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AU in the Neighborhood Newsletter

AU in the Neighborhood March 2010

March 2010

"March is the month of Expectation..." Emily Dickinson


March is a month of expectations. The sun is warmer and we begin to move our lives outside more as the days stretch a little longer, the first buds of spring emerge and color replaces the vestiges of snow. On campus, spring manifests itself in a burst of energy and an exciting array of cultural events and thought-provoking programs for our friends, neighbors and their families to enjoy.  The white tents the farmers' market again dot the quad, the sustainable food programs is back in operation. And the 3,500 trees that contribute to AU's designation as a local Arboretum and make us the greenest campus in the area begin a new cycle of growth. 

Our students take spring break from March 7 - 14 and return to complete spring semester. Classes end April 28 and exams take place from April 28-May 3. Commencement follows the weekend of May 7-9.  Our students will disperse for summer jobs and travel. For our seniors, their expectation is the next chapter in their lives. Whether it is to continue their education or search for a job, the four years of undergraduate college that have served for many as the springboard to their future, comes to an end. They have lived with us for four years and we have watched them grow. We will miss them. While they close a door behind them as they leave, their legacy is the door they leave open for new students to fill their places, reminding us all like that education is much like the tree of life.

Next month, we'll celebrate spring on campus with our annual Campus Beautification Day when more than 400 students, faculty, staff and neighbors pitch in to help beautify the campus.  And we will also kick off our new partnership with the Smithsonian Institution to bring a series of programs for The Smithsonian Associates to campus starting April 15. 

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Reaching Out and Helping Others

MLK Day of Service 300 X 200

We would like to share a thank you letter we received this week from the Sutton Place Condominium Association thanking us for letting their residents park in the covered garage at our 3201 New Mexico Avenue building during the recent snow storms so their plows could clear more parking spaces at Sutton Place. "We will not soon forget the hospitality American University extended to our community," the letter said. Another nearby neighborhood March newsletter featured a photograph of AU students shoveling snow in the neighborhood where they live. We appreciate hearing from neighbors and we thought you might like to hear occasionally from us about what AU students do. This week, on March 2, 66 students and staff helped to celebrate Dr. Seuss Day at DC public schools by reading and playing literacy games with students at Brightwood Elementary School and Takoma Elementary School. And last month on Martin Luther King Day, 226 students and staff volunteered their services at five senior citizen locations across the city including the nearby Washington Home.  

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AU and the Embassy of the Czech Republic Present “Voices of Terezin”

Photo by Lisa Peschel

AU's College of Arts and Sciences, as part of the University's Human Rights Initiative, joins with the Embassy of the Czech Republic this month for a special series of programs to give voice to the musicians, writers and artists, who as Czech Jews were sent during World War II to Terezin (Theresienstadt), a transit camp and a weigh station for Auschwitz.  As a Fulbright Scholar at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague last year, CAS Professor Gail Humphries Mardirosian, directed a long-lost play "Smoke of Home" written by prisoners at Terezin. Through the Voices of Terezin program, "we hope to provide enlightenment about the enormous courage witnessed at Terezin and the hope provided by the arts. "When I read the poetry of the children, gaze upon their drawings, listen to the music of the composers, or read, yet again, the scripts of the dramas and cabarets, I am reminded of the power of art to sustain, uplift, provide thought and inspire. It is affirming that in the midst of a world of repression, the arts truly did provide a strategy for survival and a means of asserting individual identity."  

The events at AU include an exhibition of words, images and posters in the Bender Library through April 23, a film screening of "Theresienstadt: Gateway to Auschwitz" on Tuesday, March 16 at the Bender Library; the "Voices of Terezin – An Artistic Tribute in Two Parts" from March 19-21 at the Katzen Arts Center that features the AU Chamber Singers performing Songs of the Children, and the North American premiere of a one-act drama Smoke and Home performed by AU drama students. The Embassy of the Czech Republic will present an evening of classical music from Prague, Terezin and New York at the embassy on March 26 at 7:30 pm. For more information, including a schedule of events and ticket information, click on  

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Luck of the Irish: 17th Annual Equal Justice Foundation Charity Auction

17th Annual Equal Justice Foundation Charity Auction Logo

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day this year on Wednesday, March 17, by joining us at the 17th Annual Equal Justice Foundation (EJF)Auction at AU's Washington College of Law. It's great fun for a very good cause. And there's a lot to bid on from vacations to dinner and lunches with WCL faculty to events around town. The auction provides scholarships to WCL students who have obtained unpaid summer positions with public interest organizations in the United States and abroad. EFJ, established at AU's law school in 1989, is a non-profit, student run organization that enables law students to gain valuable experience in the public interest sector, while providing critical services to underrepresented members of our communities. Recent donations have helped fund students who have advocated for disability rights in New York City, provided legal services to women in Bosnia, promoted human rights in Nigeria, and campaigned against domestic violence in Washington, D.C. The silent auction begins at 4 pm and the live auction festivities begin at 7 pm at the Washington College of Law, Sixth Floor, at 4801 Massachusetts Avenue, NW.  Tickets for the auction are $10, and can be purchased at the door, in the lobby of the WCL the week of the event and online at  

Last year, EJF raised more than $46,000 at the auction. With matching gifts from the administration and other fundraising events, the total raised was $120,000, enabling 40 students to receive stipends. Now in its 18th year at WCL, EJF has awarded more than 250 fellowships through the increased support of the greater WCL community, and largely funded by the annual Public Interest Charity Auction.

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Friends of the Library Wine Tasting

Red wine

Join us for a fun evening on Thursday, March 4 from 7 pm – 9 pm for "An Educated Palate," featuring Virginia apple cider, a silent auction, and an expert guided wine and cheese tasting with AU alum James Bogaty, owner of Veramar Vineyard The 1,000 acre estate and winery is located 55 minutes from DC in Berryville, Virginia. Bogaty's family hails from the Italian Alps, where the family still operates a small winery. The event is sponsored by the Friends of the Library at AU to benefit the university's Bender Library. Cost is $50 per person ($25 is tax deductible.) The event will be held at AU's Mary Graydon Center in the Butler Board Room, Sixth Floor. For more information and to RSVP, contact Elizabeth LaRocca at 885-3847.

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Hooray! The Farmers’ Market is Back on Campus

Farmers Market in the Snow

"We are so glad you're back," is repeated often at the white tents on the quad at Wednesday's farm market. There are winter vegetables, apples and apple cider, fresh butter, cheese and more from Agora Farms. And there are wonderful hearth baked breads as well cookies, fabulous ginger scones and fresh coffee from Upper Crust Bakery. The farmers' market is located on the AU quad (in front of the Ward building) every Wednesday from 11 am to 4 pm. Be sure to stop by.   And for neighbors who may be interested in weekly bagful of locally grown fruits, vegetables and herbs direct from an area farm, you can join Fresh and Local CSA (community supported agriculture.) A share for 18 weeks beginning June 2010 is $425. A share for 9 weeks beginning September 2010 is $225. All prices include delivery to the AU campus. Pickup is on Tuesdays between 4 pm and 5 pm in the tunnel (in front of the UPS store). For more information, and to register, go to

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AU Museum Exhibitions Feature AU Faculty and Students

Photo: Don Kimes by Samantha Saleh

AU's College of Arts, home to many artists, performers and writers, will be featured at the Museum's late spring exhibitions. Art professor Don Kimes's paintings will be on display from March 20 – May 1, in an exhibit called Pentimenti: After the Flood. The works in this one-man show focus were inspired by the 2003 house flood that destroyed a career's worth of his sketchbooks, photos and works on paper. Running concurrently with this show will be CausalityLabs: New Projects that features mechanical sculptures by Austrian artist Galo Moncayo and AU sculpture professor Andy Holtin. And we all look forward to the annual show of student exhibitions from March 27 – April 3 that feature paintings, prints, sculptures, design work, and video installations by undergraduate and MFA students.

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UPS Store on Campus

The next time you need to have something shipped, faxed, printed or copied, there is a UPS store located on the AU campus in the tunnel just behind Mary Graydon Center. It's quick and convenient. The store is open on Monday – Friday from 8:30 am to 6 pm and on Saturday from 11 am to 5 pm. (Closed Sunday). You can call the store directly at (202) 885- 2030.

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Rent a Zipcar on Campus

Zipcar logo

If you need to rent a car, there is 24/7 access to self-service Zipcars on AU campus for rent by the hour or the day. Two Zipcars are located in the Nebraska parking lot at the intersection of Nebraska and New Mexico Avenue. The cars are in parking spaces closes to the intersection. There is also one Zipcar in the parking lot at AU's Tenley campus. To use a Zipcar, you must enroll in the Zipcar program and set up an account to begin reserving cars. Once you have a Zipcard you can reserve vehicles online or by phone 24/7. Hourly and daily rates include gas and insurance. You need to be 21 to join. For more information, or to set up an account, go to You can also call Zipcar at 1-800-494-7227.

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March Calendar of Events