.

Sightlines Inc., an independent facilities solutions consultant that serves more than 450 higher education clients, recently completed its evaluation of AU. Sightlines’ account manager Jaclyn Murphy noted that AU’s conservation efforts are “certainly impressive compared to the Sightlines database,” of universities, and that AU is outperforming its peers in reducing energy consumption. The most significant finding in the Sightlines report is that “Despite campus growth [of buildings and total gross square footage], normalized utility consumption has decreased…”

Last summer Director of Energy & Engineering, David Osborne, accepted the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships “Business Leader for Energy Efficiency” award for its efforts. In addition to energy reductions and becoming more efficient, AU is winning recognition for efforts to switch to clean, renewable energy. Earlier this month, the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce selected AU as a finalist for Tech Innovator of the Year in its 2015 Greater Washington Innovation Awards.

Also this month, in an Earth Month speech at AU on April 20, 2015, Director of the DC Department of the Environment, Tommy Wells, noted that he is attempting to emulate AU’s green power capital purchase with private companies in the District.

AU Assistant Vice President for Facilities, Vin Harkins, said, “Our Facilities Management slogan is to be ‘The Leader in University Facilities’ and we work really hard to live up to it. Our team has innovative energy conservation project ideas for years to come.”

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New Wall Along Ward Circle Serves As Gateway To Campus

Ward Circle Wall

American University recently completed renewal of the Ward Circle wall. The new and improved wall features an extensive collection of trees, shrubs, perennials, and groundcovers that is both a gateway to campus and a showcase of the University Arboretum and Gardens.

The existing wall, originally built in the 1950s, had fallen into disrepair and was in dire need of replacement. The capital renewal project to replace the wall was headed by the university’s Facilities Management department. The new wall was designed by AU’s Landscape Artist H. Paul Davis.

Given its high visibility along the perimeter of campus, Davis helped to design a new wall that would serve as a welcoming entrance while also blending seamlessly with the university landscape. The existing brick wall was demolished and replaced with a wall made of locally available stone that also is used elsewhere on university grounds, giving the entrance a sense of cohesion with the campus interior.

The site was graded so that the height of the overall wall would be lower than its predecessor and allow better vistas into campus. The reduction in wall height also is more pedestrian friendly.

The existing concrete walkway and stairs along the Ward Circle Building were removed and replaced with a pervious pavement system that helps capture site water before it runs into the city storm system. In place of steps, the new walkway is graded to meet ADA accessibility standards.

The concrete stairs along Massachusetts Avenue were removed and replaced with handrails, and curved stone-cheek walls with precast caps. The mass of the steps also was reduced visually by lowering the height of the cheek walls.

The existing American University signage was re-purposed with new masonry featuring stone pillars to frame the lettering and integrate with the new stone wall.

Lastly, extensive planting was completed in the area to reflect the landscapes and gardens found elsewhere on campus. Specifically, the planting links with the campus landscape along Massachusetts Avenue and connects visually with the Kogod garden. Much care was taken to preserve and protect the existing mature blue cedars. “Flexi-pave” paving system also replaced sections of the concrete walk to protect tree roots of mature elms along Ward Circle.

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Calendar of Events

Drawings: Walter Kravitz

May 1 (throughout May), 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Katzen Museum First Floor Exhibition

This exhibit features a large installation and smaller works by Chicago-bred artist Walter Kravitz. His work has evolved into an exploration of the way events happen in the natural world. His lines become edges, continuously organizing and shaping the air into solids, then dissolving them again into unpredictability.

Remembrances of Voices Past

May 1(throughout May), 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Katzen Museum Second Floor Exhibition

This exhibit features paintings by Indian artist V. Ramesh, for whom an act of devotion, or Bhakti, seems not only an apt social response to existential tragedies, but also a quest for freedom. Painting primarily with oils on large-scale canvas, his oeuvre reveals a preoccupation with meditative terrain, incorporating voices from medieval poetry and images culled from mythology to explore the relationship between states of transcendence and the realities of culture and personal experience. The exhibition is sponsored by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations and Threshold Gallery.

Transcription of Blue: Guy Goldstein

May 1 (throughout May), 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Katzen Museum First Floor Exhibition

This exhibit is a mixed-media exhibit in which Goldstein, both a visual artist and musician, investigates "colors of noise" by converting graphite drawings into sounds and then converts them back into printed images. To convert from drawing to sound and vice versa, Goldstein utilizes software based on an old cumbersome machine from 1940s Russia, which made it possible to obtain a visible image of a sound wave, and the reverse (the sound of a visual image). The exhibition is sponsored by the Outset Contemporary Art Fund and the Embassy of Israel.

YES! Glue: A Half-Century of Collage by Bruce and Jean Conner

May 1 (throughout May), 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Katzen Museum First Floor Exhibition

The Conners’ works show separate but related explorations within the tradition of surrealist collage. Jean began to create wry combinations of images from popular magazines in the mid-1950s. Bruce embraced and then abandoned complex expressionist assemblages in the early 1960s in favor of witty, often grotesque, and sometimes spiritual compositions built from 19th-century engravings. Collage found fertile ground in the San Francisco Beat scene of the late 1950s. It was into this milieu that Bruce and Jean Conner moved from Lincoln, Nebraska, after their marriage in 1957, and it is here their art flourished.

Friday Gallery Tour in the AU Museum

May, 1, 15, 22 12:30 – 1:30 p.m.

Katzen AU Museum

Explore the galleries each Friday afternoon with our knowledgeable docents. The guided tours highlight each of our current exhibitions and cover a range of topics. Come to learn or just to have fun. Tours of the spring exhibitions run through May 22. Tours are free and open to the public.

Commencement Ceremonies

May 9, 10, 17

Bender Arena

The university anticipates increased activity around campus, as families and friends visit for the occasion. All parking areas on campus will be open for commencement with extra shuttle buses added from the Tenleytown Metro and Washington College of Law. Officers from the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) will be on hand to assist AU Public Safety with traffic control at several key locations, including the Katzen Arts Center garage, the intersection of Nebraska and New Mexico Avenues, NW, and Ward Circle

Yoga in the Galleries

May 13, 20 10 a.m.

Katzen Museum

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

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