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July 2017 - AU in the Neighborhood Newsletter

New AU President Invites Neighbors to Meet and Greet

KAM2017-07-01 Burwell

American University’s neighbors are invited to a Meet & Greet with the university’s 15th president, Sylvia Mathews Burwell on July 18 from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Constitution Hall, Rooms 2 and 3 on East Campus. The evening will include light refreshments and casual conversation as well as an opportunity to hear from and speak with President Burwell. All are welcome.

If you would like to attend, please RSVP to Andrew Huff, AU’s Director of Community Relations at or 202-885-2167.

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Neighborhood Movie Night Slated for August 18

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Mark your calendars now for August 18 and plan to bring a picnic and the whole family to campus for an outdoor screening of the animated classic The Secret Life of Pets.

The movie is the tale of Max (Louis C.K.), a spoiled terrier who enjoys a comfortable life in a New York building until his owner adopts Duke, a giant and unruly canine. During their walk outside, they encounter a group of ferocious alley cats and wind up in a truck that's bound for the pound. Luckily, a rebellious bunny named Snowball swoops in to save the doggy duo from captivity. In exchange, Snowball demands that Max and Duke join his gang of abandoned pets on a mission against the humans who've done them wrong.

The movie will be screened at the Woods-Brown Amphitheatre at 8 p.m. Free popcorn will be provided and all are welcome to attend.

For additional information, contact Andrew Huff, Director of Community Relations at 885-2167 or

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  Strategic Communication Students Help MPD Grow Its Ranks

KAM2017-07-01 MPD

American University graduating seniors in School of Communication Professor Jason Werden's Strategic Communication Portfolio capstone course recently visited the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) headquarters to present their proposals to top officials, including Police Chief Peter Newsham, as to how MPD could improve recruitment efforts. As a result, some of their recommendations have since been implemented.

The portfolio course took elements of what students have learned from strategic communication courses they have taken and pulled them together in a real-world context. Students were assigned a real client and charged with solving a communication challenge.

In prior years, faculty in the course have partnered with museums, non-profits, or corporations like Marriott. This year, Professor Werden went in a new direction by engaging a high-profile institution in the public sector, the MPD. Werden, also a vice president at global public relations agency FleishmanHillard, said that much of the work the students did for the course mirrored what he does on a day-to-day basis.

From January to April, students created fully integrated campaign proposals that initially were presented to MPD representatives at AU. Later, the students, who were divided in groups calling themselves Nexus Digital and MCK2, were asked to present in front of MPD officials at headquarters.

The class met with officers to speak about what they hoped to achieve in their efforts. Students conducted research on their own which included surveys, focus groups, and interviews with various stakeholders, audiences, and students. One of the biggest challenges was the time commitment required of both MPD and the students. Many of them worked with officers who were on duty at all hours of the day. Werden even participated in ride-alongs with officers throughout DC.

Rhianna Kern, from the Nexus Digital group, and a recent graduate of the public relations and strategic communications program, said, “MPD was a great client in that their needs were different from any of the nonprofit and corporate clients we had worked with before in our classes. This presented a challenge to us, as we had to look beyond just what we'd learned at AU," Kern said.

"Based on the data we collected, we decided that recruitment efforts should focus on being more veteran/military-friendly, as hiring vets would likely increase retention, while also helping veterans get acclimated with civilian life," Kern continued.

Katlyn Hirokawa, a recent SOC graduate, was in the MCK2 group, which took a different approach.

"We targeted college students within the DC, Maryland, Virginia area. Soon these students will make up a large amount of those entering the workforce," Hirokawa shared.

MCK2 surveyed students from several universities in the surrounding area, and identified that the importance given to culture and diversity within an organization were two key factors that millennials seek from an employer. They suggested in their presentation that recruitment efforts aimed at job-seeking millennials should stress these findings.

"The students we surveyed really expressed that they wanted to work towards a mission that they could identify with and a culture that they felt welcomed in," Hirokawa said.

Ultimately, the winner was Nexus Digital team’s campaign. Many of their veteran-focused suggestions already have been implemented into MPD recruitment efforts.

"Overall I am really proud. Our campaign aligned law enforcement values with military and this resonated with the client. Taking that extra step worked for them and MPD has even voiced that they’ve been seeing the positive results of their outreach efforts within their office, day to day," Kern said.

Werden feels good about the work the students produced, and the value of the class.

"The course allowed students to have opportunity to bridge the gap between classroom and client. Many of them are going directly into the workforce. It was very rewarding to see the work they put in and the impact they made."

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Community Audit Program Gears Up for Fall

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Although summer has just begun, it is not too early for our neighbors to think about enrolling in a class for the fall semester as part of AU’s Community Audit program.

Modeled after the Alumni Audit Program, the Community Audit Program offers adults ages 60 and older, who live in the 20016 Zip Code, the opportunity to attend university courses on a non-credit basis for a modest charge. Auditors may listen to the same lectures and work from the same texts as enrolled students.

For just $100, $75 of which serves as a donation to the Alumni Association Scholarship Fund, neighbors are provided with a rewarding way to enhance professional skills, take class with popular professors, or delve into a new hobby and pursue a commitment to lifelong learning.

“The community audit program is another great benefit for those who live close to the university,” said Andrew Huff, AU’s Director of Community Relations. “Our neighbors have some very interesting experiences and life stories, so I believe our students and professors will learn just as much from the neighbors as our neighbors will learn from the class.”

For more information on how to register to audit courses, please visit or contact Emily Walrath at 202-885-5962.

The Community Audit program is coordinated by the Office of Alumni Relations in conjunction with the Office of Community Relations.

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Paris Climate Accord: AU Says “We Are Still In”

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In a strong signal to the international community and the 1,947 parties to the Paris Agreement, AU recently joined the ranks of a national collective of 1,218 universities, governors, mayors, businesses, investors, and other leaders to declare that they will ensure that the U.S. remains a global leader in reducing carbon emissions. In lieu of federal support, they will continue the U.S.’ commitment to address climate change. In the aggregate, the signatories will continue to deliver emissions reductions to help meet America’s pledge under the Paris Agreement.

The collective statement, “We Are Still In,” describes the Trump administration’s announcement to withdraw from the Paris Agreement as “[one that] undermines a key pillar in the fight against climate change [and a move which is] out of step with what is happening in the United States.”

The signatories contend that the Paris Agreement is a blueprint for job creation, stability, and global prosperity, and that accelerating the United States’ clean energy transition is an opportunity – not a liability – that will spur innovation and ensure American competitiveness. By declaring “We Are Still In,” the signatories put the best interests of their constituents, customers, students, and communities first while assuring the rest of the world that American leadership on climate change extends well beyond the federal government.

“Colleges and universities have sustainability commitments. Cities have commitments. Businesses and organizations have commitments,” said Megan Litke, director of sustainability programs at AU. “But this is the first time all have come together to support a larger effort.”

Participating cities and states represent 120 million Americans and contribute $6.2 trillion to the U.S. economy, and include New York City, Los Angeles, and Houston, as well as smaller cities like Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Dubuque, Iowa. Business and investor signatories account for a total annual revenue of $1.4 trillion and include more than 20 Fortune 500 companies, including Apple, eBay, Gap Inc., Google, Intel, Microsoft, and Nike. Hundreds of smaller businesses also have signed the statement.

AU’s involvement with the collective dovetails with the university’s commitment to become climate neutral by 2020. Among the most ambitious plans to achieve climate neutrality in the country, AU issued its climate neutral plan in 2010, two years after AU’s president had signed the Presidents’ Climate Commitment. AU was a charter signatory of the agreement.

In the past seven years, AU has made significant progress towards meeting the 2020 goal – perhaps the most notable effort being the Capital Partners Solar Project, in which AU teamed up with George Washington University and the George Washington University Hospital to purchase half of its power from solar.

To view the full statement, quotes and list of signatories, visit

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Frederic Kellogg: Works in Oil and Watercolor

July 1 - 31, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Katzen Museum First Floor Exhibition

The work of Frederic Kellogg belongs within - and extends beyond - what could be called a river of traditional American landscape, figural and still-life painting. Kellogg works by a combination of sketches made in his constant-companion notebook of watercolors done en plein-air, or painting in oil on canvas. The exhibition features landscapes from Maine and Washington, DC, where Kellogg splits his time.

Performing the Border

July 1 - 31, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Katzen Museum First Floor Exhibition

Presented by the Alper Initiative for Washington Art, this group exhibition features Washington, DC artists Clay Dunklin, Amy Lin, Susana Raab, Jenny Wu, and Street Light Circus. The exhibition explores borders and boundaries - both the ways in which we perform within them, and the way the border often is itself a performance.

States of Being: Photographs of Cuba and North Korea by Carl De Keyzer

July 1 - 31, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Katzen Museum Third Floor Exhibition

This exhibition features 60 photographs of scenes from two Communist nations, North Korea and Cuba, by Belgian photographer Carl De Keyzer. States of Being is the first time these photographs will be shown together and is the result of De Keyzer's extensive stay in each country, including more than 40 nights in North Korea spent visiting and documenting each province in the country. The photographs in this exhibition powerfully capture both the struggle and leisure of everyday Cubans and North Koreans in uncommon scenes.

Val Lewton: From Hollywood to Breezewood

July 1 - 31, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Katzen Museum Second Floor Exhibition

This retrospective brings to bear Lewton's lifetime in front of the canvas, his knowledge of color, his unerring command of the paint-loaded brush, and his certitude about how best to structure a painting. His paintings use the artifacts of traffic including run-of-the-mill objects - cars, trucks, roadways, semi-demolished buildings, and paint cans - to create improbably beautiful and personal compositions.

personal compositions.

Friday Gallery Tours

July 7, 14, 21, 28 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Katzen AU Museum

Explore the galleries this summer with a free, docent-led tours of current exhibitions every Friday through August 11. No RSVP required. Tours cover a different topic every week. Tours last approximately 45 minutes to an hour.

Gallery Talk on Val Lewton: From Hollywood to Breezewood

July 13, 5:30 p.m.

Katzen AU Museum

Claudia Minicozzi, Benjamin Forgey, and Jack Rasmussen discuss the life and work of Washington artist and long-time exhibit designer for the Smithsonian, Val Lewton. This retrospective exhibition will be on view through August 13.

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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