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AU in the Neighborhood Newsletter

AU in the Neighborhood Community Relations Newsletter September 2013

May 2013

AU Designated a Tree Campus USA University

American University again has been designated a Tree Campus USA University by the Arbor Day Foundation for its dedication to campus forestry management and environmental stewardship. The only university in the District of Columbia to receive this distinction for five years straight, AU also hosts the only university arboretum in Washington, D.C.

The 2013 designation was announced during the university’s 20th annual Campus Beautification Day, held April 16. Campus Beautification Day provided students, faculty, staff, and neighbors an opportunity to pitch in to help beautify the campus planting new trees, shrubs, and flowers. The event is a university tradition which incorporates both campus beautification and sustainability goals and strives to build and strengthen the AU community.

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 five 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.”

“Books That Shaped America” Discussions Kick-Off

The School of Professional and Extended Studies (SPExS) and the University Library are pleased to announce the launch of Books that Shaped America, a special discussion series for the community and American University students, faculty and staff. The series will feature selections from the Books That Shaped America list compiled by the Library of Congress. Informal discussions about the influence of these books on the nation’s extraordinary literary heritage will be led by AU faculty and staff members.

Upcoming events include discussions of How the Other Half Lives by Jacob Riis and Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass. Future events will be announced as they are scheduled.

Please click here for information on future discussions at AU, and here for a full list of the Library of Congress’ Books that Shaped America. Additional information also can be obtained by calling 202-885-3847.

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AU and Serve DC to Offer CERT Training to Neighbors

American University has partnered with Serve DC, the Mayor’s Office on Volunteerism, to offer free Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training to members of the AU community.

CERT training helps citizens to be better prepared to respond to emergencies in their communities. When emergencies happen, CERT members can provide critical support to first responders, immediate assistance to victims and can help organize spontaneous volunteers at a disaster site. Training topics include disaster preparedness, fire safety, medical operations and first aid, search and rescue, disaster psychology, and terrorism.

The two-day training is scheduled for Saturday, June 1 and Sunday, June 2, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the main campus. Free parking will available, and a light breakfast, refreshments, and lunch will be provided.

Community members interested in attending should email their name and contact information to Andrew Huff. Space is limited and will be reserved on a first-come, first-served basis.

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AU Student & Former ANC Commissioner Named Truman Scholar

Deon Jones, a junior in AU’s School of Public Affairs and former Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner in ANC 3D, has been named a 2013 Harry S. Truman Scholar. He is one of only 62 Truman Scholars selected from a nationwide pool of 629 candidates.

The award, established as a memorial to 33rd President Harry S. Truman, provides recipients with up to $30,000 for graduate study leading to careers in the government or nonprofit sector.

As the youngest elected official in the history of the District of Columbia, Jones represented Single Member District 3D 07 which included the South side of the AU campus.

“American University changed my life; completely changed everything…Part of who I am right now wouldn’t be possible without the people I met who supported me at AU,” he said.

Jones interned recently in Vice President Joe Biden’s Correspondence Office and spent the spring semester studying abroad at King's College in London.

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Pursuing Sustainability Through Service

Throughout April, the American University community celebrated Earth Month 2013, which was given the theme An Active Pursuit of Sustainability to reflect the campus-wide commitment to a better future. This pursuit doesn’t end at the boundaries of campus, and to demonstrate this, more than 30 volunteers traveled across the District for AU’s first Day of Sustainability Service. Partnering with the nonprofit Anacostia Riverkeeper and the National Park Service, the day’s mission was to clear nearly two years’ worth of invasive species and litter from the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, one of the last functioning wetlands in the Anacostia River watershed.

Bamboo, vines, honeysuckle, English ivy, and plastic bottles encased in muck were no match for Eagles from groups as diverse as environmental club Eco-Sense, Student Government, Alpha Phi Omega Community Service Fraternity, Green Eagle peer educators, the Sustainable Earth section of the University College, Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity, Office of Sustainability staff, and AU alumni. A group of students from Gallaudet University participated as well.

“I had a great time with old friends and made new ones while spending time in one of DC’s ecological gems,” remarked AU Student Government Director of Environmental Policy Stephen Bronskill.

“Completing service with friends is so very rewarding,” added Community Service Coalition Director Benjamin Derby, “We grow closer to our friends by doing something together that we know is providing good to the world. Nature is our collective home away from our individual houses or residence halls, and it is important we do our part to care for our collective home.”

Students also gain other benefits from volunteering their time for environmental causes. According to Trey Sherard, Anacostia Riverkeeper Outreach Coordinator, “Volunteering as a student can give you new perspectives, service hours, access to new organizations that can lead to internships and jobs down the line, and sometimes even free lunch.”

However, the benefits of community service were not only for the volunteers. Sherard continued, ”For the Anacostia Riverkeepers, picking up litter and removing invasive species are seemingly endless tasks, but in addition to their immediate benefits to local ecology, these actions can also be leveraged to achieve long-term solutions towards better policy-making and achieving behavior change to prevent future littering.”

Jake Assael, SOC/BA ’16, agreed, “We are at a turning point on this planet where we can either go down our current path or start caring about what’s around us and change the way our society views the environment. Events like this one are definitely in my future plans.”

The passion and commitment of the AU community are what make the institution a national sustainability leader, and are reflected in students’ desires to enhance their academic career with hands-on experiences. “I learned a great amount about the impacts of invasive species on the Anacostia watershed,” reported Student Government President Emily Yu, “I had no idea how severe the conditions were, but after a long day of plant removal, it was rewarding and impactful to see the difference we made.”

AU students, faculty, staff, and alumni continue to make a sustainable difference each and every day on campus, in the District, and around the globe.

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Neighbors Invited to Annual Project Move-Out Sale

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

This year’s sale will take place on Saturday, May 4 from 8 a.m. - 2 p.m. in the Tavern (located in the Mary Graydon Center on the university’s main campus). Free parking will be available in the Bender Arena garage, the Nebraska Avenue parking lot, and the Katzen Center garage. There is a $5 early bird entrance fee from 8 a.m. - 9 a.m. After 9 a.m. admission to the sale is free.

Neighbors are invited to peruse the lamps, fans, small furniture, electronics, office chairs, carpet, household items, books, vacuums, toiletries, and clothing for sale. All items are priced at $10 or less.

All proceeds of Project Move-Out will go to M.O.M.I.E.S., TLC (Mentors of Minorities in Education's Total Learning Cis-Tem), a DC-based nonprofit organization dedicated to “nurturing the genius” of our children by creating a transformative educational experience. All toiletry and food donations will go directly to the 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. All clothing donations at the end of the sale will go to The Clothing Recycling Company (CRC), which provides clothing drop boxes throughout Montgomery County, MD. The Clothing Recycling Company addresses the clothing needs of more than 6,000 underserved families in Montgomery County each year.

All donated furniture and household items at the end of the sale will go to A Wider Circle, which provides basic need 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, all free of charge. They also go into low-income schools and shelters to lead educational workshops on topics ranging from healthy self-esteem and stress management to resume writing and financial planning.

Click here for more information on the sale or how to donate and volunteer.

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Community of Scholars Recruiting for Summer Experience

Community of Scholars, a summer program at AU’s School of International Service (SIS), offers high school students an opportunity to enroll in a three-credit college class in U.S. foreign policy or international conflict resolution. The program, from July 8 – 26, allows students to enhance their preparation for college while engaging in cutting-edge class material. Small, seminar-style classes enable professors to challenge and engage students. The program also features guest speakers, visits to the State Department and the Pentagon, and workshops on topics including resume writing, studying abroad, and finding careers and internships in international relations.

Students admitted to this program will sample the undergraduate experience and take advantage of what the SIS has to offer.

For more information or to apply, please click here.

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AU Commencement Ceremonies Slated for May 11, 12, and 19

AU schools and colleges will hold their 2013 graduation ceremonies in Bender Arena on Saturday, May 11 and Sunday, May 12. The Washington College of Law commencement will take place on May 19, 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. The Nebraska Avenue lot and Katzen Arts Center and SIS parking garages are recommended for graduates and guests. Parking also will be available, but limited, in the Sports Center Garage and in lots adjacent to Bender Arena to accommodate guests with special needs.

Officers from the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) will be on hand to assist AU Public Safety with traffic control at 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. Over the years, AU commencements have grown and become more diverse. More than two thousand students from AU’s six schools and colleges participate in commencement ceremonies each year.

This year also marks the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's historic speech A Strategy for Peace, delivered at AU's commencement on June 10, 1963. The speech represented a turning point in U.S. foreign policy and called for a nuclear test ban treaty and direct dialogue with the Soviet Union.

For additional information on AU’s 2013 commencement, please visit

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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



Calendar of Events

Spring 2013 Exhibitions: Lee Haner, Painting Borges, and Saturation Point

Now through Wednesday, May 26

Katzen Museum First Floor Exhibition, Admission is free.

Lee Haner: Mischief Recent mixed-media works by a reclusive master. Balanced between representation and abstraction, painting and sculpture, the exhibition is inspired by the land and first peoples of the American Southwest. Painting Borges: Art Interpreting Literature Argentinean Jorge Luis Borges is one of the most prominent and profoundly philosophical literary figures of the twentieth century. Sixteen visual artists interpret twelve stories by Borges, organized according to three topics: identity and memory, freedom and destiny, and faith and divinity.. Saturation Point: Nudashank Presents Jordan Bernier, David Armacost, Jamie Felton, and Alex Da Corte Nudashank is an artist-run, commercial gallery in downtown Baltimore that features Baltimore artists alongside artists from other cities to broaden the dialog in the Baltimore art community. The exhibition brings together four artists who explore the idea of saturation.

Project Move-Out

Saturday, May 4, 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.

The Tavern

Project Move Out is an effort to reduce waste and reuse items. Lightly used, unwanted items donated by AU students, faculty, and staff are on sale for $10 or less. All proceeds from the sale will go to local charities. There is a $5.00 early bird entrance fee from 8 a.m. – 9 a.m. After 9 a.m., admission is free.

Yoga in the Galleries: Spring Session 3

Wednesday, May 8, and Wednesday, May 22, 10 a.m.

American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center

Drawn to the notion of being mindful, open, and alert, yoga is a meditative practice with a great relationship to art. Join instructor Shannon Ramirez for our spring series of Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga classes, combining breath and movement in galleries. Please bring your own mat. Admission is free.

Katzen Cinema Series: Guest of Cindy Sherman 

Wednesday, May 8, 7 p.m.

American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center

Guest of Cindy Sherman takes an eye-opening look at what happens when a skeptical outsider finds himself romantically involved with the ultimate insider. Filmed over 15 years and including interviews with a veritable who's who of the art and entertainment world (including Ingrid Sischy, John Waters, Robert Longo, Carol Kane, David Furnish, Danny DeVito, and Molly Ringwald), the film paints a vivid picture of the New York art scene that is also a witty, illuminating look at celebrity, male anxiety, and art. Admission is free.

Commencement Ceremonies

Saturday, May 11

School of Public Affairs – 9 a.m.

School of Communication – 1 p.m.

College of Arts and Sciences – 4:30 p.m.

Commencement Ceremonies

Sunday, May 12

Kogod School of Business – 9 a.m.

School of International Service – 1 p.m.

Library of Congress “Books That Shaped America: How the Other Half Lives”

Thursday, May 16, 7:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Bender Library

The School of Professional and Extended Studies (SPExS) and the University Library present a special discussion series featuring selections from the “Books That Shaped America” list compiled by the Library of Congress. Informal discussions about the influence of these books on the nation’s literary heritage will be led by AU faculty and staff members. Upcoming events include discussions of How the Other Half Lives by Jacob Riis and Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass. For more information, visit, or call 202-885-3847.

Quarterly Meeting of Community Liaison Committee

Thursday, May 30, 7 p.m.

Abramson Family Founders Room on the sixth floor of the School of International Service (SIS) building on main campus (4400 Massachusetts Avenue, NW).

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. Parking for the event will be available in the Nebraska Avenue lot or the SIS parking garage. Additional information on the CLC can be found at

For event details and a full list of all upcoming events, see the University Events Calendar.

For a listing of upcoming events for AU alumni, please visit the Alumni Events Calendar.

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